How to Use a Finish Nailer to Nail Down Hardwood Floor

Can I use Finish Nailer to Install a Hardwood Floor?

Finish nailer reduce time and labor, replacing the old “swing-a-hammer” technique with automated nailing. You may use certain types of finish nailer to install a hardwood floor, but practice on scrap wood first to ensure that you master the correct technique.

If you’re handy with a finish nail gun, you can use it to install a hardwood floor. A finish nail gun, designed for trim work, shoots a near-headless nail that does not mar the surface look of the wood, which makes a finish nailer effective for installing hardwood floors as well. To use this nailer, position the nail shoe on the wood tongue at about a 15-degree angle downward and inward, toward the plank. Depress the nail shoe while holding the nailer carefully in place, and pull the trigger. Use finish nailers that are long enough to go through the subfloor, if there is one, and at least 1/2 inch into the floor joists.


How to Use a Finish Nailer to Nail Down Hardwood Floor?

As we discussed above, we have been cleared that finish nailer reviews is good to nail down on hardwood floor. Hardwood floors that are installed in a home come in two types. One type is called a floating floor; it is not secured with nails. The other type is secured to the subfloor using staples or nails. Nails that are used to secure the wood boards to the subfloor require using a hammer or a finish nailer. Finish nailers can be purchased or rented.

Materials Required to Do

We need to take some raw materials to do this work. They are

  • Hammer
  • Finish nails
  • Chalk line
  • Spacers
  • Power drill
  • Finish nailer
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife


There are some steps to do this work. They are

  1. Make a mark along the floor half an inch from the wall using a chalk line. The half inch is to allow for the expansion of the wood. Align the first row along the chalk line, and use a hammer and nails to secure the boards to the sub floor. The finish nailer will be too big to use until at least two rows have been installed.
  2. Open the magazine cover of the finish nailer and place strips of finish nails in a row along the length of the magazine. Make sure the heads of the nails, not the tips, are facing the handle of the nailer.
  3. Close the magazine cover when you have finished loading nails into the magazine.
  4. Set the finish nailer so that is sits flush against the tongue edge of the board.
  5. Press or strike the trigger on the finish nailer to drive the nail diagonally through the base of the tongue on the board.
  6. Place nails along the row about every 10 to 12 inches. Make sure you place at least two nails in each board of the hardwood flooring.
  7. Repeat the previous three steps until you have finished installing the floor.
  8. Place additional strips of nails into the finish nailer as it runs out. You may need to install the last row of boards by hand with a hammer and nails if the remaining space does not permit full functioning of the finish nailer.

Angled Vs. Straight Finish Nailers

Choosing an angled or a straight nail gun is mainly about your own preferences when working. You may like to have both on hand for different projects, but an angled nail gun does have one significant advantage over a straight nail gun.

You might be wondering, “What are the real differences between straight and angled finish nailers, and will those differences really affect the quality of my work?” Well, the answer in a nutshell is “plenty” and “yes.” In another nutshell, the terms “angled” and “straight” refer to the angle of the tool’s nail magazine. Angled guns have better access into small areas, they are generally more accurate, more expensive, and shoot a thicker nail. Straight guns are less expensive, are generally more bulky, and shoot a thinner nail.

The angled finish nailer is perhaps most well known for its uncanny and superior access into tight spaces and corners. Having a smaller front end, the nailer provides greater access for trimming and any other nailing application where especially tight spaces are a factor. This sleek, angled design also provides more accurate and simpler nail placement. The angled driver of the angled nailer has the ability to focus your shots more acutely, and its more “D” shaped nail heads are arguably more secure than the more “T” shaped heads of the straight nailer.

The straight finish nailer, although sworn by a mountain of professional craftsman, is a bit more bulky and cumbersome than its angled counterpart. They don’t offer the same access into tight spaces and therefore lack the generally superior accuracy and agility of the angled nailer. Of course, though, there are some benefits to using a straight nailer, mainly, their thinner nails leave smaller holes behind them, they leave far more delicate entrance wounds in fragile projects, and their price tags are substantially smaller. Both the straight nailer and their straight, thin nails are far less expensive than the more specialized angled guns and nails.


Finish nail guns are available in angled and straight styles. You can buy angled and straight nail guns in electric corded, cordless and pneumatic types.

Primary Advantage

The primary advantage of an angled nail gun is that it reaches into tighter spaces, giving you more leverage when working. It is easier to use than a straight nail gun when nailing into corners. When nailing at an angle, you don’t have to turn the gun sideways


Because of the extended nose, most angled nail guns are longer and heavier than a straight nailer, which can make them more cumbersome to use.


Most angled finish nail guns shoot a longer nail with a heavier gauge (15-gauge) as opposed to the straight nail guns at 16-gauge. Heavier-gauge nails cannot be used on certain types of trim, and they also are more expensive.


Both angled and straight nail guns require the use of safety glasses for eye protection. Many nail guns include a pair of these glasses.

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