Can You Use A Brad Nailer For Hardwood Floors? [Know How]

A brad nailer is an essential tool for working on any wood without cracks or dents. Even DIYers list it as the best equipment for projects. But people are hesitant to apply the tool on floors because hardwood floorings are pretty sensitive. So, can you use a brad nailer for hardwood floors?

There is full support for using brad nailer on hardwood floors. It is considered one of the most suitable equipment for use, even on wooden floors. In this case, one should consider the wood type and thickness. However, the brad nailer works very well on ½” hardwood planks.

Using a brad nailer on hardwood surfaces involves some other factors. Therefore, this article will present everything.

5 Reasons Why You Use A Brad Nailer For Hardwood Floors:

Several important reasons it should be used instead of the traditional hammer. These factors will undoubtedly help a DIYer find the best solution.

1.To Keep The Floor Purely Decorative:

Wood surfaces enhance the beauty of any room. Tiny pins are driven into the planks to hold them in place or sometimes for repairs. When these are driven in with a traditional hammer or gun, they leave some scars that a brad gun never does. 

2.To Make The Joint Stronger:

When a DIYer joins planks together in stages, he applies some glue to each joint that holds the two planks together. In this case, delicate pins are often inserted with the help of a nailer in combination with glue. After the glue dries, the middle pin can hold the planks firmly.

3.To Prevent Contraction And Expansion Of The Floor:

Wood floors contract and expand over time. Delicate pins prevent unwanted shrinkage and expansion when embedded in boards. A gun is the only way to get the delicate pins into the wood. This can precisely control the movement of the planks without causing any damage.

4.To Save Time When Sanding Or Filing:

Because the brad nailer has a small head, it always leaves a less visible hole. Filling and sanding take considerably less time as the holes or wounds are not visible. Sometimes sanding is not even necessary. In this case, a DIYer can save his work time.

5.To Reduce Labor And Time For Wooden Floors:

People who want to install wooden surfaces in their homes usually seek the help of a professional. The brad gun allows for perfect and precise work. It also saves both labor costs and time.

10 Simple Procedure To Use A Brad Nailer For Hardwood Floors:

Every DIYer should know the correct process for using a brad nailer to install a hardwood plank. The durability of your floor also depends to a large extent on this. However, here is a complete procedure with some steps.

Step 1: Gather Necessary Supplies

You must gather some necessary tools to carry out the whole process properly. This will speed up the approach. The tools listed below will be sufficient for the entire job:

  • Brad nailer;
  • Nails;
  • Planks;
  • Tool oil;
  • Compressor;
  • Air hose;
  • Safety Glasses and gloves.

Step 2: Pick The Right Brad Nailer

Choosing the right tool is the most significant step. One has to remember that wooden flooring is a sensitive material. Therefore cordless pneumatic tools are the best option for this. According to the book “ Old-House Journal” (1), a pneumatic tool is usually designed for ¼-inch planks or subfloors.

Step 3: Take Safety Measures

Never compromise on safety while working with this tool. There is a possibility of serious injury if the hand slips too close to the tool while operating it. Also, do not forget to wear safety glasses.

Step 4: Prepare The Tool

Now, it is time to prepare the tool. Attach the air hose to it so that the machine can pressurize well. Also, add some oil to the bottom. Oil plays a significant role in keeping the machine running smoothly.

Step 5: Fill Out The Magazine

At this point, fill the magazine with the gun. Users should fill the magazine according to the capacity. But, the pins should not be short or overloaded. This may cause interruption of the work in the middle. 

Step 6: Choose Nails According To Floor Type

Hardwood surfaces and subfloors require different sizes of nails. If the subfloor is 3/4-inch, 1 ½ inch pins should be loaded in the magazine. Generally, the wooden surface is relatively thin, so use smaller pins. 

Step 7: Practice Before Apply Finally

One should do a trial run before using the tool on a hardwood surface as a beginner. Any wrong move or lack of confidence can ruin the precious wooden planks. Therefore, after practicing at least 1/2 time, go to the primary step. 

Step 8: Fire The Nails

Be sure to set the boards properly before firing the pins. Place the first plank as it rests about ½ inch from the wall. Now, pull the trigger after setting the tool in the right place. After each action, check that the pin is in place if it reaches the required depth. Place one pin every 12 to 16 inches. 

Step 9: Keep The Process As Usually

As installing wood floors is a long process, keep the firing going until the entire process is complete. Place each plank in turn and pin them together. Doing the same thing over and over will gradually make the step faster and more perfect. But the best idea is to insert the pins with the tool bent at a 45-degree angle.

