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The Nail Down Method of Fitting an Oak Floor

Powernail Secret Nailer

The nail down method of laying an oak floor is suitable for both solid and engineered oak flooring. The nail down method fixes the flooring down to wooden floorboards below. The flooring is nailed to the surface below which, because it is also wood has similar characteristics as regards movement and expansion as the oak flooring on the surface.

Prepare Oak Floor Planks For Fitting

Oak flooring in carton aclimatising to relative humidityAs with all flooring projects order a percentage more than the actual size of your room to allow for wastage, you can do this when you order from our website. The flooring mus acclimatise to the temperature and humidity of the room where it’s going to be laid. The flooring should sit at the relative temperature within the installation space. You can test it with a moisture meter. Only go ahead with installation when both readings are consistent over a period of three days. The relative humidity should be ideally between 35% and 60%.

Preparing Your Room for the Nail Down Method

Cut the bottoms of skirtings, doorframes and architrave by the depth of your floor boards using a piece of flooring planking as a depth guide.

After you’ve decided which direction you want your planking to run, usually along the longest side of the room, you can find out how many planks wide your room matches. Measure the width of your room and divide the result by the width of your floorboards. There will inevitably be a part board left over. If its width is less than a quarter of a board’s width you’ll need to add this width to a full board width and dive by two to get widths for both your first board and last board. This will balance the look of the room and avoid an unsightly slim board at one end of the room.

Laying out the Floor

Start working from 4 or 5 boxes of planks when you begin to lay out. Do this to ensure that you maintain an even mix of colours. Lay down the first 3 rows without glue and use plastic wedges to maintain a 1.5mm expansion gap between each board. This will allow for natural movement and expansion of the floor. Cut out any part of the boards which have defects (knots and fills) to use as start and end pieces of each length of planks. Each joint between planks lengthwise should be randomised and no closer than 200mm than the joints in the adjacent run. Once the planks are connected and laid use a string line to make sure that all of the planks are running straight. Use the plastic wedges to make any adjustments.

Gluing Together Your Oak Floor For Nailing

Oak Flooring Fitting sizing up the planksLift your first 2 rows of planks and put to one side in order so that they can be replaced as they were. Screw some scrap blocks to the sub floor against the back edge of the third row to hold it in place. Apply a bead of joint glue to the grooved edge of row 3 and return to position. Once the boards are straight they can be nailed in place ideally with barbed cleats using a nail gun. Each plan should be nailed every 200 to 250mm along their length and 50 to 75mm from each end.

Continue With The Install

Install the floor gluing and nailing until the final planks. These will need to be hand nailed as the nail gun will no longer clear the wall. These hand nailed nails will ideally be driven into 3mm predrilled holes and countersunk using a nail punch. The final row, cut to specific width, needs to be face nailed down. This will require predrilled holes every 150mm to seat it in place. Once this is done the scrap wood up against row 3 can be removed. Rows 1 and 2 can now be installed. Again use a 3mm bit to pre drill holes and with the use of a punch to countersink the nails.

Powernail Secret Nailer - nail down method

Finishing Laying Your Oak Floor Up

When the glue has set remove your expansion wedges. Fit any beading, skirting or architrave to cover your expansion gaps and complete your oak floor fitting.


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