Tools and Supplies for Installing Hardwood Floors

The tools and supplies you’ll need will vary with the type of wood flooring you plan to in stall. The following lists cover what’s needed for the actual installation of each type. You may need additional tools and materials to prepare a suitable sub-floor, so before heading for the hardware store or lumberyard, read “Preparing the Subfloor”.

With strip flooring (or unpegged tongue-arid-groove planks), you can do a perfectly acceptable installation using basic hand tools. But the key to speeding up the task is a nailer, available from most tool rental companies (tool illustration). Special nails known as cleats feed automatically into the nailer and are driven at the correct angle down through each board to secure the floor. The nailer has a spring-operated mechanism that’s triggered by striking with a rubber mallet. It’s not difficult to operate and after a little practice on a few pieces of scrap flooring, you should be able to master it with little trouble. (Square-edged flooring is face nailed by hand.)

You’ll also need a standard claw hammer, a nailset, a crow bar, a carpenter’s square, wood chisel, a flexible measuring tape, a chalk line, a hand drill or port able electric drill with bits, and handsaws. A ripsaw or portable circular saw will be needed for cutting boards with the grain, and a back saw and miter box for cutting boards across the grain. If you have access to a table saw or radial-arm saw, you can cut hardwood flooring with considerably less effort.

If you’re working over a concrete slab subfloor, you’ll need a paintbrush to apply sealer and a notched trowel to spread mastic when preparing a wood nailing base for the new floor; follow the mastic manufacturer’s recommendations as to the correct size trowel.

You’ll need a supply of nails for blind nailing tongue-and- groove boards. Even if you’re using a nailer (which uses special cleats or nails), you’ll need a supply to nail those areas where the nailer cannot be used.

Fig. 45-0: Tools

The nails are sized according to the thickness of the flooring -- 7 or 8-penny annular ring or cement-coated nails for 3/4 inch-thick material, 5-penny annular ring or casing nails for ½-inch-thick material, and 4-penny casing nails for 5/16 or 3/8 inch-thick material. Your flooring supplier can help you select the right nails for the flooring you buy.

You’ll have to face nail some of the boards and set the nails, so to fill these holes you’ll need some wood putty that matches the color of the boards.

For pegged plank flooring, you’ll need the basic equipment necessary for installing wood strip flooring (see previous section), and you may also need some additional tools if the planks you buy aren’t predrilled for screws and plugs. If you do have to drill these holes, the preferred method is to counterbore the plug holes with a power or brad point bit, then drill the countersink and the clearance and pilot holes for the screws with a combination bit for the size screw you use.

If you are very careful to drill straight and hold the drill steady, you can drill the counterbores with a spade bit. You can also use four individual bits to make the counterbore, countersink, and clearance and pilot holes, but each hole will require four separate operations instead of only two.

The bit sizes depend on the screw sizes. If you can borrow or rent a second portable electric drill with a screwdriver attachment, you’ll be able to save time by not having to change bits frequently. You won’t need these additional tools if you plan to lay the flooring in adhesive or nail through the tongues.

Depending on the thickness of the planks you’ll be installing, you’ll need #6, #9, or #12 flathead woodscrews; the thick ness of the planks and subfloor will determine the length of the screws. Your flooring supplier will be able to recommend the correct size screw for the planks you’ve purchased.

Finally, you’ll need either precut wood pegs—often sup plied with plank flooring—or hardwood dowels from which to cut your own pegs.

For block flooring, few specialty tools are required. You’ll need a claw hammer, crosscut saw, putty knife, square, and steel tape. An electric saber saw is ideal for cutting tiles to fit around obstructions. A rubber mallet is handy for tapping block flooring into place without marring the wood surfaces.

To attach wood block flooring, you’ll need an adhesive and possibly a primer for the surface to be covered. The flooring manufacturer will suggest adhesives that will work well with your type of flooring. The kind of adhesive may vary with the type of subfloor to be covered. The adhesive manufacturer, in turn, may recommend that you prime the surface before applying adhesive.

You’ll probably have to buy a special notched trowel to apply adhesive; the flooring manufacturer will recommend the specific trowel for the adhesive recommended. And don’t forget to buy the thinner or solvent recommended on the adhesive container to clean up spills and smudges.

Some manufacturers recommend that you use a heavy floor roller to seat flooring in adhesive. A roller (available from most tool rental shops) is particularly helpful if you have a large area to covet To avoid damage to the floor’s surface, be sure the roller is covered with a resilient material that can be kept clean.

If you install unfinished wood block flooring, you’ll have to sand the floor with a floor sander and finish it with a protective sealer and finish. You can rent a floor sander from your flooring dealer. Your dealer can help you select the right sealer and finish.

Prev: Ordering and Storing Your Wood Flooring

Next: Preparing the Subfloor

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Thursday, 2013-05-09 6:12