Cleats not sinking flush

Q: I’m having problems with cleats sinking flush to the bottom of the groove. I’m installing 3/4 oak prefinished flooring using 2-inch cleats, over 3/4×4 inch plank flooring. I also installed 1/4 inch plywood on top of planks. I turned my air pressure up to 160 and still was not able to get the cleats to sit flush. I also tried staples and the same problem. I tried hiring a few cleats into the subfloor and both times the cleat was flush to the subfloor. Using 15.5 gauge cleats.

A: You have your pressure to 160 pounds and it won’t sink the cleat flush to the top of the tongue? Lol, wow. It’s only oak. 90-100 lbs should be more than enough. I’ve never owned a compressor that could be set that high. If you are sure the gauge is accurate, (can you borrow and try another compressor?) then either you are hitting a nail or screw in the subfloor (but that won’t happen every time, surely) or perhaps the drive pin in your nailer is worn or broken.

Follow-up Q: I did try another compressor and still the same thing. I also when to Home Depot and rented another floor nailer and the same problem. Like I also mentioned I drove a couple of cleats with the nailer into the bare subfloor and they all entered flush. I am totally baffled. Is it possible that the oak floor is too dense? I can’t imagine that at 160 lbs. I also tried nailing a piece of flooring in numerous locations on the subfloor and still the same thing. I don’t believe the pin drivers are bad because it nailed the cleats flush on the subfloor without the flooring. Any ideas?

A: Honestly, I have no idea what is causing this. Is it possible that the oak is too dense and hard? Zero chance. I think I would call the manufacturer of the nailer and ask if they have any idea what is going on. I’d love to hear the response.

Follow-up: Thanks for your time. I will follow up with the nailer company and will let you know how I make out.

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