Duo-Fast FloorMaster 250BN 16-Gauge Angled Flooring Nailer Review
The new Duo-Fast FloorMaster 250BN Nailer is a lightweight 16-gauge angled finish nailer designed for blind nailing tongue and groove flooring. This nailer has a 45-degree angled no-mar tip that makes for precise and quick toe nailing. The kit includes some other goodies like swappable bump and sequential triggers and a standard flat tip so that you can be use this nailer as a regular 16-gauge finish nailer.
Duo-Fast FloorMaster 250BN Nailer Features
The Duo-Fast FloorMaster 250BN 16-Gauge Angled Flooring Nailer comes in a nice blue colored, blow molded hard case that has some storage space for the included extra trigger, additional no-mar nailing tips, safety glasses and the owners manual. When we first opened the carry case, we were pretty surprised at the overall compact size of the nailer. Right off we could see some fundamental design features that helped reduce the size of this tool. To start there is the one-piece plastic magazine and handle assembly. Many other pneumatic nailers use a one-piece metal body-handle design and a separate magazine. By combining the handle and magazine what happens is the overall size is greatly reduced, but not at the expense of nail capacity or ergonomics. There is more plastic on this nailer then you might be used to, but don’t let this be a detraction since the use of plastic played a big part in the weight reduction. Duo-Fast still used metal in all the places that required it for long term durability.
Some of the other great features of the Duo-Fast FloorMaster 250BN Nailer include a rotating exhaust outlet on the back of the body and a dry-fire nail lockout feature – something that we’re inclined to think should be standard on all new pneumatic nailers. When there are no more nails left in the magazine, the tool will not allow the nailer to blank fire. This means no more wasting time having to re-nail where you ran out of nails and no more surface damage to that expensive wood floor. Just to make sure that you drive the nail to the right depth there is a tool-less depth change adjustment wheel that just takes a flick of your finger to adjust. The magazine uses 16 gauge fasteners oriented at a 20 degree angle that can range in length from 1-1/4″ – 2-1/2″ in. In our experience, these nails are easy to find and are available at most home improvement stores and professional supply houses.
While this should not be a problem for most folks, in order to go from single fire mode to sequential, you have to swap out the trigger. The changeover is really easy and simply involves popping a small metal pin and aligning the other trigger in place and putting the pin back in. Our only word of caution is that no extra trigger pins are included so don’t lose it! We are hopeful that Duo-Fast will do a simple selector switch in their next iteration of this nailer. To give more flexibility to the use of this nailer, a flat style no-mar tip is also included that turns this flooring nailer into a regular finish nailer.
Testing and Use
There is really only one way to really test out a flooring nailer and that is out on the job. There are quite a few different types of tongue and groove style floors on the market today that can range from as thin as a 1/4-inch up to 3/4-inch thick. Some of these floors are solid wood while others are engineered and maybe made up of a multilayer construction. We have found that some larger size floor nailers cannot be used on the thinner and more delicate floors and this is where the finesse of the Duo-Fast FloorMaster 250BN comes into play. We were able to nail down 1/2″ thick engineered T&G oak wood flooring without a hitch. The smaller nail size ensured that we did not damage the tongue and with the precise depth adjustment we were able to set the final nail height to maximize the holding power of the fastener.
Just to make sure that we were not being too easy on Duo-Fast FloorMaster 250BN, we used it to put down some pre-finished 3/4” T&G oak and post-finish cypress flooring on two different occasions. Just a note on the post-finish wood floors: While we were able to securely fasten down the wood floor, we did find that we were not always able to close up the slight gaps between the boards in the same way that we could with a hammer blow type floor nailer. From what we can tell, this nailer seems best suited for pre-finished type solid wood and nail-down engineered wood floors. As an added bonus, since the nailer includes the flat nailing tip, It doubled as a finish nailer which made it easy to install the shoe and quarter round trim when we were done laying the floors. We like the 16 gauge nails because they have the holding power of the larger 15 gauge trim nail yet have a head that is small much like 18 gauge brad nails. What this means in the real world is that you can have nice tight flooring and trim work yet have less puttying and touch up to do before finishing.
The Duo-Fast FloorMaster 250BN 16-Gauge Angled Flooring Nailer is a versatile tool that most flooring contractors will love. With its compact footprint and lightweight construction, getting into tight spaces will never be a problem. Thanks to its power, you will be able to shoot a wide range of nail lengths into the hardest of materials. For our Performance rating we gave this nailer a 9 since it offers great performance and features in a compact a small package. For our Value rating we gave it an 8 because it really is a two for one deal since it is a capable angled flooring nailer and doubles as a fantastic finish nailer.
Duo-Fast Floor Fastening Systems
Duo-Fast Floor Fastening Systems is a subsidiary of Illinois Tool Works (ITW) and are the proud owner and manufacturer of the Duo-Fast Brand of floor fastening products. As the leader in flooring installation systems, Duo-Fast Floor Fastening Systems focuses on providing innovative tool and fastening solutions for customers in the flooring market. ITW’s emphasis on innovation creates value-added solutions to meet specific customer needs.