The Nail-down: Helpful Tips and Instructions


The information found herein is designed to be a helpful guide and is not meant to be all inclusive or to take the place of your installer. For these types of installations it is highly recommended to consult with a professional flooring installer for their advice as they can best see all the issues with your specific installation.


Particleboard, Luan, Oriented Strand Boards (OSB) less than 3/4″ thick and Masonite panels are not recommended for a lasting nail hold for hardwood floorings. A minimum 5/8” thickness of plywood sub-floor is strongly recommended to ensure floor stability. Harder exotics such as Blood wood, Brazilian walnut/cherry and Teaks require a sturdy plywood base to firmly secure the nails.


Flooring must acclimate in the installation area.  The room should be between 60 – 80F and 30-50% relative humidity. HVAC systems must be functional and wet trades complete prior to installation. Reschedule wood installation until corrections are made. Poor acclimation can promote excessive squeaks, cupping, finish cracks and board gapping. These conditions are not manufacturer but jobsite related.


A maximum of 4% differential in the moisture in the flooring and sub-floor is allowed for 2 ¼” wide flooring.  A 2% maximum differential is allowed for flooring wider than 2 ¼” (meter testing required).  If the differential is too high, continue acclimation process until these conditions are met.  Record all moisture measurements. Moisture issues are not manufacturer related.


  1. The installer is the final quality inspector.
  2. “Racking out” the floor or laying out each piece allows the installer to visually inspect the flooring for imperfections that can be cut out or adjustments made before installing.
  3. Defective boards if used should be set aside or relocated to hidden places (such as a closet) by the installer.  If a board has an unacceptable defect (hole, split, crack, etc.) the installer should cut it out or set it aside.
  4. Generally, a minimum of 5% should be added to the actual square footage needed as an allowance for cutting waste in domestic woods and 8-10% for exotics. Some species like Australian Cypress may have a larger expected “scrap” ratio due to the characteristics of the species. Replace these boards using the added 5 – 10% of material ordered for the job. If you have a higher than average scrap rate and are unable to complete your installation, take samples to the store nearest you. Bellawood liability is limited to replacement of defective material only in excess of 5% (excluding the cutting allowance).
  5. The use of stain, touch-up pen or filler stick for correction during installation is accepted as normal procedure.
  6. “Repairs” – Always keep a partial box from your initial installation for any future repairs or board replacement.
  7. “Touch-up markers” or color filler sticks used for correcting nicks or chips during and after pre-finished wood installation is a normal procedure.


Many of the 3/4˝ Exotics  such as Blood wood, Brazilian cherry, walnut, teaks, etc. are very dense. These “iron woods” may need to be pre-drilled and hand nailed if nailing machines split the tongues or cause surface dimpling around each nail.  Test the nailing machine in good lighting to ensure the nailer is not damaging the flooring.  Thinner or lower profile exotic species can be brittle when nailed and is not a defect. Visit our “Flooring 101” for recommended nailers and fasteners for nailing 3/4˝, 1/2˝, 5/8˝, 3/8˝ and 5/16″ floors.

Board damage during installation is not manufacturer related.


Wood is a natural product so no two floor boards will be identical. Variations in appearance (grain, color, etc.) are completely normal. Many exotic floors will develop a richer, darker color (patina) as they age. This will develop evenly if you shift the rugs and furniture around and should be complete within approximately 6 – 8 months. There are no known values set for this patina process.Patina or color change in wood is not manufacturer related.


Wood floors are not waterproof. Our wood floors must be cleaned with products designed for water-based urethane finishes.  Do not wax or flood mop pre-finished floors.  Complete instructions for cleaning hardwood, corks and laminates can be found on the website.


This can be caused by normal environmental expansion and contraction cycles and may be minimized by maintaining the above recommended indoor air relative humidity and temperature. Minor squeaks may be quieted by a sprinkle of baby power into the board’s edge at the squeak. A major board squeak can often be fixed by applying screws from under the sub-flooring. Squeaks are not manufacturer related.

We appreciate your business and hope that you enjoy your new floor!

Lumber Liquidators endorses established installation practices as set out by The National Wood Flooring Association, NWFA


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