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Should You Glue Or Nail Engineered Hardwood?

Many people devote a significant amount of time choosing the ideal hardwood flooring. However, the installation process should also be carefully considered. Gluing and nailing are the two most popular installation methods. We’ve researched everything you need to know to help you decide which method is ideal for your engineered hardwood.

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If you are looking for a cost-effective and fast technique, then nailing is for you. This method cannot be used on your engineered hardwood if your subfloor is not wood. However, if you want something stable and permanent, then go with glue. Also, gluing installations are applicable to all kinds of subfloors.

In this article, we will examine the numerous features, benefits, and drawbacks of the various installation methods to assist you in choosing the best approach for your home. There's so much more waiting for you to learn. So, continue reading!

Driftwood Eucalyptus Engineered Hardwood, Should You Glue Or Nail Engineered Hardwood?

Engineered Hardwood Flooring Construction

Any hardwood floor is a good investment since it gives your home a natural, timeless look while also providing warmth and elegance. Engineered hardwood flooring is a great alternative to solid hardwood flooring since it has more dimensional strength. 

Engineered hardwood is made up of numerous layers of wood products that have been thoroughly treated. The topmost layer on display is actually a thin veneer of a wood slice. It could be dark, lustrous mahogany or a light, knotty pine.

Following are the advantages and disadvantages of engineered hardwood flooring:

Advantages

  • Engineered hardwood is cheaper than solid hardwood.
  • Installation is frequently faster, easier, and less expensive.
  • It is DIY-friendly.
  • Once placed, it's hard to discern the difference between this and solid wood flooring.
  • Topped with a genuine wood layer (unlike laminate flooring).
  • It is more resistant to changes in temperature and humidity.
  • Because it is a stable product, it may be fitted in a variety of ways to meet your needs and preferences, such as loosely over an underlay.
  • Underfloor heating compatibility.
  • Wood species, styles, colors, finishes, and plank widths are all available.
  • If needed, sanding and refinishing the top layer are possible.

Disadvantages

  • Some engineered wood products can’t be refinished.
  • It can be scratched and dented.
  • Reduces your floor’s lifespan.
  • It is not waterproof.
  • It isn’t entirely moisture-proof.
  • Low-quality engineered wood can off-gas volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Low-quality products can wear out quickly.

Pros and Cons of Nailing and Glue On Engineered Hardwoods

Engineered wood flooring is put in a variety of ways. Of course, each method has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. These advantages and disadvantages should be addressed while determining which method is best for your home and what will provide the best long-term results.

Nailing  

Wood floor installing with hydraulic nail gun in home.

Pros 

This is the most typical way to lay a hardwood floor. Use this method if you have a wooden or plywood subfloor. Blindly nailed nails are slanted at 45 degrees and nailed through the tongue. The tongue refers to the projecting section of the wood planks that fits into the adjacent board's groove.

As a result, once the installation is complete, it is practically unnoticeable. Nailing down your hardwood floors offers a few advantages, including being the most cost-effective and fastest technique. 

Another advantage of nailing rather than gluing hardwood floors is that if one floorboard is broken, it can be simply changed without altering the overall appearance of the floor.

Cons

However, there are several significant disadvantages to this method. That includes the possibility of loosening nails over time as a result of seasonal expansion, causing squeakiness. 

This technique of installation cannot be used if you do not have a wooden subfloor. Other disadvantages include the need for additional tools such as the correct sort of nail gun, jamb saw, and router.

Gluing

worker apply adhesive for 3 layer parquet flooring

Pros

One way of installation is to glue down your wood flooring, which means that the floor planks are bonded to the subfloor with a bonding agent or adhesive. This is another common installation method for engineered wood flooring. It is usually preferred due to its stability.

This means that as you walk across it, there will be no shifting under your feet, making the floor feel stronger underfoot and generating no (or very little) creaking sounds.

Unlike nailing wood flooring, glued-down wood flooring may be installed on any type of subfloor, no matter how uneven, so if you know this is a problem in your home, it's best to be safe and glue the planks down.

