Nails or screws???

Discussion in 'Builders' Talk' started by Tinderstick, Feb 28, 2006.

  1. Tinderstick

    Tinderstick New Member

    I'm refurbing an original floor on the first floor of a 1890's house with lath and plaster ceilings below. I've lifted the old boards both to re-lay and close up the gaps and lay insulation. Then I'll sand and varnish etc. That all seems fine but...

    Should I use nails or screws to fasten down the boards? I've been reading an earlier post suggesting that vibrations from nailing down will crack the ceiling plaster below - I'm looking at approx 500 nails here. How much of a factor is this do you think?

    Screws don't look so good on bare boards I'm thinking...
  2. britishblue

    britishblue New Member

    If the lath and plaster ceilings are original, there is a good chance that all that hammering above will cause the plaster to part company with the lathes. I wouldn't risk it.

  3. Crazy Horse

    Crazy Horse New Member

    I had an old Victorian house a few years ago and I turned one of the 4 bedrooms into a bathroom. I relaid the floor with pine flooring and screwed it down. I can't remember the name of it but I used a special wood bit that not only drilled a hole, but made larger hole that was then plugged with wooden dowels I bought at the timber merchants. When it was done, I then sanded and varnished the floor. It looked really smart. The carpenters on the forum will know the name of the wood bit, the name escapes me at the moment.
  4. Bob Uppendown

    Bob Uppendown New Member

    Nail it. If the ceiling beneath is so fragile that it's going to fall down, it'll just as likely fall down when someone jumps outta bed. As someone who had to frequently lift floorboards during house surveys I cursed the time spent unscrewing dozes and dozens of screws and puttin em all back in again. If there is a problem board that needs screwing to hold it flat, fine. But to screw the lot is overkill and looks ridiculous.
  5. Crazy Horse

    Crazy Horse New Member

    What so getting nails out is easier is it? Buy yourself a cordless it's easy and so much quicker!
  6. Tinderstick

    Tinderstick New Member

    Doesn't look so good, I see that Bob. And putting down with nails is going to be easier.

    But I'm with Crazy Horse on the getting up part - cordless with a reverse gear has got to be easier and not so much chance of splitting your boards that way.

    Let me get this right Crazy. You sunk the screws with a flat wood bit or countersink bit and plugged the holes with 3-4mm slices of dowel? So you glued them on top of the screwheads???
  7. owen

    owen New Member

    what you need is this:

    One bit will drill the pilot, clearance hole and counterbore, then the plug cutter will cut plugs which can then be glued in the counterbore to cover the screw head. If you cut plugs a scrap of the same material as the flooring and line up the grain you will struggle to see where the plug is.
  8. Crazy Horse

    Crazy Horse New Member

    Cheers Owen, that's the tool. If the floor has to come up any time, it's just a case of re-drilling out the holes.Bit of a chore I agree, but the finished floor looked great.
  9. Crazy Horse

    Crazy Horse New Member

    The other advantage of screwing the floor down is that even after 3 years, no gaps appeared between the boards, it's still as good as the day it was put down. ;)
  10. Tinderstick

    Tinderstick New Member

    Well yeah... I can kind of see how that works now.

    New one on me but seems like a great solution.

    Thanks guys!
  11. Bob Uppendown

    Bob Uppendown New Member

    What so getting nails out is easier is it?

    Didn't take em out first - just lifted board with them in then tap them up from below (if you've got the knack of wiggling it right even cuphead nails don't pull through - though ringshanks would)(and no, I didn't bruise the edges, I used a shield).

    But in this instance if the thread author has the patience to do all that buttoncutting.. I can see my suggestion might not be favourite ;o)

    (In a 12ft square room with say 30 boards on joists at 16"crs that's roughly 300 fixings if one per joist crossing, or 600 if two. Pro-rata other room sizes).
  12. Crazy Horse

    Crazy Horse New Member

    Don't forget Bob Uppendown, I did this floor in my own house in my own time. If I did this for a customer it would be expensive to say the least. It just depends really what the room is to be used for and how much of the floor can be seen. I did it for a bathroom where there was nothing on the floor except a bathrug, so you could see every mark.
  13. Rushed_on

    Rushed_on New Member

    My solution would be to hire a nail gun, minimal vibrations no worries!! Do a couple of trials to get the load setting right.

  14. chappers

    chappers Member

    If its plain boards it all depends on the look you want.If you want the old original look then use cut nails if its a more contempory but still noticeable look then you can screw and plug.Personally igiven the choice I would go down the cut nail root and as has already been said sort your ceiling if its in such a fragile state.
    I recently cut naile a reclaimed floor and only had very minor damage to the L+P ceiling below.
  15. Mr Kipling

    Mr Kipling New Member

    Why not use one of those secret nailers, the type used for fitting parquet etc. You wont have the worries of sinking the heads before sanding either that way.

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