Can You Use A Finish Nailer For Hardwood Floors? – A Complete Guideline

Yes, you can use a finish nailer for hardwood floors because it drives 1-4 inches (2.5- 10 centimeters) nails with 15 gauge, 16 gauge, 18 gauge, and 23 gauge diameters that hold the wood pieces together. It also has extra power to drive finish nails inside the hardwood precisely. Besides, you have the luxury to pick the nail lengths according to the depth of the hardwood floors.

Finish nailers are a versatile tool for installing baseboards, crown moldings, and floors. Using the brad nailer has taken its alternative place among some woodworkers. However, can you use a finish nailer for hardwood floors?

What are the benefits of using finish nailers for hardwood floors?

Let’s check some of the top benefits from here.

benefits of using finish nailers for hardwood floors

No additional tool is required

You don’t need to use any extra tools to install hardwood floors if you’re using a finish nailer. An additional tool like a nail set to countersink the nails isn’t required here. It can set the depth of nails on its own.

Along with this, you can easily put the nailer at critical angles. It has a magazine with multiple convenient angles. A no-mar pad is added with most of the finish nailer models. The nail gun is all you need to install a hardwood floor.

Extreme holding capacity

The used nail of a finish nailer is finish nails. These nails have small heads and large lengths. However, they’re constructed with a high holding capacity. This feature helps to attach the hardwood floors more accurately. Most importantly, they adhere to the surface of the hardwood better than a brad nail.

Due to their long size, they capture a large area inside the wood. As a result, the wood and the nail adhere to each other more consistently. Your hardwood floor gets strong enough due to using this kind of nailer as well as nails.

Nail availability

Nail availability is one of the mentionable big pluses for a finish nailer. Finish nails are available in most nail gun-selling shops. The 15-gauge, 16-gauge, 18-gauge, and 23-gauge finish nails are rarely found anywhere. Its nail size ranges from 1-inch to 4-inch (2.5- 10 centimeters)

So, the nail gun never suffers from the lack of nail availability. As this nail size is used in various projects, it’s a common type of nail. That’s why people call a finish nailer the versatile nailer and the finish nails the versatile nails.

Increase beauty

Though finish nails have slightly bigger heads than the brad nails, it’s passable. Finish nails aren’t easily visible after applying to the hardwood boards. Only its head is visible when it’s observed from a close view.

Hardwood floors don’t go with the bigger head nails like the roofing nails. The hardwood floor’s aestheticism will worsen if you use the bigger head nails. Using the finish nails is highly recommended to increase the beauty and effectiveness.

So you can easily use a finish nailer for hardwood floors.

We also have a complete guide for the best finish nailer suitable for hardwood floors. Check that out.

Can you use a flooring nailer instead of a finish nailer?

Yes, you can use a flooring nailer for hardwood floors. But, there are a few reasons you should prefer a finish nailer over a flooring nailer. Let’s check some factors influencing you to go for a finish nailer.

More holding capacity? 

A finish nailer uses 15-16 gauge nails to fire on the hardwood floors. On the flip side, a flooring nailer uses nails of 15.5-16 gauge. Generally, 16 to 18-gauge nails are used for hardwood floors using a flooring nailer. The size of the nail depends on the hardness of the floor, weather conditions, and others. Due to using large nails, finish nailers are a good choice.


A flooring nailer is more versatile than a finish nailer- that’s a big misconception. You can use a flooring nailer only for various flooring purposes. But, a finish nailer is good for a few more projects. Installing baseboard and crown molding, building cabinets, installing hardwood floors and many advantages will be provided by a finish nailer.

Nail availability

The finish nail’s availability is much higher than the flooring nails. Finish nailers use lengths ranging from 1-inch to 3 1/2-inch. Their diameter is 15 or 16 gauge. A flooring nailer shoots flooring nails of 1-1/2-inch to 2-inch length. Though both types of nails are available, the finish nails have a wide range of availability.

Should you use a 16 or 18-gauge nailer for the hardwood floor?

The higher the gauge number of the nail, the thinner the nails. You need to finalize the nail size depending on the condition of the hardwood floor. If the hardwood floor is in a wet area, go for a 16-gauge finish nailer. It’ll countersink 16-gauge finish nails to attach the woods perfectly.

Using an 18-gauge nailer is recommended when the hardwood floor isn’t large enough. If the wood condition is very hard, you must use thin nails. Otherwise, the nails can’t be placed on the hardwood perfectly and the floor will be shaky.

We also have a complete guideline for this. You can check it here.

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