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Thread: Sub-Floor - Staples or screws?

  1. #1
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    Question Sub-Floor - Staples or screws?

    OK - Here's one for all you contractors/home improvement gurus.

    The LOML and I have put the fence replacement and kitchen upgrades out a year or two on the schedule so we can replace the very worn out carpet in out LR, DR, and hall this year.

    We've picked out a laminate - we have a dog - that we like and we are thinking of putting it down at 45 degrees to give the floor more interest.

    Our floor is a post and beam, T&G 2x6 with a 1/2" particle board sub-floor. The builder felt it was only necessary to use about 10 or 12 nails for each 4 x 8 sheet of sub floor . As I have redone the floors in other rooms I have snapped chalk lines in a 12 x 12 grid and screwed down the sub-floor 12" OC in the field, 6" OC on the perimeter. This has all but eliminated the many many squeaks we had. However, those were smaller areas and I don't think my knees would survive the three rooms and 500 sf we are planning on now.

    Here's the question - I see two options.
    1. I can rent a deck screw driver that allows you to stand up while driving the screws and loads from a magazine, or,
    2. I can rent a 1" crown stapler and get down on my knees to do the work.
    The screwdriver offers the luxury of standing while I work but requires a much greater amount of time to complete. The stapler has me on my knees but I could probably fasten down the entire floor in less than an hour.

    I'm leaning towards the stapler, but I'm a little concerned about holding power. My guess is the staples will do just fine but I'd like some input from those of you who have done this before. Am I over-thinking this? Should I just go with the time-saving staples?
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  2. #2
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    Staples will eventually pop and move like nails. I always screw down my sub-floor materials when I do remodels.

    Would knee pads help?
    Thanks, Mark.

    Custom Bonehead.

    My diet is working good. I'm down to needing just one chair now.

    "Just think how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of them are even stupider!" --George Carlin

  3. #3
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    A youngster like you has problems with kneeling?
    I don't have a kneeling problem at all. It's the getting back up that's a killer. : rofl:
    I would go for the stand-up screw thingy. Wats time?

  4. #4
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    IMHO, Screws.

    Though I do know a contractor who maintained that a framing nailer would hold just as well as screws, since the nails have glue on them. The friction of slamming the nail into place activates the glue. But I have no idea about professional studies, that was just something he mentioned to me a few years back.

    Laying the laminate is going to have you on your knees as well, for a fairly long time. Now, not that I'm trying to up-sell you or anything, but nailing down a real hardwood floor involves less kneeling, though plenty of bending. Okay, forget that, laminate is far easier to install. But I dunno about all those 45s you're talking about...
    There's usually more than one way to do it...
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Mulder View Post
    IMHO, Screws.
    Laying the laminate is going to have you on your knees as well, for a fairly long time....
    Yes - I'm just trying to minimize the time. I have one bad knee that gives me shooting pains if I kneel on it just right - but I do have knee pads!
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk
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  6. #6
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    OK - I might have spoken too soon. I've called 5 rental places and NO ONE stocks the driver with the extension for doing sub-flooring/decking.

    So - the question is still "screws or staples", but now it looks as though I'm back to using my drywall gun on my knees, or, at least, knee pads.

    BTW - Overwhelming support for screws so far from all of you, But I'll wait for a few more votes before I make my final decision. I have time - I'm putting the floor down over the Labor Day holiday.
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk
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  7. #7
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    I would definitely go with screws.

    Tony, BCE '75

  8. #8
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    Only screws, the nails will come loose. That little dab of glue on the nail/staple might work on trim but nothing drives me nuts like a squeeky floor. I did a Pergo floor in a 600sf dining room. The screws in the subfloor are every 8" both ways. 100 pounds of screws. Check out the local pawn shops, sometimes you can find the stand up screw guns there. The local Home Depot rents them. Instead of knee pads, I used a garden kneeler. Can't stand the straps that go behind the knee. Have fun.

    Great entertainment watching a dog on a laminate floor.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rennie Heuer View Post
    but now it looks as though I'm back to using my drywall gun on my knees, or, at least, knee pads.
    Stop!

    I haven't got one yet, but an Impact Driver is near the top of my "wish" list. Everything I've read says that they will drive screws better -- and here's the kick for you -- and FASTER than a regular drill/driver.

    Sounds to me like you should definitely beg, borrow, or buy one.

    ...art

    ps: Fine Homebuilding has a video testing a bunch of impact drivers
    There's usually more than one way to do it...
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Johnson View Post
    Only screws, the nails will come loose. That little dab of glue on the nail/staple might work on trim but nothing drives me nuts like a squeeky floor. I did a Pergo floor in a 600sf dining room. The screws in the subfloor are every 8" both ways. 100 pounds of screws. Check out the local pawn shops, sometimes you can find the stand up screw guns there. The local Home Depot rents them. Instead of knee pads, I used a garden kneeler. Can't stand the straps that go behind the knee. Have fun.

    Great entertainment watching a dog on a laminate floor.
    Screws seems to be the way EVERYONE is telling me to go. Checing out the pawnshops is a good idea - the HD near me does not rent or sell this tool.

    Quote Originally Posted by Art Mulder View Post
    Stop!

    I haven't got one yet, but an Impact Driver is near the top of my "wish" list. Everything I've read says that they will drive screws better -- and here's the kick for you -- and FASTER than a regular drill/driver.

    Sounds to me like you should definitely beg, borrow, or buy one.

    ...art

    ps: Fine Homebuilding has a video testing a bunch of impact drivers
    Hmmmm...... I've really been wanting one of those.....
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk
    www.wrworkshop.com

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