Since 1994, Lumber Liquidators has offered more than 120 varieties of flooring including hardwood, bamboo, cork or laminates from premier brands such as Bellawood, Durawood, Schön, Virginia Millworks Hand scraped planks, Morning Star bamboo and Dream Home laminates. Because of this, exotic flooring choices have become more mainstream for the everyday consumer. The most common hardwood species selected for flooring is domestic red and white oak, maple. hickory, ash, and cherry. By far, Brazilian cherry is the most popular exotic species used in flooring, followed by other desirable species like Teaks, Mahogany, Rose wood and Brazilian Walnut. With the availability of these specialty floorings including bamboo and corks, it becomes more important than ever to protect the investment through best installation practices.
Our Bellawood and Durawood solid products are installed using standard hardwood floor staplers or cleat nailers. While installers may have fastener preferences, both types work well. Professional installers also know how wood hardness will vary between species and will react differently when cutting or nailing. Most species present little problems when nailing, however a few denser exotic species can be more difficult. It should be noted that the denseness or brittleness of a particular species is viewed as a characteristic, not a defect. When nailing the harder species like Brazilian Walnut, Ebony or Teaks, knowledgeable installers employ several nailing methods to greatly reduce the occurrence of board damage.
If you choose to install or nail the hardwood yourself here are a few suggestions to help with your project. Tongue fracture and surface dimpling during installation is common and can be minimized by using the correct nail thickness, using the recommended shoe adaptor, or changing the angle of nail entry. To do this, many installers will temporarily adjust the nailing machine angle by applying layers of duct tape or cardboard to the bottom foot plate of the nailer. In addition, to reduce surface dimpling, the use of a thinner 18-20 gage cleat nail may be needed. Use caution when fastening the harder exotics with Staple machines. The drive bar in Staplers are wider and if fasteners are overdriven can act like a wood chisel, splitting tongues. Do not mix fasteners when nailing. Staples and cleats hold differently when mixed can result in irregular seasonal gapping and or movement. Using an oversize foot plate on the nailer to distribute the driving force, protecting the board edge is also encouraged. If however, all normal nailing methods prove unsuccessful when nailing the denser species, then drilling pilot holes and hand nailing may be required. When face or top nailing, pick areas of the grain or pattern that would best hide touch up fillers. Do not use significantly bowed, crooked or twisted boards. Use a spline whenever a change of board direction is needed, these should be glued and nailed into place.
The lower profile sizes (1/2" to 5/16") are installed using specially designed thinner 18-20gage pneumatic cleat nailers and some Staplers. Ensure that you are using the correct sized fasteners and adaptors. If nailers prove unsuccessful at fastening these harder and thinner floors, many installers will use 100% urethane wood flooring adhesives rather than nailers, especially with brittle species like Australian Cypress.
The MORNING STAR and Supreme bamboo can be installed using the Staple down, Nail down or Glue down methods. In addition to the suggestions above it's a good idea to test the nailer. This is done by fastening a sacrificial board to the floor, then checking the surface dimpling or edge damage in a well lighted area. Next, make all adjustments to the nailer and air pressure setting before installation begins, remove the test board.
Our Flooring101 self help link offers Installers and our do it yourself (DIY) customers a variety of installation resources including Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and printable documents related to specific products.
Bob - Technical and Installation