can nails be used when installing 3/8" engineered wood flooring?

Old 06-21-15, 10:22 AM
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can nails be used when installing 3/8" engineered wood flooring?

My son is evaluating a flooring situation in his house. The house has old (perhaps original) hardware flooring in the dining and living rooms that was damaged by recent tenants and is no longer thick enough to refinish again. The two rooms are connected by a wide (5 ft. or more) open doorway and the existing flooring is the same in both rooms.

My son is probably going to be selling the house soon. He needs to decide what to do about the flooring in these two rooms. One idea is to install engineering wood flooring in the dining room and put carpet over the existing floor in the living room, as opposed to installing new wood in both rooms.

My son is thinking of using nails with 3/8" engineering wood flooring. He said he has heard that merely installing the flooring by use of the click-grooves can result in buckling. So, he thinks using nails would prevent any buckling problem from arising.

I am skeptical about use of nails with this type of flooring. The engineered wood products, at least some of them, are offered in 3 thicknesses, 3/8", 1/2", and 3/4". I am inclined to think use of nails might simply not be feasible with engineered wood flooring, especially the 3/8" thickness, because the nails would have to be very carefully installed to avoid interfering with the boards fitting together properly and the thickness of the lower lip of the click grooves might be damaged/broken by driving nails into them.

Edit: Perhaps I should add a comment regarding the possibility of installing the 3/8" engineered wood in both rooms. In that scenario, the 5'-6' continuous floor connection through the arched doorway between the two rooms would result in a section spanning about 27' from opposite ends of the two rooms. Note: the boards would be laid side-by-side across that span. I mention this because I believe buckling is more likely to occur with very wide spans of flooring; that seems logical to me.

Seeking experienced opinions.
Old 06-21-15, 01:55 PM
Gunguy45's Avatar
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No you don't use nails.

You need to leave the appropriate expansion space around the perimeter and follow manufacturer guidelines for where you need a break in the run. Those are the main causes of buckling AFAIK. Well, that and moisture.
Old 06-21-15, 03:28 PM
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If the floor is a "Click Lock" type flooring, you can not use nails. It is designed to float and will require you to leave expansion gaps around the complete perimeter. This is easily provided by removing the baseboard molding in advance of the install and undercutting the casing and jamb of the partition wall/opening. The thicker varieties may offer nail down capabilities, however I would be hesitant to nail down to an existing hardwood floor. Both would expand and contract at different rates and would work against each other and probably create a mess down the road. If wanting nail down, I would recommend removing the existing hardwood, installing 3/4" Advantech subfloor and nailing from there with a wood type that has nail down as a preferred installation method.

Send us a link to the flooring you are going to install and we can research a little more for you.

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