7 Types of Nails Used for Hardwood Flooring

Nails or staples are used in hardwood flooring for many reasons, but mostly to secure and mend the woods with one another. There are different types of nails and staples used for different purposes and used on different floors. We should follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for knowing the proper use and size of nails or staples for specific flooring. 

Types of Nails/Staples For Flooring

Every woodworker keeps nails and staples in his bag or box in his years of workmanship. Because these are basic instruments needed for their job. Every nail or staple and its necessity vary from one another in size and shape. 

Nails or staples used for flooring needs special requirements to set up any up-to-date hardwood flooring. The types of Nails Used for Hardwood Flooring are given below-

Cleat Nails

The size of the nails and the thickness of the floor should be of the same size. For example- 1-1/2″ long cleat nails should be used while setting up 1/2″ thick wood flooring. If the floor is 3/4″ solid wood flooring over a wood subfloor with joists, then 2″ long cleat should be used. 

Flooring staples

According to the manufacturer’s recommendation, to install thinner 1/2″ thick solid wood floors, 18 GA 1-1/2″, long staples should be used. If the plywood is applied directly over a concrete slab about 3/4″ in thickness, 15 GA 1-3/4″ long staples should be used while installing that wood flooring. This way, the staple can not go over the plywood. 


High Pro FS-50 Pneumatic Flooring Stapler is the best and mostly used while installing any wood or plywood floor. According to the manufacturer’s recommendation, 18 GA 1-1/2″ long staples are used while installing thinner 1/2″ thick, dense wood flooring. 

While installing 3/4″ solid wood flooring, 15 GA 1-3/4″ long staples are perfect to use for the floor. If 3/4″ in size plywood is set up right over a concrete slab, the same size staples should be used. Thus, the staple will not go through the 3/4″ plywood. 

And if the measurement is 3/4″ solid wood flooring over a wood subfloor with floor joists, 15 GA 2″ long staples is perfect to use. 

These are the main three types of nails used for Hardwood Flooring. There are also other types of nails that are used in hardboard flooring and other tasks as well. For example- 

Square-Cut Nails

Cut from steel plates, these nails are handmade. The nail is just like its name. The nail has a square shank that’s wider near the head. There are also spills all the way to the tip.

These nails go through the corrugated end of the board by hand. It does not contain a flooring nailer. Even with good skills, this method is time-consuming. Still, it is seen in manufacturers in the business. It is also comparatively expensive. The perfect measurement for the nail length is 1 1/2-inch nail for 1/2-inch-thick flooring and 1 3/4-inch nail for 3/4-inch-thick flooring.

Finishing Nails

Wooden boards and the walls can’t reach the required appearance by nailing, although using the most contemporary installation kit. Through the top of the boards, the nails go straight down into the subfloor. The depressions of nail heads should be filled with wood putty before sealing the floor. The measurement for this job should be of 8D or 8-penny. The nail holes must be predrilled. This will sidestep split ends of the wood boards. Just like the square-cut nails, finishing nails are also used for manual installation without a nailer. 

Flooring Nailer Fasteners

These types of nailers are manual. They make the work of installing a hardwood floor much easier than before. Flooring nailer fasteners are designed with the perfect angle for vizor-driving fasteners. It goes through the indented end of the board. This travels all the way to the subfloor. Some of these types of nailers function with an activation trigger. Some work by beating the device with a tack hammer

Rose-Head Nails

The specialty of Rose-Head nails is that it can give a rustic appearance. These are usually used in the white and light-colored board as they are meant to be seen.

The decorative look of these types of nails gives it a fancy and colonial look. It is to be remembered that these nails can be used in any flooring with straight-cut ends. This means the boards should not interlock tongues. The grooves of the board must be face-nailed through the entire floor. Different manufacturers vary the design of the nail heads. The nails should be predrilled to avoid split ends on the board or flooring


Every nailing job is different from one another. For setting up hardwood flooring, it is essential to know the uses and the types of nails and staples used for flooring. Even there is tons of information about it on the internet. It is best to get professional advice and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. 

Jerry Jhonson

Jerry Johnson is a tech & tool geek who loves to talk, discuss and review different tools used for our day to day life. All the tools reviews and guides described in this site are completely from his personal experience and own observations.