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Home » Installation » Staples vs Cleats

Unfinished, prefinished, subfloor prep, etc.
7/7/2011 8:19:57 AM

Glatz
Glatz
Posts: 2
My installers use fasteners of their choice. Most of them staples using Stanley Bostitch MIII. I know that some of my competitors only use staples or only cleats. Some even use only specific brands like Primatech or Powernail. Our market has a lot of choices lately with many fasteners originating from overseas.
I would love to hear your comments.
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7/9/2011 1:38:12 AM

Joshua Crossman
Joshua Crossman
Posts: 65
I switched to using just cleats after getting tired of staples bending and after I read an article stating that over time cleats have better holding power. I use Powernail since they are made in the USA.

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Joshua Crossman
www.ptlhardwoodfloors.com
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7/9/2011 12:47:49 PM

Jim Decker
Jim Decker
Posts: 226
We also use 18 guage cleats seem to hold better and with exotics pretty much only recommended by mfg. Charles Peterson summed it up pretty well liking a 1/2" staple to using a wood chisel with exotics and splitting tongues galore.
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7/10/2011 3:54:56 PM

hbrickman
hbrickman
Posts: 135
The 1/2" crown staple puts a great deal of force on the tongue and with species that are easily split will cause the tongue to separate. You have to be more careful with the pressure settings using staples to reduce the splitting hazard.

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Brickman Consulting
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7/11/2011 2:02:50 PM

Sean Stewart
Sean Stewart
Posts: 8
Tropical species should be installed using cleats only. The commenters noting splitting of tongues is absolutely correct due to pressure. Split tongues cause squeaking until the tongue has completely snapped off. As an importer of South American species, I suggest all of my clients use cleats.

Stewartfloor
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7/11/2011 2:50:29 PM

Stan Lawson
Stan Lawson
Posts: 1
I have just started to take out a 20 year old 3/4" solid 5" Oak Floor to be replaced by a new floor more to my wife's liking. It is my intent to reuse the Oak on a project at my farmhouse. I am very pleased to find that the floor that has done so well this past 20 years is coming up without split tongues ............ due I am sure to the original installer using cleats.
Just sharing my experience .............
Stan
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7/12/2011 9:17:38 AM

Eric C. J.
Eric C. J.
Posts: 12
And I have the pictures to prove it. Sounds like a Perry Mason finale but in the mid 90's, staples were becoming more and more popular with installers and one of the cleat manufacturers did research into bringing on staples as an adjunct to their program and to also develope a staple machine to complement the nail gun that they had produced. The long and short is that the tests that they implemented under controlled conditions appeared to implicate staples as contributing to tongue splitting when test panels were exposed to repeated high/ low humidity changes. Duplicate panels were "cleated" and given the same extreme environmental treatment. If we can believe the pictures, there is no doubt, at least under the conditions, that staples were a contributing factor to tongue splits and that when viewed from above, it appeared that the flooring had shrunk slightly. What had occurred was not shrinkage but when you looked at the end view of the board, it had telegraphed the exact width of tongue breakage to the top long side and that in turn looked like shrinkage. I have original pictures and the brochure that was produced by the manufacturer. Also on file is a letter from that time period that MFMA distributed that in their opinion, in some circumstances (athletic facilities being there area of perview) stapled maple floors exhibited more panelization than cleated/ nailed floors. Conjecture could implicate water-based finishes that were being used more and more in the panelization controversy but I have never seen a recision of that MFMA bulletin that spoke of staples role in that phenomenon.
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1/15/2013 5:30:15 AM

tavin979
tavin979
Posts: 1
Both of them have their own pros and cons. I think it depends on the situation and other circumstances whether we have to use Staples or Cleats.
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1/15/2013 12:25:47 PM

TDMAC
TDMAC
Posts: 1196
My experience with Power cleats goes back to 1958 when Vern Miller introduced that fastener system to my dad's distribution of Bruce , 3M American Lincoln 'Fresno floor co.. Personally I have used power cleats since 69....hundreds of racquet courts and many thousands of other installations.... until in 1984 when the Bostich air Mlll gun came out. In our dry climate of the San Joaquin Valley, I have had no problems with either.
I firmly believe that the ...non -discussed...holding power of the melted nylon coated staples contributing to that better grip is obvious when removing all types of flooring.. Easily seen when removing a 25/32" x 2-1/4" piece of maple from a sleeper.
I am ...right now re installing 1200 ft of maple that I installed in 1982. 2400 ft was removed and saved, cleaned by the general contractor. Hardly any tongues were split or broken as they were installed with Power cleats by my crew. Had that been installed with Bostich staples...There would be slim chance of saving that flooring.. see photo.
So which is better??? I know we have no split tongues with the Mlll so I am happy with that gun and success for almost 30 years.

Cheers ..great discussion tdmac

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1/15/2013 9:58:23 PM

moderntech
moderntech
Posts: 180
Staples are OK for certain situations, but the question really has a few considerations:

1) What is the wood your are fastening? I would NEVER staple an australian cypress floor, but on oak it is fine. It just depends on how brittle the floor is

2) Gun pressure is a huge detail too. Running any gun above 100PSI could split the tongues on a floor.

We switched exclusively to cleats because generally you know that they will not cause problems if gun pressure is right. Staples can create problems if the wood or pressure are not a match, so switching back and forth is a pain.

I do agree that staples hold like crazy, but like TDMAC says if you try to pull out a stapled floor, you will certainly break the tongue on the flooring.

We stay with cleats on all floors for all employees because we can have a consistent answer to how a floor was installed every time. If you have guys out there mixing and matching then the record keeping on jobs can get to be overwhelming
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