Author Topic: 18 Gauge Flooring Nailer Recommendations  (Read 1821 times)

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Offline ScotF

  • Posts: 2490
18 Gauge Flooring Nailer Recommendations
« on: January 23, 2018, 09:22 PM »
What recommendations do you have for an 18 gauge flooring nailer? I am getting ready to install Bamboo flooring. Renting is not practical given this project will take me several weeks to complete over weekends and evenings. So want to buy something. I want a quality tool and good quality cleats.

Also, do folks use he palm nailers for close to walls or traditional nailer for under molding and hidden areas?

Thanks!

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Online Cheese

  • Posts: 4944
Re: 18 Gauge Flooring Nailer Recommendations
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2018, 10:01 PM »
I’ve owned and used a Bostitch floor stapler for the last 25-30 years. I’ve literally installed thousands upon thousands of square feet of 3/4” maple, oak, fir and Brazilian cherry flooring.  I’ve never had an issue with it, just oil it LIGHTLY 3-4 times a day.

For getting close to walls I’ve used all or some of these methods, in this order, as you get closer & closer to the wall:

Close...A 15 gauge angle finish nailer through the tongue at 45º. 

Closer yet...a palm nailer with finish nails placed in pre-drilled holes at 45º through the tongue.

Really close...a palm nailer/hammer with finish nails placed in pre-drilled holes at 60º-75º through the tongue. The hammer can now be used because the nail is now more vertical.

Right up against the wall...a 15 gauge angle finish nailer through the top of the flooring but close enough to the wall that the base/shoe will cover the nail heads. Angle the gun slightly, if the gun is vertical, you run the risk of splitting the last 1/4"-3/8" edge of the board.
I have also cut the red rosen paper 1/4" short and applied a small bead of PL-400 to the edge of the last floor board. Belt & suspenders... [tongue]

I'll add, that by following the methods outlined above, I've been successful in only having to top-nail the very last row of flooring.

Notes:
Make sure when using that finish nailer, palm nailer or hammer, to check that the nails are set properly. Sometimes they can be just slightly proud and will interfere with the fit of the last several rows of boards.  Keep a nail set nearby.  [big grin]

Also if you can't get a good wallop on the floor stapler because of the shrinking distance, you may only get a light mallet hit which will not full set the staple and you will need to set it by hand, both legs. It doesn’t happen often, but just keep it in mind.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 10:20 AM by Cheese »

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 4944
Re: 18 Gauge Flooring Nailer Recommendations
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2018, 11:03 PM »
One more thing I just thought of.  When getting close to the wall, if you’re unable to have enough room to swing the mallet to give the staple gun a solid whack, I’ll grab a 2# sledge. You don’t have to swing that as far to get a solid hit on the gun.  [big grin]

Offline ScotF

  • Posts: 2490
Re: 18 Gauge Flooring Nailer Recommendations
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2018, 11:32 PM »
Awesome info, @Cheese...thank you!

Offline Peter_C

  • Posts: 668
Re: 18 Gauge Flooring Nailer Recommendations
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2018, 11:38 PM »
Cheese has some great advice.

Everything that I have ever read says to not use staples with bamboo as the tongues can and will break, but instead cleat nails. Only done click-lock bamboo floors.

As to staples or nails not seating fully, I usually just keep a 4 1/2" grinder close and cut them off. Faster and no damage to the tongue. Easy enough to drop a couple staples/cleats on each side if needed.

When I get too close to the wall I switch to top nailing and filling.

As to what tool, many today have switched to the nailers that can switch from staples to nails. Yes you can do so with a Bostitch, but it takes more work. I have a Bostitch stapler and am happy with it. There are a couple of brands folks like. This is one of them.
https://www.amazon.com/Freeman-PF18GLCN-18-Gauge-Flooring-Nailer/dp/B00BDPJ5GG

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 4944
Re: 18 Gauge Flooring Nailer Recommendations
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2018, 12:05 AM »
Like @Peter_C mentioned, sometimes it’s easier to chop the top of an unseated nail with a RA grinder.

The first photo is the item I’ve always used. It’s their stapler, however I’ve never installed bamboo.

The second item is a new Bostitch stapler/cleat floor tool. Rather interesting, it shoots 15.5 ga staples or 16 ga cleats. It also looks like it may be a bit shorter than the older model which would help you get closer to the wall.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 12:10 AM by Cheese »

Offline Vondawg

  • Posts: 222
Re: 18 Gauge Flooring Nailer Recommendations
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2018, 08:26 AM »
Everything mentioned...plus, good strong swings and the full air pressure needed on the finish nailer...the bamboo flooring is HARD stuff....you’ll also go thru a blade or two (depending on size of job) but it really is strong stuff
There are no mistakes....just new designs.

Offline Peter_C

  • Posts: 668
Re: 18 Gauge Flooring Nailer Recommendations
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2018, 03:07 PM »
A few more tricks. Buy spline (Tongue) in advance so you can reverse direction (If needed). For instance you start against a wall in the middle of a room, screw plywood to continue the wall and start installing flooring. Once you have a few courses in you can remove the plywood, and now start laying flooring in the opposite direction.

Layout is everything. Plan everything out in advance. Go across the floor joists unless you have a thick subfloor/underlayment. Check with a laser for square. Measure rooms for square. The hardest part is making sure hallways and rooms getting hardwood flooring are straight to each other.

Before ever starting make sure the floor is flat. Level not so important. A looong 2700mm+ Festool track works excellent if you don't own anything else. If there are larger dips you can fill them in with luan, and/or vinyl flooring. If you are trying to keep the wood level with another surface it can be a lot of work, with ultra high rewards, in not having any thresholds, IE: nothing to trip over.