Cons

The installation technique is the only major downside of glued-down wood flooring.

It’s intrinsically more time-consuming and costly than nailing wood flooring because ability and knowledge are required, which means the need to hire an expert.

It can become a little messy if you don't have any prior experience, so it's best to leave it to the professionals. This is not the one for you if you prefer a more straightforward DIY installation approach.

Because glued-down wood flooring is considered a permanent fix, removing it to address a problem like a leak or a mold can be more costly and time-consuming.

Engineered Hardwood Installation: Nail Vs. Glue

Zebu silver cowhide leather and hair details with brown engineered hardwood floor

Nail Wood Flooring Installation

Installing engineered wood flooring with nails is a simple process that is only recommended if you have a wood subfloor. It doesn't matter which way you lay the planks when building a new floor over plywood. 

If you're nailing down a new floor over an old floor, the new floor's planks must be at a 90-degree angle to the current floor. This is done to maintain stability and prevent warping or buckling. When considering nail-down installation, keep the following in mind:

  • As with any installation, make sure you provide a 10-15mm expansion gap all the way around the room.
  • Both the first and last rows should be secured 15 millimeters from the board's edge with a nail from the top.
  • After you've laid your first row of boards and secured them from the top, nail succeeding boards at a 45-degree angle just above the tongue.
  • As instructed above, fix the boards on the last row from the top.

For an actual demonstration, a video from YouTube is shown below.

Glue Wood Flooring Installation

Glue down is a method of installing engineered floors that requires applying glue, bonding agent, or adhesive to your subfloor before laying your floor. It is a great installation method for concrete or wood subfloors, as well as any other solid surface where the glue may easily bond. 

If you choose this form of installation, ensure your subfloor is free of moisture. If you are concerned about dampness, we recommend installing a two-part epoxy damp proof barrier to ensure that no residual dampness rises into your new floor and causes damage. 

When considering glue-down installation, keep the following in mind:

  • You should begin applying your adhesive after you have properly prepped your subfloor. Applying the glue in small portions at a time is important. Starting at the corner of the room furthest away from the door, apply the glue in a crisscross pattern.
  • Allow for a 10-15 millimeter expansion margin all around your room, as you would with any other fitting procedure.
  • Slide your first board into place, tongue facing into the room. Note: you do not need to glue the tongue and groove in this style of installation.
  • Use a tapping board to tap the first row of boards into place. Continue until the entire room is finished. It's possible that the final row of boards will need to be cut to fit.

For an actual demonstration, a video from YouTube is shown below.

Important Considerations In Installation Methods

 The following are some significant considerations to consider while choosing the best hardwood flooring installation method:

Aesthetics

Depending on the installation technique you choose, there is a small change in appearance, feel, and sound the moment the hardwood is done installing. Many people prefer the look of the free-flowing floor.

Price

When choosing one of the above-mentioned solutions, keep in mind your installation budget. The majority of the cost estimation is based on labor and the time required to complete the project. The cost is also influenced by the cost of the materials and the flooring tools required. 

The cheapest way is usually nailing, but the subfloor can only be wood. The most expensive is gluing, which is calculated based on the glue kind and total square footage.

Subfloor

Certain subfloors can handle any installation method, but this might also limit your options. Any subfloor other than plywood or wood cannot be nailed down. 

Any subfloor can be glued down, but it is preferable to consult an expert for the best approach based on the subfloor you have and its condition.

Home Type

There are some laws and limits that apply to certain home kinds, especially if you live in a condo, apartment, or other sorts of a housing complex. Soundproofing regulations and official permissions must be followed, which lengthens the process and limits your options.

Wrapping Things Up

Driftwood Eucalyptus Engineered Hardwood, Should You Glue Or Nail Engineered Hardwood?

Whether gluing or nailing your engineered hardwood. The ideal option for you depends on your specific requirements, budget, and priorities. Apart from that, follow our recommendations to avoid any installation mistakes. Purchase the highest quality products to ensure that your project is flawless.

Have you found this article to be useful? If so, take a look at these helpful articles below.

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