Installing Plank Flooring
The following instructions apply to 3/4"
thick solid wood flooring installations with a plywood
over wood joists or screeds
Start by re-nailing any loose areas and sweeping the subfloor
clean. Mark the location of joists on perimeter walls so that starting
runs and finishing runs, which require face nailing, can be nailed
into joists. Then cover subfloor with 30 lb. asphalt felt/building
paper. Lap all edges 2 to 4 inches.
helps keep out dust, retards moisture movement from below, and helps
prevent squeaks in dry seasons.
Direction of the finished flooring.
Direction of finish flooring should be at right angles to the
joists as illustrated to your right. This is generally the longest
dimension of the room or building and gives best appearance.
Begin flooring installation along the longest continuous wall
parallel to the flooring direction of most rooms. (i.e. Down a long
hallway wall.) Work from there into the room.
Starting to lay the floor
Location and straight alignment of the first course is important.
Place a mark 3/4" plus the width of flooring (5-1/4" for 5" planks)
on the end wall near a corner of starting wall. Place a similar
mark at opposite corner and insert nails into each mark. Pull a
string line between the nails.
If you're working with screeds over a slab, make the same
measurements and stretch a line between nails. Remove the line after
you get the starter board in place.
Equally important is allowance for the expansion gap between
the starting plank and the wall. The gap is necessary to accommodate
normal expansion of the flooring. This area will be hidden by the
baseboard and/or shoe mould.
Position the first plank along the starting string line. With
the grooved plank side facing the wall, drive a 7d (2-1/4")
screw or 8d (2-1/2") flooring nail or casing nail (galvanized or
screw shank hold best) approximately 1" from the grooved edge.
Nails should be driven into the top surface of the plank and
counter-sunk (face nailing). Repeat, by driving a nail or screw
every 8" along the length of the starter plank. Be careful not to
damage the plank face.
For Face Nailing the starter planks
to a plywood subfloor over a concrete slab, use a shorter 1-1/2"
nail or screw, as recommended in the table below. Too long of nails
will not properly set or countersink and will compromise the vapor
Position nails over supporting joists, and near ends of planks
or into each screed crossed. Keep the starter strip aligned with
the string line. (Pre-drilling nail holes will prevent splits.)
Also, blind nail the starting plank through the tongue.
Rack the floor by laying out seven or eight rows of flooring
end to end in a staggered pattern with end joints at least 6" apart.
Find or cut pieces to fit within 1/2" of the end wall. Watch your
pattern for even distribution of long and short pieces and to avoid
clusters of short boards.
Blind Nailing Fasteners - choose ONE of the following :
2" to 2-1/4" corrugated flooring nail
(for use with a flooring nailer)
2" to 2-1/4" barbed flooring cleat
15-gauge staple with 1/2 " crowns.
Blind Nail (through the tongue) every
8" along the length of each plank and within 1" to 3" of
each plank end.
A special note for blind nailing to a plywood subfloor over
a concrete slab: Be sure to request a special shoe or attachment
to the nailer that increases the angle of the standard nail. Again,
too long of nails will prevent the nail from properly setting and
breach the vapor barrier.
Nailing the floor
Blind nail through the tongue along the length of the starting
plank according to the schedule shown in the above table.
all face nails. After the first run is in place you can change
from a hammer to a floor nailing tool which drives nails mechanically
or pneumatically, and does not require additional countersinking.
Various floor nailing machines use either a barbed nails, cleats
or staples, fed into the machine in clips. The nailing tool drives
fasteners through the tongue of the flooring at the proper angle
while drawing the next plank properly into place.
flooring planks and nails so that they do not meet over the subfloor
Continue installing across the room, fitting each successive
run of planks, snugly mating the groove to the tongue until you
reach the far wall.
Blind nail by hand where the nailing machine can not be used.
Face nail the last runs when unable to blind nail by hand.
Allow for the same 3/4" expansion space as on the beginning wall.
It may be necessary to rip a plank to fit.
Use an offset pry bar or lever device to tighten these last face
nailed runs all at once before face-nailing.
Special Face-Nailing Recommendations
with Wide Plank Flooring:
to minimize movement and stabilize planks wider than 5 inches,
it is recommended that planks first be blind nailed, as
instructed above. Then each plank end be either screwed
and filled with a wooden plug or face nailed with a plain
or decorative cut nail, as follows:
or Cut Nail
or 8d (8½")
Phillips Head or Drywall Screws & Wood Plugs
or #9 x 2½"
Drive a nail or screw between 1"and 3" of each plank
end at the approximate rate of 3 nails per square foot or
per the following schedule:
1-nail per 6” wide plank · 2-
nails per 7" or 8” wide plank
using screws, countersink the screw head, fill the hole
with wood glue and insert a tapered wood plug, taping lightly
with a rubber mallet. Immediately wipe away any excess glue.
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