Groovy Tongue and Groove Tips

The first tool one would need when embarking on a tongue and groove installation is an air compressor and its accompanying nailer. These tools make installation fast, easy, and something anyone can do. For flooring I would suggest using a stapler over a nailer as staples have a stronger hold – which is especially important for your FLOORS. For walls a nailer is probably ok, in fact, for some t&g types you have to use thin finishing nails, the reasons which I’ll explain in the next paragraph.

Of course, some folks still use the good ol’ hammer and nail approach with tongue and groove joints, and with tongue and groove joints that butt right up against each other this is not a problem – minus the fact it takes about 15 times longer. But some tongue and groove joints are made with the tongue longer then the depth of the groove, which leaves a visible section of the tongue after installation (for aesthetic purposes). tongue and groove boards-Which also means whatever hardware you used to install is in PLAIN VIEW! Obviously, you will want to choose the smallest most inconspicuous option.

Of course, then comes the question of whether or not the tiny little piece of metal is enough to keep the board in place. Good question! First of all, flooring boards will usually not have these “tongue longer than groove” joints, but will in fact be made the opposite, “groove deeper than tongue”, to ensure a snug butt-to-butt fit. It’s the wall types that will often have these joint types. So for most flooring you can simply use either the ol’ fashioned method of hammer & nail, or an air-nailer/stapler.

Using a dab of wood glue on key points between the boards and their underlying ribbing is the solution to this problem and can be a good idea to prevent creaking & as a secondary reinforcement as well. Just be sure not to glue the actual joint as wood shrinks and expands sometimes causing the tongue to break off etc. Because your walls won’t be subject to nearly as much “activity” as your floor, using the ultra-thin finishing nails along with a dab of glue here and there will be more than enough.

The key is using just enough glue and no more. Think about when you may need to replace your flooring or walling! Choosing and evenly dividing the different types of wood – out of which the t&g is created – is another important aspect. There are 2 key factors to consider when on this step of your project: 1. The color shades of your boards & 2. Heartwood vs. sapwood. Interestingly enough, the darker boards are the heartwood and the lighter colored ones are the sapwood.

This means you can kill both these birds with the one stone of evenly spreading the colors around. The reason for spreading the colors around are obvious, but perhaps some may wonder, why divvy up the heart & sapwood? Well, heartwood doesn’t change shape as much as sapwood. Therefore, by evenly distributing the heart and sapwood, you can somewhat ensure the uniform “shape-change” among your wall or floor. By the way, “shape-change” might sound like some kind of huge twisting and warping of your boards, but in most cases it’s simply the formation of gaps in your tongue and groove joints caused by wood-shrinkage. Though it’s still something you’d want to avoid or at the least render as unnoticeable as possible.

Well, that’s about all for now. Tx for reading and be sure to check out my other posts!


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