Special Installation Precautions for Exotic Hardwood Flooring

October 18, 2010

Exotic hardwoods are becoming more and more popular with homeowners looking for truly unique hardwood flooring to a new sense of elegance and style to their homes. Apart from their beauty another great thing about some of this exotics is that they are simply so very hard. Species such as Stranded Bamboo, Brazilian Teak, and Brazilian Walnut rank at the very top of the Janka hardness scale.

While this is great from a durability point of view it does present a few extra challenges to those tasked with installing exotic hardwood floors. Such dense hardwoods are at risk for “dimpling” if certain precautions are not taken.

There are a number of factors that can cause an exotic hardwood to dimple during installation. These include:

· wide crown fasteners such as staples
· thick gage nails yield to more telegraphy
· tools with excessive or inconsistent force
· tools in contact with the front edge
· flooring hardness
· higher-gloss finishes enhance telegraphy
· air compressors running at high psi.

For years hardwood flooring installer have been using ¾ inch nailers such as 15½ gauge Staplers  and 16 gauge Cleat Nailers   but these are the very tools that will lead to face dimpling in these harder exotic woods.

So what tools should an installer be using to make sure this defect will not accidentally be introduced into the hardwood? According to the makers of two major brands of hardwood nailers, Primatech and Powernail, use a smaller fastener such as an 18 gauge cleat. The 18 gauge cleat is smaller in width and thickness resulting in less stress when fastening. Both companies do make an 18 gauge cleat nailer which their reps say are perfect for the job.

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