Step 10: Be Careful About Low Nail

Users may often forget to check that there are enough pins in the magazine while work is in progress. The process may be interrupted if the magazine is empty. Therefore, keep attention on the indicator in the magazine. Because it shows when the pin is down and alerts the DIYer.

5 Additional Tips When Using Brad Nailer For Hardwood Floors:

People need to learn some tips with the procedure when using a brad gun for hardwood floors. These points help users to do the job perfectly and avoid probable mistakes. 

Tip 1: Using Right Nails

One has to choose the pin by judging the thickness of the wood. Pins smaller than the thickness of the board may not reach the correct depth. Also, longer pins can bypass the arch. So, be sure to use the right size pin.

Tip 2: Do Not Apply Pressure

When starting work with the tool, one should keep it to enter the pin easily into the blind spot. But never pressure. The brad gun pushes the pins in perfectly. So there is no need to apply extra pressure. 

Tip 3: Do Not Miss To Take Safety Measures

Precautionary measures are very significant before starting the process. During pinning, the hand may be injured if it unconsciously goes too close to the hand. Gloves will protect the hands from unwanted injuries. Do not forget to wear eyeglasses.

Tip 4: Avoid Accidental Starting

Users should never start the tool quickly because it can cause anything to happen accidentally. Especially those who are not professionals often make this mistake. Start slowly at first. You can increase the speed later.

Tip 5: Do Not Stay Out The Path

Placement of the pins requires an open line and distance to work. Lack of proper focus can get one off track. Note that the pins inserted by the brad gun are not easily detected. Therefore they are difficult to replace.

Related Questions:

What Type Of Brad Nailer Is Best For Hardwood Floors?

16 to 18-Gauge Brad Nailers are considered the most suitable for hardwood floors. The head of this tool is much thinner. As a result, it is capable of making delicate holes. A finder performs well in driving pins into a thin hardwood surface.

In addition, the 18-gauge tool consumes very little power, so it can accurately deal with thinner planks. A study shown in the book “Taunton’s Carpentry Complete: Expert Advice from Start to Finish” (2) perfectly leaves less noticeable holes in 5/8 inch and 2-inch planks.

Is It Ok To Use A Brad Nailer On Engineered Hardwood?

Using a brad nailer on engineered hardwoods is just as convenient as on regular wood. According to a study in the book “How Expert Guide to Hardwood Flooring” (3), the best way is nailing when planning to install it on a wooden subfloor.

Another benefit of using this tool on engineered hardwood surfaces is that they look more polished than other hardwoods. That is, it does not require sanding or filling. But, choosing the correct pins is also vital. 

Brad Nailer VS Finish Nailer: Which Is Better For Hardwood Floors?

Both finish nailer and brad nailer are considered suitable for hardwood floors from different points of view. But, brad nailers are most useful for thin hardwood. However, the finish gun is the most effective tool for thicker floors because it is relatively strong.

Meanwhile, the brad nailer is perfect for delicate work on the surface. Both tools have different capacity stories. DIYers choose the right tools according to their convenience and plank thickness.

How Far Apart Should You Nail Hardwood Flooring?

Users have to maintain proper distance when nailing hardwood floors. The spacing of the pins depends mainly on the type and thickness of the plank. Pins are usually spaced 6, 8, 10, or 12 inches apart. In this case, one must maintain a 6 to 8 inches distance for 2 to 3-inch wide planks.

For larger widths, the amount of distance may increase. However, following the manufacturer’s instructions is better because it tells the beginner the right way.

Final Verdict:

So now you may get the correct answer whether you can use a brad nailer for hardwood floors or not. But just knowing it is not enough. As a DIYer, you should know all the matters covered in different sections of the article.

Hopefully, everything is clear regarding the reasons, procedures, and tips for using this tool on hardwood floors. Also, glance at the manufacturer’s instructions at least once.


(1) Polson, M. E. (1999). Old-House Journal. Active Interest Media, Inc.

(2) Engel, A. (2011). Taunton’s Carpentry Complete: Expert Advice from Start to Finish (M. Miller & A. Giannini, Eds.). Taunton Press.

(3) Hagan, M. (n.d.). HowExpert Guide to Hardwood Flooring. HowExpert.

Masud Rana

This is Masud Rana. I run this blog. My Tools Guide is a blog where I share product reviews of different tools. Stay tuned to get more helpful articles!

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