Installing hardwood floors can be challenging, especially when it’s your first time and you don’t have the right skills to do it. Generally, you can install hardwood floors through the glue-down or nail-down method.

The decision on which of the two methods to choose depends on your DIY and professional skills. Let’s talk about the pros and cons of each method and the step-by-step procedure to help you identify which method suits you.


How Gluing Hardwood Floor Works

The glue-down method is ideal for solid wood or concrete floors where the surface is solid, and glue can easily bond to the material. Gluing hardwood floor involves an adhesive, bonding agent, and glue directly applied on the subfloor before laying the floor. 

One of the things you need to ensure with the glue-down method is having no dampness or moisture in your subfloor. Another essential factor is the correct trowel; you must ensure that you use the appropriate trowel for your particular glue. 

If you don’t use the right trowel, your spread rate will not be accurate, compromising the new hardwood floor’s ability to adhere and stick to the subfloor. 


One of the most important advantages of the glue-down method is its stable installation. The glue elasticity allows your floors to contract and expand naturally regardless of the season. Other pros of using the glue-down method include the following:

  • Gives a solid feel to your floors
  • You will not hear any squeaking 
  • Most permanent among all installation methods. 


The following are disadvantages of gluing hardwood floors:

  • The need for extra preparation of the subfloor
  • It is very expensive because of extra labor costs

Steps In Gluing Hardwood Floors

You need the following materials for gluing hardwood floors:

  • Blue adhesive tape for painters
  • High-quality adhesive
  • Appropriate trowel
  • Concrete nails

Begin with the installation process when you have all the materials you need. Start with the longest wall to ensure the correct extension gap. Using your notched trowel, apply and spread the adhesive across the entire space in increments, around 1 square meter at a time. 

After applying the adhesive, place the hardwood floors above the adhesive and push the floor planks together. You don’t have to glue the floor planks because they are bonded to the subfloor already. To ensure that the boards will not move as you let the glue dry, you can use flooring straps to hold them in place.

How Nailing Hardwood Floor Works

The nailing installation fits solid wood and straightforwardly engineered flooring. However, this method is only recommended when the subfloor is made with wood. When the new hardwood floor is installed over plywood, you can lay down the flooring planks in any direction. 

On the other hand, the flooring plank should form a strict 90-degree angle to the old floor for existing floorboards to ensure stability. Doing this will also minimize the risk of buckling and warping.


One advantage of preferring the nail-down method is its cost-effectiveness. This method is also the fastest among all the installation methods. With nailing hardwood floors, when the floorboard is damaged, you can easily replace it without damaging and affecting the appearance of the floors.


A disadvantage of nailing hardwood floors is the loosening of the nails brought by seasonal expansions, leading to squeakiness. Another disadvantage is having extra tools, including the jamb saw, right nail gun, and router. 

Steps In Nailing Hardwood Floors

To get started with nailing hardwood floors, you need the following materials:

  • Saw
  • Nail punch and claw hammer
  • Measuring tape
  • Level and a leveling compound
  • Pry bar
  • Tapping block and a rubber mallet
  • Asphalt paper 
  • Nails
  • Flooring screws

To start with nailing down your hardwood floors, ensure that it has a minimum thickness of 18mm. The flooring planks should run perpendicular to the existing floorboards. Position the nail gun over the flooring plank’s edge where you can find the tongue.

Using your mallet, push the nail at an angle of 45 degrees to ensure that it’s completely hidden. Pushing the nail in also ensures that you have securely attached the flooring to its corresponding subfloor.

Why Proper Hardwood Flooring Installation Is Important

Being prepared is one of the keys to ensuring proper hardwood flooring installation. Consider these tips when you plan to install new hardwood floors for your properties.

DIY Or Hiring A Professional?

Whether hiring a professional or installing the hardwood floors yourself depends on your DIY skills. However, remember that nailing or gluing hardwood floors can be a challenging task, even when you’re an experienced DIYer. 

If you plan to hire a professional, it’s best to consult with your flooring retailer. Ask him to recommend any good professional flooring installer, so you’re assured that your hardwood floors will be properly installed. 

Do You Have The Tools And Knowledge For The Job?

Proper hardwood flooring installation requires the appropriate tools and knowledge for the job. You have to ensure that all your materials are complete and know what to do. Having inadequate tools will be an inconvenience and a hassle.

Installation Location

Knowing the location will help you decide on the material of choice for your hardwood because there is a wide selection of hardwood flooring materials to choose from. It also helps to know where you plan to install the hardwood floors to ensure that they go well with your room’s overall aesthetic and color palette. 

Glue or Nail? The Verdict

The decision on which method to choose between glue or nail depends on your DIY skills and your subfloor material. 

Generally, the glue-down method is best for concrete subfloors, while both glue and nail installation methods work well with wooden subfloors. 

When you decide to hire a professional, he can help you decide which method is more suitable for your hardwood floors. Nailing hardwood floors is also more suitable if you need to have your room back as soon as possible. 

Editorial Contributors
Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

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