How to Face Nail Wide-Plank Wood Flooring

Deal with-nailed flooring, where nails are remaining uncovered, is one thing you really don’t see really normally. It is largely observed in older—like 100 several years or more—homes or properties, even though you may well occur across it in some newer properties wherever it’s utilized to assistance foster a a lot more rustic aesthetic. Most generally deal with nailing is employed on vast-plank flooring, from 6 up to most likely 20 inches throughout. I not too long ago had to take a look at the system when I replaced weakened flooring in my summer months kitchen area, originally establish around a century ago.

A cross part showing how tongue-and-groove flooring suits collectively.

Bradley Ford

Currently, normal wood-plank flooring (also simply call tongue and groove) is blind nailed by means of the tongue edge. To do this, you travel the nail at an angle at the edge of the tongue, where it will be included when the groove edge of the following board is slipped over the tongue. You can do the nailing manually, but mechanical nailers are a lot speedier. With broader boards nevertheless, this leaves a considerable width of every single board with no fasteners that is inclined to warping, building the ground uneven. The modern day answer to this is to use screws by way of pockets in the facial area of the flooring, and then disguise the fasteners with a wood plug in the pocket.

face nailed yellow pine flooring
Driving the nail at an angle via the tongue is simply call blind nailing since as soon as the subsequent board is set up, it hides the nail.

Bradley Ford

When I built the decision to swap my floor, trying to keep the design methods and elements at first used, I was pretty a great deal locked into facial area nailing the flooring by hand. I ordered 400 square ft of tongue-and-groove yellow pine in 8-inch-extensive, 1-inch-thick planks. Right now, wooden flooring is typically 3⁄4-inch thick or less—because it’s typically laid above a plywood subfloor. In the circumstance of older buildings like mine, the floor was laid instantly on the joists or structural supports, which were usually not uniformly spaced—I have some as a lot as 2 toes aside. So the boards require to be thicker.

Deciding on the Nails

Though nails made use of for face nailing have large keeping electricity, they are also thought of ornamental. Due to that, and their more laborious producing method, they are substantially much more high-priced than typical wire nails. These have to look the portion, and they may perhaps have sq./rectangular, wrought, or rose heads. The nail alone will have a tapered wedge form, with a extensive profile from one particular facet, and a flat square suggestion. They are named square nails or slash nails, for how they have been designed.

cut nails shown from both the narrow and wide sides
Slice nails usually have a narrow facet (left) and a wide, flat aspect (appropriate).

Bradley Ford

The blunt, sq. idea, when hammered, tears by means of wood fibers, breaking them as it passes through the wood. The wedge shape pushes the ends of the fibers down and will get tighter as the nail is pushed down. These wood fibers act like angled teeth that help prevent the nail from backing out, giving it a lot more holding power than contemporary round nails that push their way concerning the wood fibers.

comparison of how cut and wire nails pass through wood
Wire or spherical-shank nails (left) penetrate in between the wooden fibers, separating them as they go as a result of. Slash nails (appropriate) rip by means of wood fibers, pushing them down as it passes via wood, producing teeth that assist stop the nail from backing out.

Bradley Ford

The head of the nails you use will count on your application. For more challenging wooden species, you’ll use nails with a scaled-down, rectangular head. Bur for soft wooden, like the yellow pine I used, you’ll want a much larger-head nail that will be more difficult to pull out of the wooden. I finished up picking Tremont’s 2.5-inch sq.-reduce, hearth door clinch nails, with a black oxide finish. These have a nicely formed huge head and a reverse taper on the shaft in the vicinity of the head that allows the wood fibers relax and close back again in on the nail, locking it in place.

tremont fire door clinch nails
Tremont Fire Door Clinch Nails have a extensive, wrought head which is good for use on tender wooden flooring.

Bradley Ford

Spacing the Nails

When nailing across the width, you’ll need two experience nails for boards up to 8 inches broad, and a few nails for something in excess of 9 inches. The nails closest to the edge should be 1 to 1.25 inches from it. You are going to recognize in the photographs that mine are about 2 inches from the edge—and there’s a explanation for that. My quite old ground joists ended up warped and uneven. Nailing in a tiny farther authorized the edge of the board to flex a minor, so it was simpler to get the groove on the following board to slip more than the tongue. That does risk the edge of the boards cupping about time and the floor getting to be uneven. But the ground is wavy anyway, with a very good 2 inches of deviation from level. Likelihood are you will be working with comparatively level sub-flooring, nevertheless, so you will want to nail near to the edge.

Each row of nails, representing the place you would usually nail into a joist, ought to be 26 to 30 inches apart. The nails are not low cost, so carefully compute how several you will want, then add 5-10 percent to be certain you don’t lower it far too close.

Hammering the Nails

In advance of you start hammering absent, exercise driving a few of nails into some scraps of wooden. They are not likely to sink in the way common nails do. The very first factor to know is that you will need to orient the flat facet of the nail parallel to the grain. The nails will get more challenging to driver the farther in they go, and if the broad facet is perpendicular to the grain, it can break up the wood apart. You will want to sink them in flush with the experience of the board, without having leaving a hammer dimple in the wooden. If you plan on sanding the ground before ending it, sink the nails just beneath the surface with a nail set.

On the initial board, alongside the wall and at the finishes of each board, use a common flooring nail that will be concealed by your baseboard trim. I applied hardened, spiral-shank nails, then applied a nail established to get them flush with the area. Start out with the groove facet to the wall, leaving the tongue to the outdoors, so each individual board’s groove will in good shape more than the pervious board’s tongue.

spacing for face nailed wood flooring
You can use a framing square marked with a Sharpie as a information for nail spacing.

Bradley Ford

Right until you get the hold of spacing your nails reliably, you can use a framing square marked with a Sharpie to continue to keep the spacing dependable. Or you can just cut a proper triangle out of cardboard and mark the spacing. In both case, you can just issue the suggestion at the final nail on the earlier board and you’re all set. But previously mentioned all, really don’t worry about performing it perfectly it’s the imperfection that presents deal with nailing its appeal.

Closing the Gaps

All of your large-plank flooring isn’t likely to be flawlessly straight. At some level, you’ll have a hole in the centre or at equally ends. This is a rather effortless problem to correct. Take a cut-off scrap of flooring and minimize across the center, with the grain, on a shallow angle. At the stage wherever the hole is most significant, line up the parts as if you have been installing the up coming board. Then screw down the major piece, with the tongue, and hammer the decrease piece, which turns into a wedge, to squeeze the gap closed.

hammering a wedge to close gaps on tongue and groove flooring
You can make a straightforward wedge to near gaps in flooring boards by making use of a slice-off scrap of flooring, slash on an angle, with the grain. Screwing the prime fifty percent with the tongue down, you can hammer the reduced 50 % with the groove to shut the gap.

Bradley Ford

The Last Board

The quite past board will be challenging to put in. There are two tactics. If you are laying this flooring down about a subfloor, you can trim the board to the proper width on the confront, and then take away the lessen lip of the grove. This will make it possible for the board to drop in spot and be encounter nailed. Use standard flooring nails at the edge of the wall, just as you did on the initial board.

If you’re nailing the flooring right to the joists, and the bottom is exposed or obvious from underneath, you’ll want to measure the width it desires to be, and then subtract the width of the tongue. This will let the board fall into location. Then you can use a crow bar against the wall to carefully slide the groove above the tongue of the former board. This will go away a compact gap at the wall, but it will be coated by your baseboard molding.

And there you have it: a nicely put in, handsomely aged-fashioned wood floor.

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