Hardwood Floors: Cleat nails or staples?

This topic contains 15 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Matthew MRenes 3 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #11818

    When installing hardwood flooring if your going to use a mechanical fastener to hold the floor down you have two choices: cleat nails or staples.The question I often get asked is whats the difference? and What’s the best quality?


    ~ Rob at http://www.ConcordCarpenter.com

    Profile photo of Boyd

    What do you prefer? I’ve only done the floating flooring


    I prefer cleat nails but my current nailer is a staple nailer.

    ~ Rob at http://www.ConcordCarpenter.com

    Profile photo of Brian
    Honesdale, PA

    I started using cleats, but the last two floors used staples, I just get the feeling that the staples hold better, not that there has ever been a problem with cleats. I think both are great as long as install correctly, that the biggest issue I see is people not putting enough fasteners into the floor.


    I’ve used the staples. But good to a different


    I’ve found cleats hold better in lumber i.e pine subfloors.
    But they are not recommended for plywood or OSB subfloors.
    I have a nailer that can use both and mostly go with staples.

    Profile photo of Kurt
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    Typically staples. Seems to be faster and hane never had a problem with the hold

    Profile photo of Jeff
    halifax, nova scotia

    i rarely lay hardwood but when i have its always been staples, all the hardwood guys hire use staples also

    Profile photo of Mark (Redwood)

    I also use staples for the few times that I lay hardwood floors.

    Mark E.

    Pioneer, CA

    Working Pro 1972 - 2015
    Member since Jan 22, 2013

    Profile photo of Kurt
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    We typically use staples

    Profile photo of Kevin

    I use staples also. I don’t feel like the cleat nails hold as well in old board subfloors, and have had some repairs where the cleat has split tongues. Less tendency for a staple to do that.


    Profile photo of Kurt
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    I would agree Kevin t, that the Staples with the tongue a lot less than the cleats

    Profile photo of CaliDecks
    Anaheim Hills, Cali

    I used cleat nails on this floor, came out good.


    Both of them seem to work equally well for us. We’ve used nailers in the past that but our current gear is mostly staplers, which hold fine – no warranty issues so far.

    Profile photo of Matt
    Calgary, Alberta

    This past week we installed 480 sq ft of hard maple. I’d estimate roughly half of that work was removing the old underlayment – particle board under vinyl that was PL’d and stapled down to the OSB subfloor. After pulling staples on my knees for two straight days and demo’ing with a Bosch Bulldog with a tile blade I could tell you that staples hold better. My nailer is a 3-in-1 Freeman that will shoot either, so I went with the staples.

    Profile photo of Matthew
    Vienna, Missouri

    Staples is what I used the one time I did it

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