Glue on top is a bad idea. Ridged nails (standard hardware item) resist
Beware nailing floors with a community hammer. In order to minimize
damage, floor nails should be finished with a nail set (punch), using the
smallest effective hammer.
I don't know about it's done, these days, but I watched for a whole day
as a couple floor layers layed an entire hardwood floor when I was jes
a wee tyke, back in the 50's. You never even saw the nails when done
As I recall, the hardwood boards were alternately lipped and the nail
driven in at an angle so the next board covered the nails and
presumably helped keep the nails in place.
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Back then, they all used a hatchet with a hammer head on the back
side. Said they were better balanced than regular hammers. I
remember jes a tiny tap to start the nail, then a single well placed
stroke to drive the nail home.
Looking online, I see all kindsa special tools to get the proper nail
angle, from alignment jigs to air staplers. Even high quality
adhesives that eliminate nails, altogether. Seems to me if you have
nails coming up outta the flooring, somebody did something seriously
Oh so bad if you don't! (-:
I am not sure, but I think we're talking about just re-driving the nails
that have come back up back down again. I get that sense because of the
radiant flooring, which I believe is causing the wood to expand and contract
and is exacerbating the problem. Installation of the radiant heat is
probably the root cause of the flooring trouble because of the
heating/cooling and possible poor installation. It certainly would make me
very hesitant to drive nails or put screws into any place that didn't
already have them. There's nothing quite as annoying as trying to fix one
problem and ending up creating a much bigger one. BT,DT, too. )-:
If the OP is constrained to reusing the same nail holes there are different
types of nails that have much better resistance to loosening than common
nails. If you want extra holding power, go with a ring-shank or screw-shank
nail. Tests show that modified-shank nails hold much better than
Still, there are still some unanswered questions here, such as WHY the nail
heads are even visible in the first place. As Notbob and others have noted,
the usual method of laying a tongue and groove floor is to conceal the nails
with each course. We also don't know what kind of subfloor they are nailed
into. Or even if they ARE nailed into a subflooring. In my years of
rehabbing fixer-uppers, I've seen stranger. Not much stranger, but
It's amazing the things you can discover if you tell a Realtor to give you
the listings for the ten cheapest properties in an area. That's how I
bought my first fixer upper - it was the best of 10 very, very distressed
houses. VERY distressed.
I believe it was Clare that pointed out that a bad underlayment is going to
continue to pop nails until that problem is fixed. Worse still, is that it
may be practically impossible to fix without pulling up the floor. I agree
with Don, glue is a bad idea that will become obvious when it's time to
refinish the floor. Been there, done that, discovered that glue can "flower
out" along the wood fibers and seriously change the way it takes stain and
Screws were suggested, and they might be a good idea if the substrate will
hold them. If the floors are moving around from the weight of walking
because of a bad underlayment, even screws might even loosen. If that's the
case, I might even consider long countersunk machine screws with washers and
nuts on the other side of the floor at several strategic locations to keep
the substrate and the oak floor from "tectonic" action. (-:
How wide is the flooring and is it just old 3/4"T tongue and groove
flooring? If so, it should never have been face-nailed.
What's the subflooring and what's it nailed into? I suspect if it's a
new house they probably didn't put in a sufficient subfloor and it's
just nailed into a layer of MDF or the like.
I suspect in this case the only solution is going to be to take the
floors up and re-lay them properly.
Alternatively, depending on the subflooring and what you can fasten into
owing to the radiant heating issue, you _might_ be able to pull nails
and go to a screw in the same location. Would then likely have to
counterbore each for a plug to hide the heads or just give up and "go w/
Does repurposed mean that the boards were not used for flooring before?
That's what it does mean, but what do you mean by the word.
If they were used as flooring before, IMO they are not repurposed. It
is the same purpose, just somewhere else. Tthey are used, or reclaimed,
or salvaged, or second- hand.
How wide is each board? How long?
Does every board have a nail in it? Two? One at each end? Or what?
How long have they been nailed down and what percent of the nails are
coming up? In the center of the room, near the edge?
Does each board have a tongue that matches the groove in the next board?
Was a nail set used to put the nail heads below the surface? Probably.
What kind of heads did the nails have? Headless? Something else? Be
sure to use a nail set all the time, so you get the head below the
surface without damaging the floor
BTW, here's a pretty good primer on using hardwood over radiant heating
systems...we have no info on just what your system is for anything other
than just generalities that using solid wood strip flooring is the ideal
solution as previously noted--
I’m coming in long after this first message but I thought it was w
orth noting that all the replies I’ve seen are from people who have
dealt with what I consider to be younger houses, say 50 years old or less,
I have an almost 100-year-old house and the oak floors are definitely not
tongue and groove and definitely face nailed (oh so many nails) and that wa
s the standard I’ve seen in all houses in my neighborhood all built
by different builders as far as I know. The material cost of T&G flooring
was considerable back then. I’m not sure about higher end homes of
the time, but the middling ones had subfloor of wide planks across the flo
or joists then at 90 degrees there are narrow oak plankswith two nails at t
he ends and every 6 inches another pair “favoring” the side
s the planks are 1 1/2 inches wide and the intermediate nails are 1/4 inch
from the edges. All set and filled.
That being said, today I encountered my first rising nail, not bad consider
ing how long it toook to fail.
My prescription: take careful note of the nail length and diameter get some
kind of textured nail of that length, drive it next to the old hole, set t
he head, use filler designed for floors to fill both the old hole and the
new one. Rinse and repeat!
On 12/5/2018 9:51 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
That's curious...this is a 100+ yr old farm house that is hardly
anything would call "higher end" albeit a substantially and well-built home.
It is also 1-1/2" oak flooring but is T&G and nailed as one would
expect, albeit was clearly hand-nailed with finish nails.
The subflooring is 1X8 but on 45, not perpendicular to the joists.
I've never seen narrow strip flooring that was square-sawn, even going
back to the Federal-style houses built in early- to mid-19th century
worked over a number of back in Virginia to current. I suppose it was
common practice somewhere, but nothing I've ever seen. Where is this
you describe located?
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