I'm starting to lay down 3/8 inch engineered hardwood (3 inch wide
plank) onto a 1 inch underlayment. Instructions say to face nail the
first row of wood. Asking around, I'm told I should use 1 1/2 inch
nails to face nail the first few rows of wood.
As I shop around for a finish nailer or a brad nailer, I see gauges of
16 and 18. What gauge should I use for the face nailing? Will an 1
1/2 inch 18 gauge nail be strong enough for my purpose?
Any help would be much appreciated.
The 18 gauge brads have very little holding power. They are meant for
tacking light trim or holding two pieces while the glue dries.
Get a 15 ga. or 16 ga. finish nailer. You can also use it to put the
baseboards back when you are done with the floor. You did take them off
I used real nails which I predrilled the holes first. I think the real
nails are thicker which I felt meant stronger. Pounding the next few
strips against flimsy nails did not sound like a formula for success.
email@example.com (ksanny) wrote:
I'll echo Jim's statement. A few years ago, I put down 3/4" solid oak strip
flooring and, like you, had to face nail the first few courses. The nails I
used at first were undersized and when the subsequent courses went down via
the impact angle nailer (powered by my arm and a mallet), the first courses
moved. I solved it in part by putting in a temporary strip of wood to take
up the space between the floor and the wall that was left for expansion.
I'm going to assume that this is T&G flooring, and that you are laying
baseboard (or at least base shoe) over the top of that first row? If that's
the case, the 18g nail is plenty adequate. It's mainly done to prevent
lateral movement and hold the first row on your straight line, so the
following rows stay even. The up/down movement where one might think 18g is
too small is mitigated by placing the baseboard (or shoe) on top.If it's not
T&G I guess you'd be face nailing everything, and I'd use at least 14g.
No way an 18 gauge nail will hold for this application. I have a 18 gauge
nailer, and they are just about useless! No holding power at all. It is fine
for pining on some small trim boards or holding small pieces of wood
togather while glue drys, but that is about all. I sometimes use it in glue
ups to keep pieces lined up.
I would question if a 15 or 16 gauge nailer would do in his application. I
would predrill holes and use some real 1-1/2 finish nails.
I'm not going to argue, I'm just speaking from personal experience. He said
he's laying 3/8" flooring, not 3/4". For the former, I find an 18g nail just
fine for the 1st course, with a much less visible hole to fill. In his
application he's likely using staples to blind nail the flooring not 2"
cleat nails, as you would with 3/4" plank.
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