Hardwood Flooring Hammer: Know How To Use

hardwood flooring hammer

We often think and discuss installing hardwood flooring in an interior. We talk about its aesthetic value and design ideas. But what we often miss out on is learning how to install it. Learning to install hardwood flooring is crucial as you need to learn to use certain tools and operate them correctly. 

The first few tools you need to install hardwood flooring includes hardwood flooring hammer or mallet, and floor nailer. The combination of these two tools makes the installation of hardwood planks effective. Now if you are doing it by yourself, you have to learn to use these tools properly. Besides knowing the process of using, you should also note down a few more factors that I will be mentioning. 

So before you adorn your house or office with hardwood flooring, learn about hardwood flooring hammers. And to help you out with this, I am here writing everything about flooring hammers. From years of experience and research, I have learned a lot and will be pouring all my knowledge here. 

So get ready guys!

3 Steps To Install Hardwood Flooring Hammer: 

A hardwood flooring hammer is usually named a mallet. The hammer usually has two sides-  one side is made of rubber (soft) and the other side of the hammer is metallic (hard). You would need both sides of the flooring hammer to install the hardwood planks. 

Along with the flooring hammer, you would also use a flooring nailer. The nailer is the main equipment that attaches the planks to each other. Though the term is called ‘nailing’, it doesn’t require any nails. Instead, it uses cleats to link one plank to the other plank. Therefore, for the entire process, you would need a hardwood flooring hammer or mallet and a flooring nailer. 

Now let’s start with the process. Here are the 3 steps of using the hardwood flooring hammer to install hardwood planks: 

Step 1: Choose The Right Adapter Plate And Cleat Size: 

The flooring nailer uses an adapter plate and cleat to install the hardwood planks on a surface. Now, these adapter plates and cleats vary in size. As different hardwood planks have different thicknesses, the size of the adapter plate and cleat vary too.

Selecting the right size of adapter plate and cleat, therefore, is necessary. To do so, you need to measure the thickness of the hardwood plank. According to the thickness, you have to choose the adapter plate and cleat size.

After you select the right ones, attach the adapter plate to the head of the floor nailer. Next, load the nailer magazine with the cleats. 

Tips: Ensure that the rubber bumps it up before you insert the air hose. Load the cleats well before you start. 

Step 2: Connect And Set The Air Compressor: 

The flooring nailer works when an air hose is connected to one end of the nailer. The air hose acts as an air compressor that drives the force on the cleats to attach to the hardwood planks. 

Connect the air compressor or hose to the floor nailer. Make the connection tight enough so that the air doesn’t leak out of the connection point. After you connect the air hose to the flooring nailer, you have to adjust the pressure.

To do that, monitor the pressure in the pressure gauge. You can read the manual of the flooring nailer to learn how to adjust the pressure as different devices have different setting systems. 

Step 3: Use The Flooring Nailer And Hammer: 

Before you start using the flooring nailer, you have a task with the hammer. So, the hammer has two parts; the softer part is made of rubber, and the harder side is metallic. So first, you have to use the softer side of the hammer and then the harder side. 

First, place one plank across the edge of the wall. Install the next plank just beside it. Now to attach these planks and make them tight across the wall, hit the outer edge of the plank with the rubber end of the hammer. Hit the plank twice so that it tightly fits the corners of the walls. You need to do this for all the planks you install on the floor. 

Now comes the part of using the flooring nailer. Remember that the first row of the plank doesn’t require the flooring nailer. Use the soft part of the hammer to hit the first row of planks and start operating the nailer from the second row of planks. 

Across the first plank of the second row, position the adapter foot of the nailer on the edge of the plank across the tongue. Fit it snugly and notice that it is placed correctly. As you do this, hit the actuator of the floor nailer to let the cleat come out and fix across the tongue of the plank. The cleat will be placed at a 45-degree angle along the plank. And nailing the first plank of the second row is done. 

Repeat this process for all the planks in each row and stop as you reach the other end of the floor. In the last row, you have to use the rubber part of the hardwood flooring hammer, hit the planks to let them tightly fixed to the edges of the wall. 

And yes, that is it. You are done with installing the planks using the hardwood flooring hammer and flooring nailer. 

Types Of Hardwood Flooring Hammer: 2 Available Types:

Hardwood flooring hammers are available in two types. These two types have different purposes and some pros and cons. So before you select the hardwood flooring hammer, you should know about the types. Only then you can make the right decision. 

The two types of hardwood flooring hammers are given below along with the pros and cons: 

1. Rubber Flooring Hammer:

Rubber flooring hammers are of two types: one has a rubber head only with a wooden handle and the other one has a metallic body with rubber padding. Basically, the head is made of soft and bouncy rubber pads in this type of hammer.

Caution! Rubber flooring hammers are bouncy. As you hit it hard on the planks, it may bounce back immediately. So you should maintain a safe distance or hold the handle tightly so that it can’t bounce much and hit your face. 

