Is it better to Glue or Nail Hardwood Floors? (Pros & cons)

Getting your house flooring done has an aesthetic vibe, especially if you go through all the phases and the last phase left is to install the beautiful hardwood floor. But for this stage, you have to choose between two popular choices, the first one is to nail down your hardwood floor, or you can opt to glue down your hardwood floor.

Both have their separate pros and cons both can be used based on your requirements and desired application. In today’s article, I will be discussing both methods and we will look into all of their pros and cons to select the best option for you. Let’s get started!

Glue or Nail Hardwood Floors both are best if it’s concrete subfloor glue down would be the best choice. Similarly, if it’s a wooden subfloor, then you can select either option. Both have their separate pros and cons, and both are used based on your requirements and desired application

Is it better to Glue or Nail Hardwood Floors?

Nail down method

The nail-down method is the fastest and cheapest installation method out of the two. It is also one of the most commonly used methods for hardwood floors. In this method, the floorboard is nailed onto plywood or wooden subfloor. The method of nailing is called the blindly nailed method in which the nail is angled at 45 degrees and is nailed into the tongue. When the installation is complete, all this process is invisible.


Tongue is the sticking out portion of wood planks that fit into the groove of the adjacent board

Before going through all the process of nailing, I would recommend you to buy some useful products that are both necessary and helpful for proper installation. The first item I recommend is an underlayment such as [amazon link=”B00A41JGAU” title=”Fortifiber 70-195 Underlayment”/]. Then you would also need to buy- [amazon link=”B002EVPO5Y” title=”High-quality pneumatic nailer”/].

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  1. It is the cheapest and the fastest method of installation.
  2. The nail-down method is suitable for both hardwood and engineered hardwood floorboards.
  3. It is easily maintainable as if one floorboard gets damaged, it can be easily replaced without any additional damage.
  4. The nail-down method ensures that the floorboards are firmly set on the subfloor.


1. One of the nail-down method’s major drawbacks is that the nails can become loose due to seasonal expansion and contraction of floorboards.
2. If you don’t have a wooden subfloor, then this method can’t be deployed on your floor.
3. Over the period there are often complaints of squeeqy noises but this can be reduced if an underlayment like [amazon link=”B00A41JGAU” title=”Fortifiber 70-195 Underlayment”/] is applied.

Glue down method

The glue-down method is the most expensive and labor-intensive method out of the two options but, it’s also the most stable installation method. The main reason behind its stability is the glue’s elasticity that allows easy expansion and contracts naturally with seasons.

In the glue-down method, the hardwood is attached to the subfloor or to a moisture barrier which is installed directly onto the subfloor. Before installation, you need to make sure the subfloor is completely dry and flat to ensure proper installation. There are several different types of adhesives available in the market and, the best would be the one that’s specifically suited for your hardwood flooring. You can also try this [amazon link=”B0026T3MB2″ title=”Multipurpose-Flooring-adhesives”/], easily available on Amazon.

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  1. It is the most stable as the glue’s elasticity allows it to contract and expand naturally during the changing seasons.
  2. In the case of the selection of high-quality glue, you also get sound and moisture insulation.
  3. When the flooring is stable, it tends to enhance the longevity of the floor.
  4. It is the permanent solution to your recurring floorboard problems. 


  1. This method requires a lot of labor and should be left to professionals to complete.
  2. This process is time taking and, the drying time can be a lot longer based on the quality of glue used. Plus, the glue needs to be completely dried up before you can use the floor.
  3. Replacing the floorboard is not an easy option, because as I mentioned, it is a permanent solution for your floorboard. 

Influencing factors

Glue or Nail Hardwood Floors are both best based on certain conditions such as, for concrete subfloor glue down would be the best choice. Similarly, if it’s a wooden subfloor, then you can select either option. Both have their pros and cons, and both are used based on your requirements and desired application. Furthermore, factors like aesthetics, cost, subfloor, and house type are also factors that can influence your choice.

Let’s look into the influencing factors that can also get you the best option you need.

1. Aesthetics

Each person has his specific requirements in terms of looks, feel, style, and custom specification of the method of installation. So every customer choice can differ based on their requirements.

2. Cost

When you are looking to work on a fixed budget, you can have a limited option. You need to select the labor, time, and quality of the product based on your budget. So, in terms of cheap and fast nail-down method would be the best option for you. Similarly gluing is the most expensive option but the price can vary based on the quality of products you use.

3. Subfloor

Many subfloors don’t accommodate many installations and, therefore, this can limit your option for variety. Nailing down is not possible on any other subfloors except plywood or wood. Gluing down can be your go-to choice for any surface, but you should consult a professional before practically implementing this.

4. House Type

Your choice can also be altered based on your house type, as some houses have certain rules and restrictions that should be followed. For example, if you are living in a condo or apartment, the general rules of that society need to be cross-checked before going for a complete change in flooring.


Today’s article was majorly focused on the pros and cons of the glue-down and nail-down method, we also discussed the better option among the two choices. I started today’s article by stating basic definitions and common understanding factors related to the glue-down and nail-down method. I briefly listed the pros and cons of both methods and in the end, I discussed some of the influencing factors that can alter your best choice among the two options. That’s all from my side for today.

I hope you loved my work in today’s section. If you loved my work in today’s blog, then don’t forget to check some of my other works on Home designing.

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