Jay's Floor - 4 of 8 - Feelin' Groovey


When you are installing tongue and groove flooring, regardless if you purchased it at the local discount flooring outlet or a large hardware chain, it is important to know a couple of things.  Like:

1.  Which is the tongue and which is the groove.  And...

2.  Which side to drive the nail through. 

I like to look for the obvious.  First, may I recommend a nearby mirror.  Look at your tongue.  You can borrow Pythagoras's glasses if you need a close up.

That thing sticking out is the tongue.  Now look at the flooring.

One side will have a groove.

One side will have a tongue.

The next thing you need to do is figure out how they fit together.

A special hardwood floor brad is driven  through the tongue and into the sub floor.  The brads are about 2" long.  They secure the flooring very well.

The next piece is tapped into place beside the first.  The tongue fits snugly into the groove and


the tongue from the first holds the groove of the second.  Then that second piece is nailed in the same fashion, holding it all tightly together.

It is a very secure system.  It is precisely manufactured.   It represents someone thinking out of the box and putting an idea into common practice.

You can see some of the flooring beneath the prop that I already laid.  It is tightly fit, side to side and end to end.

Speaking of the end, what do you do at the end next to the wall to snug the one piece up against the one before it?

There are various tools and techniques.

One would be with a flat nail remover, wood bender and Z-shaped metal thingey.

They can do damage not only to the flooring but also to the wall, unless you are very careful and experienced.

I found the tool to the right in a catalog.  I bought it anticipating this job. 

It is called a LAM HAMMER

To see it you might not know what it is or what it does.

I can tell you - it does it great!

You want to leave a small space between the flooring and the wall.  That allows for expansion and contraction, drying and humidity - it allows the wood to act like wood.  That gap also allows the fleas, ticks and assorted arachnids easier access to the interior space and to you and the animals, but that is another story altogether.

That small space will be hidden under the quarter-round shoe molding anyway, so it is not a problem to leave a gap there.

The Lam Hammer needs only 3/16th" between the floor and the wall board for the 90 degree flat end to fit. 

The white plastic circle holds the hammer's end at exactly 90 degrees and the rod parallel to the floor.  It damages nothing.

The yellow section is metal and slides back and forth against the nut.  That pulls the flooring away from the wall and snugs it up to the piece before it.

At the end the sections fit exactly together, no gaps.  And, I think it goes well with the pink.

If you look closely, you can see two brads through the tongue near the end of the flooring between the yellow striker and the end of the wood.  There is another brad just to the left of the handle.  Oh, obviously the Lam Hammer was used to snug the wood together BEFORE the floor was nailed into place...

There will be more tools in the posts to come.  Each is for a specific purpose and will be handy for the job at hand.

Yes, I gave Pythagoras back his glasses.

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Brian (not verified) | Fri, 09/14/2012 - 04:34

feeling groovey alright, that is the best picture I have yet seen today. Really excited for the hand work he is about to do.

Click here

jay | Sun, 09/05/2010 - 02:08

Yes, the flooring sat in the rooms for almost 2 weeks before I was able to start. That's some good acclimating!

You liked my 1/4" at the end? Good to hear... I have seen buckles in many places because the flooring wasn't spaced properly.

debbie gartner (not verified) | Sat, 09/04/2010 - 20:48

Hopefully, you also let the wood acclimate before starting. (I'm sure you did).

Oh, and so sad when do-it-yourselfers forget the 1/4" Happens most often w/ laminate jobs - I've had to fix a bunch. (or at least my guys have).

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Jay performs inspections Monday through Saturday, throughout Northern Virginia, from his office in Bristow to Leesburg and Centreville, to Great Falls and Vienna and everywhere in between!