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Do I need to fill nail holes from pneumatic nailer on pine plank walls before I seal with polyurethane ?

Danny Hendry | Posted in General Questions on

We had a sunroom added to our lake cottage this last December. Their carpenter put 8″ pine planking on the walls against the house where vinyl siding was, to give the room a cabin look. We were out of town for this phase of the project . We’re not sure if it’s normal to see where he nailed the planks together or not , it doesn’t look horrible or too bad , we just need to know what to do before I put polyurethane on. Any helpful tips will be appreciated. Thanks

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Just to clarify: you are talking about an interior wall finish, right? Not exterior wall sheathing.

    If you have pine boards as interior wall finish, you can do anything you want in terms of appearance and finish. You can install drywall over the boards if you want. You can leave the boards the way they are. In theory, you can countersink the nails and putty the nail holes, if you like that look. You can leave the boards unfinished, or you can sand them and polyurethane them. It's your house.

  2. Expert Member
    Michael Maines | | #2

    Danny, one tip: if you do end up filling nail holes, apply at least one coat of polyurethane first. Then fill the nail holes, then sand everything. By sealing the wood first, you will avoid staining the wood around the nail holes with putty. The putty stain may not be noticeable at first, but it will be in a couple of years once the wood has darkened a bit. Sealing the wood first eliminates the problem.

  3. David Meiland | | #3

    Sounds like interior paneling to me. If the boards are tongue-and-groove, then I would expect them to be blind-nailed. If they are just boards, with square edges, then there's little choice but to nail them up with exposed nails, countersink the nails, and fill the holes. Hopefully the carpenter didn't use framing or sheathing nails, but rather siding or perhaps finish nails. Michael's comment about a coat of finish prior to hole filling is good. I would probably put a couple of coats on, and then fill the holes with a non-hardening filler that will match the wood once the wood darkens a bit.

  4. Stephen Sheehy | | #4

    Next time, put a coat or two of finish on before the boards are installed. It's much quicker and neater doing it on a pair of sawhorses and you can also get the edges.

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