There are many types of flooring out there. If you plan on doing a nail down installation, it seems like there is the same number of cleats, nails, staples, and installation guns. Hopefully, we can clear a little of it up for you.
Our Tech and Install Department has done a lot of leg work for us to come up with some very valuable resources regarding which products you should use.
As a quick overview, there are many companies that make Hardwood nailing machines, few will have all the accessories, adaptor plates and styles of fasteners needed for the many types of floorings we carry.
The POWERNAIL CO. is able to match up both the correct Nail machine and fasteners for a complete system for most wood floors.
The MODELS 50P & 50M are excellent for the installation of both Engineered and Solids ranging in sizes from 3/8” to 5/8,-(especially the harder exotic woods).These models use a thin cleat nail –(size .050) as thick as a dime, ranging from 1” to 1-1/2” in length.
The MODELS 200P & 250M are also designed for Engineered wood, sizes from 5/16” to 5/8”, (great for the Nail-down Bamboo products) sizes 1/2" to 5/8”. These models also use a thin cleat nail – (size.035) as thick as a paper match.
These models are designed to minimize tongue fracture common with Wire gage staplers and protect board edges and the surface area. However, even when using a recommended nailer tongue fractures can still happen. Some brittle woods like 1/2" Australian Cypress work well gluing down with 100% urethane adhesives rather than nailing, especially for border work. Brittle woods do best with the thinner cleat type nails 18-20 ga.
Packaged in with these models will be the adaptor plates and shims necessary for your specified flooring size. Test a few boards for correct nail seating and verify that the board edge is damage free, make any adjustments.
Actually for some species of wood like Blood wood, Ebony, Teaks, Brazilian Rosewood and Brazilian Cherry, the "pre-drill and hand nailing" method may be needed to prevent wood damage. If using a nailing machine for harder exotics watch out for any surface dimpling or mushrooming. This condition can happen when nailing denser woods. The nail actually pushes the surface of the wood upward (resulting in a surface dimple) to receive the nail. If floor-nailing machines will not correctly nail the wood without dimpling the surface or fracturing the tongues, it is recommended to pre-drill and hand nail some species, just as a carpenter would when working around fine furniture or cabinetry.
Many professional installers understand this and often charge slightly more for installation of these “iron woods” as the correct installation can take 2-3 times longer!
Additional resources can be found here: