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Last time I installed engineered hardwood, the subfloor was concrete and I floated the floor. For my current project, there's a plywood subfloor so I'd like to nail it down. However I don't have a flooring nailer. They seem quite expensive for a single-purpose tool, and while I could rent one, I'd prefer to own a multipurpose tool I'll be able to use for more than just flooring installation. So now I'm wondering if there are any models that can act as both a flooring nailer and a finish nailer--for example, with the use of a 45 degree adapter for flooring use or something. Do any such a combination tools exist? And if so, are they any good?

Or is this a terrible idea and I should just bite the bullet and rent a flooring nailer?

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    Check the craigslist tool board for a used one. I see em pop up where people say "bought it do my floor and now i don't need it any longer" – Alaska Man Apr 5 at 2:28
  • If you have a choice (and budget allows), the pneumatic version is vastly superior to the non-pneumatic. – Aloysius Defenestrate Apr 5 at 22:35
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I'm not aware of any 45 adapters and other nail guns can not drive the special nails used for hardwood floors. Also, the floor nailers are set up to actually smack the wood tight before driving the nail. I would strongly suggest renting the tool, one of those items that is well worth the cost.

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  • So before these things were invented, didn't people blind-nail tongue-and-groove hardwood by hand using finish nails or something? Were those installs markedly worse? – iLikeDirt Apr 7 at 0:12
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    Yes hand nailed. And in my opinion, modern floors are much better but more about due the tolerance improvements in milling. Note re your original question, finish nails use a much finer nail that flooring nails, it's basically a wire. Not much of a head, and often has a coating that is a sort of lubricant and then glue activated by the heat of friction that helps reduce friction when driving them and increases friction after in place. They would not stand up to the wear and tear of walking and shrink/swell of the wood over time. I'm going to link some interesting articles in next comment – Ack Apr 7 at 0:28
  • I ran out of space in the last comment. Here are the articles: The History of Wood Flooring The History of the Wood Flooring Industry – Ack Apr 7 at 0:29

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