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Installing an Engineered Hardwood Floor with Nails

Project Overview

Installing an Engineered Hardwood Floor with Nails

Because of its construction, engineered hardwood brings with it a number of advantages including quick installation. This project focuses on installing an engineered floor with nails. Nail, Float and Glue installation are three main methods used for installing this type of floor.

Nail Installation: A face-nailer is required to fasten planks in the first and last rows. Wood sub-flooring is required.

9 Steps

  1. Prepare the Floor for Installation
  2. Snap a Chalkline
  3. Prepare to Install the First Row
  4. Lay the Starter Row
  5. Complete the First Row
  1. Install the First Plank on the Second Row
  2. Install the Remaining Floor
  3. Complete the Last Row
  4. Install Baseboard
Show all steps »
Prepare the Floor for Installation

Step 1

Prepare the Floor for Installation

Staple down felt paper or rosin paper to moderate the effect of humidity beneath the floor.

Snap a Chalkline

Step 2

Snap a Chalkline

For a strong floor, it is recommended to install the planks perpendicular to the joists. If possible, start along one of the outside walls and lay out the first row, measuring the width of the plank and adding the recommended room for gap expansion along the wall. Snap a chalkline this distance from the wall.

Prepare to Install the First Row
Prepare to Install the First Row

Step 3

Prepare to Install the First Row

Lay a trial run of the first row, facing the groove along the starting wall. Put 1/2" (1.3cm) spacers between the wall and flooring. If, at any point along the wall, the space is less than 1/2" (1.3cm) or is greater than the thickness of the baseboard you'll apply, you'll have to scribe the floor.

To scribe: i. Hold the edge piece parallel to the layout line, setting where it touches the wall at least at one point. ii. Set a compass to the amount you want to remove. iii. Cut along the line with the saw appropriate for engineered flooring. Bevel the cut so the blade trims more off the bottom than the top.

Lay the Starter Row

Step 4

Lay the Starter Row

Put the tongue of the first plank on the layout line and nail through the face of the board into the subfloor. Fasten each plank with at least two nails. Drive them 1 or 2" (2.5 or 5cm) from the end of each plank and about every 8" (20cm) in between.

Complete the First Row

Step 5

Complete the First Row

Cut the last board of the first row to fit, leaving the recommended expansion gap. Push the board into place with a pry bar, protecting the wall with a putty knife or a scrap piece of wood. A pull bar can also be used for this task.

Install the First Plank on the Second Row

Step 6

Install the First Plank on the Second Row

Begin the second row with the piece cutoff from the first row. This keeps the ends of the planks from lining up, creating both a stronger and better-looking floor. Do not use the cutoff piece if its end is within 4" (10 cm) of the end of the board in the first row (measurement can fluctuate; check manufacturer instructions). Slide the cutoff into place and push the boards together. Seat the board by tapping with a tapping block.

Install the Remaining Floor

Step 7

Install the Remaining Floor

Continue down the second row, putting the new planks tight against those already in place. Tap each plank to seat it against the previous row then tap the end to join the planks together. Space the nails as before. Cut the last piece of the row to fit, leaving the proper expansion gap between the plank and the wall. Push the last board of each row into place using the same method from Step 5.

Complete the Last Row

Step 8

Complete the Last Row

Measure and cut planks to the width of the distance from the second last row to the wall, allowing for the expansion gap. Face-nail the planks of the last row into place. Countersink with nail set and fill in holes with wood filler.

Install Baseboard

Step 9

Install Baseboard

Install baseboard around the room to cover the expansion gap and protect the walls. See DIY Projects Installing Baseboard; Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

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Project Details

Skill Level: Intermediate

Time: 3 hours

Before you start, read this »

Due to differing conditions, tools, and individual skills, The Home Depot® assumes no responsibility for any damages, injuries suffered, or losses incurred as a result of attempting to replicate any of the home improvement ideas portrayed in this website Before beginning any home improvement project, review it thoroughly to ensure you or your contractor can finish the project and if any doubts or questions remain, consult local experts or authorities. Because codes and regulations vary greatly, you always should check with authorities to ensure that your project complies with all applicable local codes and regulations. Always read and observe all of the safety precautions provided by any tool or equipment manufacturer, and follow all accepted safety procedures.

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