How to Nail-down Install over a Plywood Subfloor

- Sep 19, 2019-

With a nail-down engineered hardwood floor, follow the same subfloor preparation steps as above, including underlayment and laying spacers around the room’s perimeter to maintain the manufacturer's recommended expansion gap. This installation method is identical to staple-down, only the fastener and fastening tool differ.  Reference the imagery for staple-down installation for guided assistance.


Step 1

For your first row, face the tongue toward the center of the room, pre-drilling and nailing with finishing nails about 1 inch in from the wall.  Pre-drilling saves the wood from cracking and makes for an easier job.  Then, use a nail punch to countersink the nails and fill the hole with matching wood filler.  Work at a 3- to 4-inch interval along the length of the board.   

Step 2

For the second and third rows, drive the nails at an angle, just above the tongue, using a pneumatic nail gun. Countersink the nails to avoid interrupting the tongue and groove engagement in the following rows.

Step 3

Because it's difficult to use the nailer in small spaces, face-nail the last one or two rows.

Step 4

Once your new floor is complete, install transition pieces and remove the spacers.  Then nail the baseboards and shoe mouldings to the wall, not the floor.