New pre-finished install - q's face nailing, stairs, and more


Old 07-06-05, 05:47 PM
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Question New pre-finished install - q's face nailing, stairs, and more

Hi All

I am planning on installing new floors later this summer. Although they're 3 3/4" wide 5/8" thick pre-finished bamboo strips, I believe the questions are general enough to be in this higher-traffic forum. The flooring I intend to get is from They've been very helpful and have provided samples (if anyone has experience with their product, please chime in). The flooring can be glued using bostick or nailed using cleats. Required expansion gap is 1/2" all around.

In my split level ranch, the flooring install will cover the master bedroom, the guest (soon to be baby) room, the hallway and living room, the top set of stairs, and the dining room. Except for the two bedrooms, the rooms all flow into each other and will not have any thresholds or other visible separators unless I have no choice due to required expension gaps.

The floor will run across the joists, folloring the length of the house. The subfloor is plywood (unsure yet as to thickness) put down in 1979. In the dining room, it has quite a bounce to it which I'll need to deal with later. If my experience in the train room is any indication, then the joints between the plywood will be raised due to the lack of expansion gap.

I will be undercutting all drywall and door jambs. Most drywall is already off the floor 3/4", so that will be nice.

I'm fine with cutting, measuring etc. I do woodworking as a hobby, and have installed Pergo in my train room. My main concern for this particular post has to do with face-nailing on pre-finished wood, and with using the stairs as my reference point.

1. Does it make sense to use the stairs as the reference point for the entire install, instead of using the long-run (hallway) as is typically recommended? If not, how would I handle squaring up around the stairs? See these photos:

2. How can I avoid face-nailing in exposed areas? Can I nail the flooring at the very end where it will be covered by the baseboard molding? I don't intend to use shoe molding unless I have to - I've always thought it looked like it is covering up a poor install. Can I just glue the first row and the last several rows and nail the rest with the floor nailer?

2a. I have the same question about the stair nosings (which will be used on the stairs, and around the stairwell). Nails there would look pretty bad.

3. Will I have expansion gap issues in the transition from the living room to the dining room? That is a wide cased opening (63", if I recall).

4. Since this install will certainly span several weekends, I intend to buy a flooring nailer for this project, and for the (couple years out) kitchen project, and then just sell it later. Any recommendations on a pneumatic floor nailer that will do 5/8" thick flooring and not mar the finish? The Porter-Cable is easy to find locally, but they won't comment on its ability to handle 5/8". The Porter Nailer 445 looks very nice, but is a $150 or so more. The one that I find very attractive, the Primatech P240, looks to be way out of my price range at over $800. The Bostitch MIIIFN, from what I have read, is not well-suited to pre-finished flooring (even said something like that on their site, IIRC) as it will mar the finish.

5. I have a Bostitch N62FNK-2 15-gauge finish nailer on the way to me for other projects. It will drive up to 2" 15 gauge finish nails. I'm hoping that will suffice for the blind and any face nailing for this project as well. If not, please let me know.

I really appreciate anything you all have to offer. I've read a lot about the install, and have learned a lot. Unfortunately, I have not found anything that covers pre-finished floor issues to my satisfaction.


Last edited by twelvepole; 07-08-05 at 12:50 PM. Reason: Advertising links in signatures are not allowed in forums. No advertising in forums is allowed.
Old 07-06-05, 06:04 PM
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Thumbs up Primatech

Actually, I found the P240 online for less. I can't imagine why that one site was selling it for over $800.

Here it is:

So cost is no longer the main consideration should that nailer be considered a good one.


Last edited by twelvepole; 07-08-05 at 02:51 PM. Reason: No advertising links allowed in signatures. No advertising in forums.
Old 07-06-05, 08:31 PM
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Austin, TX
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I recently purchased a new flooring stapler from my distributor, called Grip Rite. It was a good value, but I was sckeptical, until he said if I didn't like it, to bring it back.

I have to say, I'm impressed for the $360 I paid for it.

Sure beats my manual Power Nailer!!
Old 07-07-05, 07:37 AM
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New pre-finished install - q's face nailing, stairs, and more

Originally Posted by Carpets Done Wright
I have to say, I'm impressed for the $360 I paid for it.
Thanks. I'm steering away from staplers, but I'll check that out.

In still interested in suggestions (from your or anyone else with your experience) on the other questions.

Thanks again.


Last edited by twelvepole; 07-08-05 at 02:51 PM. Reason: No advertising links allowed in signatures. No advertising allowed in forums.

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