Are you a DIYer about to embark on the grand adventure of installing hardwood flooring in your home? Are you wondering if you've got all the tools you'll need to get the job done? Of course you have a hammer, a saw, a level, and a tape measure in your tool bag, but there's some air tools you'll need to add to your list for this next-level DIY project.
Pneumatic Nail Gun
Not only will a pneumatic nail guns shave an immense amount of time and effort from your project, but it's really quite necessary to a properly installed floor.
In a hardwood floor, the nails can't just be flush with the surface of the wood. If they were, people would be injuring their feet and tripping on them, and the nails would eventually begin to work their way out of the wood, ruining all your efforts.
Instead, the nail heads need to lay below the surface of the wood, and this is most easily accomplished with a pneumatic nail gun and a nail set attachment.
While you could use a regular hammer and a manual nail set, it is extremely difficult to not mar the surface of the wood with this method. It would also take an incredibly long time with these non-powered tools, and it would be nearly impossible to strike the nails to the same depth each time.
With a pneumatic nail gun and nail set attachment, you don't have to worry about missing a hammer strike and scuffing up your floor. All of your nails will be uniformly and securely set below the surface of the wood. Once all the nails are in place, you'll apply a small amount of wood putty over the top of the nails, making them undetectable.
Air-Powered Orbital Sander
If you purchased your hardwood unfinished, you're going to have plenty of sanding to do. There are 2 types of walk-behind sanders on the market and at places like Kruman Equipment Co-- drum sanders and orbital sanders.
A drum sander is your more powerful option, but if this is your first time installing hardwood flooring, it's likely too powerful. Drum sanders shave down wood really fast, so if you aren't ready when you kick it on, you'll grind nasty-looking grooves in your floor.
Orbital sanders eliminate the risk of gouging your floor because the sanding pads move in an orbital pattern, and back and forth. In other words, you don't have to worry about keeping the sanding pad moving because the orbital sander does it for you. Orbital sanders are a little slower, but a whole lot safer.
Now, why would you want an air-powered sander over an electric sander? The glory of air compressors (you'll read about those in a minute) is that, instead of buying a bunch of tools with their own individual motors, you can buy one motor, and then purchase the attachments you need.
An air-powered orbital sander will be cheaper, because it won't have its own motor attached to it. It will also be lighter than an electric sander, making it easier to maneuver in tight spaces such as in corners or along the edges of your walls.
Finally, in order to install your own hardwood floors, you'll need an air compressor to power the above 2 tools. Don't worry -- you'll get plenty of use out of it after your flooring project, too. Every DIYer can benefit from having a medium-sized unit in their garage for filling up bike tires, washing their vehicles, painting, polishing... really, the list of uses for these machines goes on and on.
So, how big of an air compressor do you need? There's a formula for that! Both your pneumatic nail gun and your orbital sander will have a CFM rating on their label. The CFM rating tells you how many cubic feet of air the unit can produce per minute at optimal performance.
You'll need a machine that can power the highest CFM rating listed, as well as any other tool that might be running at the same time. Since nail guns don't require a great amount of air pressure, your sander will have the larger CFM.
If you'll have another person working with you, however, and that person will be sanding at the same time as you, then you'll need a machine that can pump out twice as much CFM.
Once you've determined how many total cubic feet of air per minute your air tools will use at maximum efficiency, add 30% to that number to account for things that could affect the performance of your air compressor, such as temperature and humidity. Look for an air compressor that has a CFM rating of at least this number.
Advanced DIY projects require advanced tools. Visit an air tool dealer for all the tools you need to successfully install your new, beautiful hardwood floor.