When new hardwood floors are installed, is it normal to see visible metal staples? In a couple of places in my new hardwood floors I see staples. They are flush and not a safety risk or comfort issue. But they do catch the light and don't look great. I don't see them everywhere, but especially near ends and scattered above - this leads me to believe they were missed in a few places.

If this isn't normal, what do you do to "hide" them? Should I go back to the floor installer to remedy or is this something that if you don't like you do on your own.

See some examples:

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Adding photos of the starburst pop I described in the comments below. They told me they will sand and fill this.

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There are also several places where it looks like dust got trapped underneath or paint that seems to be bellow finish I can't scrape away. They told me in these spots they will sand and fill. Is this the best path, anything specific I should be asking for or on the watch for when they do this? I don't like seeing white dots, but is there a risk they could do something to make it worse?

Is there some underlying issue I should be investigating here?

Edit 2:

This is a photo of a board in the dining room - the dinning room open flows into the living room. Is this a big problem/warning sign if they had to use so many staples in the middle of the floor between rooms?

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  • Were those all near the same wall? One can't tongue nail too close because of the tools. They should be set and filled properly. And if they're out in the middle of the floor, that's a huge ****-up. Again, set and fill. Sep 9, 2019 at 0:58
  • In these two photos, were both near the wall and molding, but walls on opposite sides of the. I just went around the main floor and there are certain places where you see 2 or 3 on end boards. I think there may be one or two places in the middle of the floor, but I can find them again.
    – HelpEric
    Sep 9, 2019 at 1:13
  • There are also 2 places where it looks like a nail came up and it split - but there is no actual nail - they said they just will just sand and fill there. Am I looking at a bigger problem with these floors? This is new construction - they delayed for over month saying the floors needed time to be restained and dry. Is there actually a bigger problem they are trying to cover up? What should I be checking for or asking about?
    – HelpEric
    Sep 9, 2019 at 1:16
  • 1
    When they come back, it's unlikely that they'll make it worse. They'll scrape/sand those weird starbursts, stain, varnish, and it ought to be fine. (None of the filling/varnishing tasks are rocket science.) The month thing could have been a standard stalling tactic (scheduling), or they could have actually wanted the varnish to be fully cured... not sure. The only thing to do is make sure they come back. Sep 9, 2019 at 2:54
  • @AloysiusDefenestrate see the photo in edit 2 - this run of board is in the middle of the room and i can see staples or where they drove them down but didn't fill - is this indicative or a problem I should be worried about or just because they were lazy?
    – HelpEric
    Sep 10, 2019 at 0:51

2 Answers 2


Staples or visible nails are not normal, except right next to the wall. The nails are normally nailed into the tongue and groove portions of the floor boards, which hides the nails.

One option is to use a nail set, push the staples deeper, then cover them with nail filler, sand and finish. But since these are likely a hardwood, like oak, you risk making more star patterns in the wood.


No, that's not the normal way to fasten hardwood floors. Usually they are nailed or stapled on the edges which are then covered by the adjoining piece. I suspect there was a problem here and the flooring was raised up and rather than take it out and do it right, they just stapled it down and left it.

Poor workmanship in my opinion.

  • 1
    Most of the flooring is straight. In the few places where the floor is a soft or uneven they don't have any of these nail issues. Can you elaborate on the problems or issues that would cause this? E.g., like the board was not level there so they drove an extra staple to keep it flat? At any rate, should they come back and push them down and fill or is that going to result in more problems long term?
    – HelpEric
    Sep 9, 2019 at 0:41

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