Most likely you will need some kind of "paper" to put down. Some folks just use rosen paper, and others like tar paper. I am partial to silicon paper, which can be purchased from Amazon or stores like Home Depot, along with flooring stores. Often a vapor barrier is required which is where the silicon paper shines with no off gassing. Also depends if there is radiant heat or not.

Speaking of heating are there going to be heater vents? My preference is it to flush them in with no surround. More work but far cleaner. Track saw, router, and a chisel do the work.

As you are laying the floor down, layout which boards you want in advance. This will set your offset. No board ends should ever line up within a few courses.

Tight fitting joints are important for looks. A proper hit on the nail gun will close gaps perfectly. Though sometimes it will take a little more even. A screwdriver pounded into the floor then pried on can straighten a warped board. Other times you will just need to pry carefully off of the wall. I built a tool to seat the boards close to the wall, although I understand you can buy one. Glue felt to the bottom of the tool if you are using pre-finished flooring.







Offline PaulH99

  • Posts: 114
Re: 18 Gauge Flooring Nailer Recommendations
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2018, 03:51 PM »
Also consider purchasing a "hardwood flooring jack" like this: http://a.co/jadAUhh

They are indispensable when you get close to the wall. You can use this to pull each of the last couple rows together as you nail them with a finish nailer. This replaces the need to pound a screwdriver into the floor. If a board in the middle of the floor won't tighten properly due to warping, you can screw a chunk of 2x4 into the subfloor and use that as the "wall" with the jack and tighten the piece together.
-Paul
CT 26 • DF 500 • ETS 125 • KS 120 • OF 1400 • PS 420 • RO 125 • TS 55 R

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 4944
Re: 18 Gauge Flooring Nailer Recommendations
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2018, 08:50 PM »

Speaking of heating are there going to be heater vents? My preference is it to flush them in with no surround. More work but far cleaner. Track saw, router, and a chisel do the work.


Depending upon the size of the room, DO purchase some tongue. You never know when you’ll need it. 

Here are a couple examples of what Peter C is referring to.

Photo 1 Horizontal borderless vent

Photo 2 Horizontal bordered vent

Photo  3 Vertical borderless vent

All made from Jabota using an MFS & OF 1010. 

Offline ScotF

  • Posts: 2490
Re: 18 Gauge Flooring Nailer Recommendations
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2018, 10:23 PM »
Awesome information, guys!! Thank you!!!

Fortunately I live in a warm climate - so no heat ducts in the floor. Do you think a small air compressor like the Rolair JC10+ would be good? I have a big compressor in the shop, but do not want to run miles of hose from the shop to the install. I imagine I could get a several cleats set before refilling. I like the low dB levels of the Rolair.

For blades - Kapex - 60 tooth OK or do you think 80 teeth is better? I wonder how well it will cut. I have samples coming from the manufacturer and I think the Bamboo is embedded in some kind of epoxy so that might make for cleaner cutting, but I was wondering if it was stringy.

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 4944
Re: 18 Gauge Flooring Nailer Recommendations
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2018, 10:59 PM »
If this is your first flooring job and you’re doing it by yourself, you’ll be fine with the Rolair. Unless you’re a professional and have a 2-3 member crew working with you, you’ll be fine.

A typical pattern will be to lay out the flooring several strips at a time, placing the tongue end in the proper direction, and you’ll then decide which goes where. Then you’ll staple 5-10 times and then you’ll decide again before you staple again. There are ends to cut, there are fits to check...you’ll be fine with a crew of one & the JC10.

Thinking about this a bit more, you may want to pick up a tongue and groove cutter. I have one from CMT and it’s very handy for when you have to make a 90 degree angle and you want to lock the end of the flooring into the existing tongue and groove of the rest of the flooring. I have one mounted in a router table but they will still work well on the end of a hand held router. If you're connecting groove to groove, just use some of that slip tongue you already purchased. [big grin]

Just remember to lock all flooring strips to one another, and they’re all locked in because of the tongue and groove.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2018, 10:57 AM by Cheese »

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 4944
Re: 18 Gauge Flooring Nailer Recommendations
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2018, 10:22 AM »
Hey @ScotF post some pics of the install.  [big grin]  Beginning...during...ending...they're all good. [smile]

« Last Edit: January 25, 2018, 11:15 AM by Cheese »

Offline ScotF

  • Posts: 2490
Re: 18 Gauge Flooring Nailer Recommendations
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2018, 08:35 PM »
Will do - still a little ways before I start as I am still gathering samples and researching, but will post pics when I start. Should be a fun project!

Offline Peter_C

  • Posts: 668
Re: 18 Gauge Flooring Nailer Recommendations
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2018, 12:12 AM »
If you haven't bought the wood yet, you might want to look at options. Cost vs time, vs?

Whatever you buy make sure it can be refinished over and over. That usually means solid 3/4" hardwood.

For our own floors we had chosen hickory and the width was chosen by future heating upgrades. We had looked at carpet and everything else cost wise, but hardwood won out on the fact it is the cheapest long term with the highest home resale value. I found a mill that sold unfinished wood direct. I cut the shipping tag after researching the most cost effective way. Finished onsite is superior, but unless you have the time and means to sand and refinish the wood it is a lot of work. Pre-finished is fast! Bamboo is great for the fact it is eco friendly, and can look fabulous. If you can buy direct you will save a ton of money.

A few links for you.
https://grafbro.com/pdf/NWFA_INSTALLATION_GUIDELINES.pdf
https://www.hoskinghardwood.com/Hardwood-Floors.aspx?dId=7
http://www.uptownfloors.com/preparation/floor-layout.htm
https://www.replogleflooring.com/
https://www.oakcrestlumber.com/
http://www.hursthardwoods.com/