Staple Down Hardwood Flooring Technique
One of the newest methods of laying hardwood floors, the staple down technique, is gaining more and more ground on the interior design market due to the ease with which it can be installed and the fast cure time it requires.
While you would have to wait for up to a week after finishing the installation with other methods in order to start using the hardwood floor, with the staple down, you only need to let the new floor settle in for a day! So basically, you start work this morning and by tomorrow evening you can already move your furniture on the floor and everything will work out fine.
One of the advantages of flooring hardwood installation using the staple down is that you can use solid hardwood, which is thicker and can hold weight and heat better than engineered hardwood.
Tools and Accessories
Since the staple down method of installing hardwood flooring is not a lot different than the nail down, the tools and accessories used are pretty much the same, except for, obviously, the staples and the staple gun that replace the nails and nailer:
- Carpenter’s crayon – Use this to draw the guidelines you’ll cut the panels over so that they can fit at the end of each floor row. You will also have to mark cuts in the panels that need to be cut so that they fit around obstacles such as radiators, doorsteps and so forth.
- Rubber mallet – The rubber mallet will be used to make small adjustments to the connecting panels, as well as to make sure they’re fixed right into one another. Thread softly, as you can easily ruin an entire row if you’re not gentle when using the mallet on the ends of the panels.
- Saw – You’ll need a saw for cutting panels to fit perfectly, based on the guidelines you trace with the carpenter’s crayon. Also, you can use circular saw or jigsaw for the task.
- Claw hammer – Whenever you can’t use the mallet to fix panels into the connecting joints, because you’re blocked by a wall for example, you can use the claw hammer as a replacement tool.
- Cutter knife – Cutting out the panels for small adjustments as well as many other issues will have you reaching for the cutter knife.
- Staples – This will be your main method of fixing panels to the ground and to the wall strips, instead of nails. Acquiring solid staples is a must.
- Staple gun – Unless you want to somehow push the staples into the wood and plastic with your bare hands, you’d best get a staple gun to do the dirty work for you.
- Broom, dust bin, clean, soft cloth – These will be your clean up tools. Use them every once in a while to get rid of the excess wood and saw dust and at the end, when it’s time to wrap up your new hardwood floor.
Related – All sorts of power tools guide
Just like with most other methods used in do it yourself hardwood floors, surface preparation is key when it comes to staple down floors as well.
If you get a bumpy ground, or a ground base that’s not level, installing the hardwood accurately will be hard and in the long run, it could suffer some major setbacks. Try to cut down any bumps on the floor, or patch up holes before actually starting to install the hardwood floor.
You’ll also want your ground to be as clean as possible before installing the hardwood flooring. Broom the place up for dust and make sure that there are no larger pieces of wood or rock lying around, because if you place your floor above them, they can damage it in the long run.
Last but not least: if possible, pick out the panels for the first row. Try to get the straightest, most solid panels to go in the first row, because that is really your foundation for the rest of the floor. If the first row isn’t well fixed and solid, the rest of the rows will be shaky as well.
Related – Floating Hardwood Floor
Staple Down Hardwood Flooring – Step by Step Instructions
- First off, you need to place your floor liner or substrate into position on the area you’re planning to start laying the floor on. You can do so around the entire room space, or piece by piece, as you work your way through laying the floor.
- Place your first hardwood panel and fix it in the corner, while making sure it’s positioned with the groove edges towards the wall. Choose a side of the room that is as straight as possible and try to avoid any built in appliances such as radiators.
- It will be a lot easier to work around those later on, when you already have a couple of rows of hardwood laid down.
- Connect your first to panels and fix them using the mallet. Slowly hit the new panel on the end in order to settle it in the connecting joint with the first one but make sure you don’t go too far and push their surfaces onto one another.
- They can easily burst upwards if their surfaces are pushed in together and this creates a rather visible and unpleasant effect. You could replace the panel if that happens, but it will still be a waste of money and time.
- Staple the panels down thoroughly. Just like if you were using nails, try not to go too close to the edge of the panels, because you risk causing cracks in them. Make sure the staples are in at around 1 inch (at least) from each edge.
- Continue with the first row and cut the last piece so that it fits the remaining distance.
- In the off chance that the panels fit in perfectly and you don’t have to cut the last one (that’s really unlucky to be honest), you can still create the alternating edge pattern you’re looking for if you cut the first piece in the next row in half and use it as a starting point.
- In case you did have to cut the last piece in the first row, start the next one with the leftover piece from the last panel that you cut.
- From now on, you will need to be careful not only that the panels connect perfectly vertically, but also horizontally, so use your mallet sideways to press the new row to the first one.
- Again, you should be gentle about it, although it’s a lot harder to screw up horizontally, since there’s more surface area connecting here, thus making it harder to break down.
- If you reach an area that requires you to do heavy modifications to a panel so that it can fit, for example around radiators, doorsteps or some other obstacle you might be forced to avoid, place the panel across the area where it should sit and mark the points that you need to cut through.
Then, measure the depth of the obstacle you need to avoid and mark that on your panel before cutting it.
Related – Glue down Method
Not a lot of tips and tricks here, just the plain old broom, mop and soft cloth. One thing worth noting though, if you’re using a wet mop to clean up the dust and wood that has been sprinkled around on the floor while installing it, make sure you don’t let the water get in the wood, as it might get swollen up.
Instead, clean the water away with a towel, or some sponges. If you used adhesives on the connecting joints, a clean, soft cloth can help you rub it out of the floor and you’d best do it now, because if you let it dry up too hard, it will be extremely difficult to take it out without leaving a mark. Other than that, it’s really just your ordinary clean job.
Related – Nail down Technique
- Make sure the staples are not right off the edge of a panel, since they can easily damage edges when they get pushed in (besides they’re not very stable anyway)
- Don’t dig your staples too deep into the floor, it will affect stability, look like crap and potentially damage the floor
- Check each panel and each row after you’ve connected them. Even if you might fix them in perfectly, at some point, panels and rows might create small gaps in their connection joints, which are visible and aren’t very healthy for your hardwood floor either, so you need to close them in with your mallet or claw hammer.
- After finishing each row, walk around it to see if it’s comfortable and stable and if it doesn’t squeak. Obviously, you should do this after you already have 2 or more rows, because the first row can’t hold on its own.
Video Credit – Rempros
The staple down method definitely has its ups, but it also has some disadvantages that make it lose ground to other simple and equally efficient methods of installing hardwood flooring.