Bowed and Crooked Boards


    The most common problem we encounter with hardwood installations is boards that are crooked and bowed causing gaps and spaces between planks.  It is unbelievable how many crooked boards you will find!  Some boards are a little too crooked or too bowed which makes them impossible to use, while others can be fixed with the flooring nailer if nailed in just the right spot.  The easiest way to fix crooked boards is with the flooring nailer.  Use it to first nail the board where the gap is smallest, being sure to strike the plunger with a lot of force to cinch in the gap.  This will close the small gap and cinch in the bigger gap a little more each time until the board has gradually straightened out.  Beware of placing too many nails close together or striking the plunger too hard as this will cause the tongue of the board to crack.  When you come to the final rows and there isn’t enough room to use the flooring nailer, using the wedges or spreader is the best solution to solving this problem (see Chapter 7-Installing the End Rows).  If a board is bowed, it is a little harder to cinch in the gap since it is right in the middle of the board, but by following the same procedure you should be able to fix it.  If the problem still isn’t fixed after nailing the board down with the flooring nailer, you will have to yank out the board with the pry bar and replace it.  With experience you will get a feel for which boards are too crooked to be fixed.  If you find a long board that is just too crooked or bowed to be used, you may be able to cut it in half and use both halves on the ends of rows.