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Tuesday, April 2, 2013


NOTE:  This blog and photos may not be shared or reproduced without the express written consent of A Building We Shall Go!

Copyright 2013 A Building We Shall Go!
All rights reserved

The past few weeks have been full of planning, figuring, phoning, emailing and ciphering the process of laying the pallet wood flooring. 

We started putting the flooring boards down using a face nailer.
We borrowed the nailer from my Sissy and Brother-in-Law.
All we had to do was get the nails.
The problem with this face nailer is the shortest nail it will drive is 1 1/2 inch.
That is a tad bit long for the thickness of the pallet wood and the sub-floor.
Flower Boy was attempting to drive the nails at an angle.
The nails are just to long.
The head of the nails would fold over!
They would not counter sink!
Some would even break off!
Plus, the nailer was leaving marks on the wood.
It was frustrating Flower Boy driving them.
He was having a difficult time positioning the nailer and holding it into place, while he hit the nailer with the mallet to drive the nail.
It just wasn't working.
I said "There has to be a better way!  This is not 1970!  It shouldn't kill you to put this floor down!"
Feeling disheartened, we gave up for the night.
The next morning was a new day.
We both got on the phone, looking for the proper tool.
Flower Boy made calls to local companies, in hopes for me to go rent the tool for the evening.
No luck!
I got on the Internet and started calling.
We needed a tool that would surface nail a 1" cleat nail.
I wanted a pneumatic nailer to make Flower Boy's task to drive the nails easier.
The gentlemen there were most helpful.
They listened intently when I explained to them what we were doing.
Most people,
when told we are putting down the pallet wood,
are nay sayers and tell us the process will never work.
Not the Powernail folks!
They called us Pioneers!
Encouraging us to "Make a beautiful floor!"
They shared with us details about a 100+ year old floor in a Saranec Lake, New York train station.
This floor is a maple floor that has been top nailed with old square head nails.
They say it has endured heavy traffic and aged beautifully.
Adding, "The character of this floor grew on you and suddenly it was worth every top nail sunk into that floor."
One day, we may have to make a trip to that train station!
Powernail has been available over the phone and through email.
They didn't have a pneumatic nailer
They did have a face nailer that drives a 1" cleat nail.
They called it a dinosaur.

The gentlemen at Powernail connected me to Floor Mechanics.
Powernail couldn't sell direct to us because we are not a dealer or distributor.
Powernail went so far as to call Floor Mechanics telling them exactly what we needed, informing them I would be calling and having our order ready to ship when Floor Mechanics took our order.

I placed the call to Floor Mechanics.
When I said my name, Floor Mechanics was ready to place our order.
They just needed payment and shipping information.
Thursday, last week, our dinosaur arrived!

A HUGE THANK YOU goes out to John @ Powernail and Tara @ Floor Mechanics
as we pioneer our way to a beautiful floor!
Thank you for believing in us and working with us to make our vision come to life.
As we quote John,
"All the really good things we have in this country came from Pioneers,
so you are in great company!"

Copyright 2013 A Building We Shall Go!
All rights reserved


  1. Anonymous2/08/2014

    was this nailer expensive? I am trying to get things ready for when I begin this. anything that I can get way before hand would be great.

    1. Our Dinosaur was the most expensive tool of the project.

  2. What model is it? I'm laying them on 2000 sq ft --- my first 500 ft is all prepped and nearly ready to lay.

    1. Jake,
      We would suggest you contact the John at PowerNail. The link to PowerNail is highlighted in the Pionering blog post. We are certain he will guide and direct you to the proper tool for your project.
      Please send us photos of your project. We would love to here of your experiences.
      Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.
      Make a beautiful floor! WE DID!!!

  3. Anonymous3/08/2014

    This is a great project and turned out beautifully. Can you tell me how you prepared the planks? I'm guessing you planed them so that they were all the same thickness, is that correct?

    1. There are several posts detailing each step taken in our processes. We have done a post that wraps all the processes together by linking back to the original posts. Does that make sense? HAHA!! Check out "The Art Of Pallet Wood Flooring". It may answer some of your questions. Although we did plane the planks, we did not plane them all the same thickness. We wanted the variation and loved the look of it. Still Do! We wouldn't have changed a single step in our process!

  4. We so want to do this but could we screw the boards in instead? We also have to use a sub board (concrete floors) how did you adhere the sub floor to the concrete?

    1. Michelle,
      I guess you could screw the planks down. In my opinion it would look like a deck. I personally wouldn't like the look of the screws. The cleat nail is a narrow thin straight nail. The head looks more like a staple. It imbeds into the plank and can't be seen. It is a much cleaner look than screws.
      We used industrial adhesive and a hilti tool to adhere the sub floor to the concrete.
      Thanks for stopping by.
      Rancher Girl

  5. Have you had problems with the boards bowing up due to the fact that the house temperature varies throughout the year? (i.e. hot-cold)

    1. Everett,
      We have not experienced that problem. Actually, we haven't experienced a single problem with our floor.
      It is as beautiful today as it was the day we completed it.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Kendra6/27/2014

    My husband is concerned about nails loosening and popping out and wants to tongue and groove ours. I think that sounds like a lot of extra work and I like the nails! Is this a concern of yours at all? Why/why not? Thanks!

    1. Kendra,
      As stated in the Pioneering post, the folks at Power Nail told us about a 100 year old top nailed floor in a NY train station that they helped refinish. We put our floor down just as they instructed. We haven't had any nails loosen or pop up. All our boards are as tight as the day we laid them. We LOVE the top nail look! It fits our ranch style life. That is why we didn't even consider tongue and groove.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Do you have a picture of the complete floor?

    1. Isabel,
      Photos of the floor are on "The Art Of Pallet Wood Flooring" post.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Mind if i ask why you used Cleat nails instead of a nail gun? Was it personal preference or is there a reason for those specific nails. I would love to do this in our house but i am afraid the added height may not transition well with our pre-existing tile. If there is any way to cut the height down, i would love to do it.

    1. Jordan,
      The cleat nails were used because they were the nails that fit the nailer. At the time we installed the floor, there were no top nail pneumatic nailers on the market. We wanted to top nail our floor. We like the look and are very happy with our choice.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Were the nails put in cross-grain or with grain. Beautiful pictures but to wide for this detail. Was there any problem with the nails causing boards to split. Toung and grove would be too much extra work. Plus the toop nails on the "distressed" pallet wood looks more correct.

    1. GrandPaw LEW,
      We placed the nails in the cross grain of the planks. On some boards there was splitting. In this case, we removed the plank and placed in a new one. Because of this, there were many many planks that weren't used. There were also many that were unused because of twisting, warping and bowing of the planks.
      We love the look of the top nail!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Could you use a top nail pneumatic nail gun with the planks? Would it go through the planks?

    1. Melanie,
      When we did our floor, there was no top mail pneumatic nailer on the market. This is why we had to go with the manual one.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Have you had any issue with buckling?
    Without tongue and groove I’m concerned the boards may pop up. Did you leave any spacing between boards?

    1. Billingsley's,
      We have had no issues with buckling. We were very selective in our board choices. We did not use those that were warped, twisted, buckled, or bowed. All boards are top nailed, as was done in pioneering days. We left no spaces between the boards, as it took 3 of us to lay the floor and secure each board was tight and butt jointed to the next, on all sides and ends. Lastly, I will add, the floor looks as fabulous today, as it did the day we completed it. I clean in with quality hardwood floor cleaner and wax as needed.
      Thanks for stopping by!