The rubber flooring hammer is used to hit the planks gently to attach one to another firm. Especially in the starting and ending row of planks, this hammer is necessary. You can choose either the one with a single rubber head or the one having one hard and one soft head. The second one is better according to me as you can use the metallic part for other activities. 

Here are the pros and cons of using a rubber flooring hammer: 

Pros Of Rubber Flooring HammerCons Of Rubber Flooring Hammer
Works gently on surfaces without leaving scratches or damagesOnly a few may leave a damage or scratch mark
Used for various purposesBounces back if not handled firmly and tactfully
Available in two types, various weights, and sizesThe rubber layer can become perforated and crack after rough usage

In my opinion, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. If you use a rubber flooring hammer carefully, you can get excellent benefits and outcomes. Using it with patience can help you get the best result. 

2. Wooden Flooring Hammer:

For hitting the flooring nailer and using a chisel during the installation, you would like to use a wooden flooring hammer rather than metallic ones. As wooden hammers have rounded edges, it doesn’t damage the wooden plank surface. But metallic hammers would surely leave some marks on the wooden plank. 

While driving a chisel or using the flooring nailer, you may need a harder hammer than the rubber hammer. This is when you would need the wooden flooring hammer. 

Though wooden flooring hammers are used for expert wooden works like carving and shaping, you can have one for installing the hardwood planks on the flooring. However, this is not a mandatory flooring hammer to keep if you have a flooring nailer. Tapping the nailer can be done with the metallic end of the rubber hammer too. 

Here are the pros and cons of using a wooden flooring hammer: 

Pros Of Wooden Flooring HammerCons Of Wooden Flooring Hammer
Doesn’t show any damage to the wooden planksMay leave damages if used inappropriately
Has better force and offer powerful strikesUses of this hammer are limited 

My observation says that keeping a rubber flooring hammer with two ends (one rubber end and one metallic end) is the best option for installing wooden planks. A wooden hammer would just add another tool to your stock.

Buy it only if you want it for other tasks. Otherwise, for plank installation, having a rubber flooring hammer is enough. 

Related Questions About Hardwood Flooring Hammer:

How Much Does Hardwood Flooring Hammer And Nailer Cost? 

Hardwood flooring nailers generally come with a combination of the flooring hammer or mallet. You should go for buying these combos as you get all the tools together at an affordable price. 

A combo of hardwood flooring hammer and nailer costs between $150 to $250. The variation stays due to the size of the nailer and hammer, brand differences, weight, and specifications. In fact, there are different nailers and hammers specialized for different types of wooden planks.

You can get the combo at higher prices too. But the range mentioned is enough to get a good quality nailer and hammer package for installing hardwood planks. 

What Type Of Nailer And Hammer Is Suitable For Hardwood Flooring? 

For fast and effective installation of hardwood planks, you should use a pneumatic flooring nail gun along with a stapler. Instead of the stapler, you can use a rubber hardwood flooring hammer too. 

The pneumatic flooring nailer is designed to fit the tongues of the wooden planks. Along with the rubber hammer, the installation becomes easier and accurate. If you get to buy the right size of cleat and adapter plate, a pneumatic flooring nailer and the rubber mallet are the best tools for installing hardwood flooring. They are suitable for DIY hardwood installation as they are quite easy to operate if you know the process. 

How Many Strokes Of Hammer Are Needed For Hardwood Plank Installation? 

Flooring hammers are required two times during the installation. First, when you install the first and last row of planks and next to hit the flooring nailer while nailing the planks to the subfloor. 

Generally in both cases, you should give two strikes to each plank. While installing the first and last row of planks across the walls, hit the planks two times. Think of the plank in three sections and hit the plank across the first and third lines. Next, you will install the middle rows of planks.

Here also, you would use the floor nailer and hit the hammer two times. Therefore, two strokes of the hammer are enough to install one hardwood plank. 

How Far Apart Should You Nail A Plank With The Hammer? 

Maintaining a minimum distance from one nailing point to the other is needed. This not only saves the cleats but also makes the installation accurate and flawless. 

Ideally, you should leave 10 to 12 inches of gap between one nailing point to the other. Though the rule of nailing would depend on the length and grade of the plank, a gap of 10 to 12 inches is a general rule. Maintaining this rule would make you place two nails or cleats in each plank. That is enough for one plank to stay in place. 


Last but not least, choose the hardwood flooring hammer that is compatible with the type of plank you are using. You may consult an expert to choose the nailer and hammer so that you don’t end up damaging the planks. 

To operate the devices properly, go through the article once again and note down the steps. And congo! You can now do it all by yourself!

Jahidul Alam

Hello dear! This is Jahidul Alam. I am the admin of this Tidy Floor. I have been in the floor cleaning business for the last 20 years. My business is all about ensuring affordable flooring cleaning services for Americans.

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