Installing wood floors requires an incredible amount of cutting and nailing, but the most important equipment I own doesn’t cut or fasten anything. Nothing comes before safety equipment. With all the cutting, nailing, and chemicals flooring installers work with, it is only a matter of time before an injury will occur if you don’t have the proper protection.
Many old-time wood flooring contractors are partially deaf because they didn’t protect their hearing when using nailers and power tools. Before I started wearing proper respiratory protection, some exotic woods I used made my nose bleed. Many old-timers have severe respiratory problems. Wood dust is a carcinogen, and I have visited flooring friends who have cancer. Without safety glasses, I have had things go into my eyes, and I once had a close call with a deflected pneumatic nail. Kneepads are a very important piece of equipment. I have too many friends with permanently damaged knees. one of them almost lost his leg when a splinter in his knee became infected.
Like all construction work, installing wood flooring has inherent risks. Cuts from edge tools are one obvious hazard. Others are less obvious, but perhaps more readily prevented. Reduce the risks of eye injuries, hearing damage, lung disease, and bad knees with proper safety gear. Comfort is one of the most important factors when selecting safety equipment. I tend to rely on 3M® for safety products, but you may find other brands fit you better. Try out several. Safety equipment does no good if you take it off because it’s uncomfortable.