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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Oxford, Indiana. (60 mi NW of Indianapolis)
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    7

    Question Screws or nails? What's best for this job?

    I am installing 1/4" OSB on top of an old subfloor in my 1890 attic in order to prepare it for carpet. The subfloor is solid but a little rough with some small gaps which I am covering with the OSB.

    Ring shank nails have been suggested to me as well as screws. Will the nails keep the floor from squeaking? I know the screws should secure it well, but are screws over doing it? If I use screws, what type should I use? All I see at the hardware store are drywall screws.

    Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: Screws or nails? What's best for this job?

    Ring shank nails will work fine. In a house that old, I am curious what joists are under the old subfloor and how thick is the old subfloor?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    1,131

    Default Re: Screws or nails? What's best for this job?

    Ditto. Ring-shanks should be fine for your application.

    Just make sure that the old subfloor boards are well-secured before you lay the 1/4" or you could get squeaking or flex from those.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Oxford, Indiana. (60 mi NW of Indianapolis)
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Screws or nails? What's best for this job?

    Thank you both for the helpful suggestions. The joists are rough cut 2x8's (true measurement). The subfloor is made up of 1x10's and a couple of antique tin can lids nailed over some small holes.

    I thought the 1x10's were tongue and groove, but when I look closer, they seem to be over lapping one another. Is that an old trick or is it tongue and groove and I don't know what I am looking at?

    Thanks again.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    1,131

    Default Re: Screws or nails? What's best for this job?

    Sounds like "ship-lapped" edges as opposed to t&g. IOW, the edges of the boards are half-lapped.

    My advice would be to walk every inch of the subfloor to determine if there are any squeaks or flexing now. If there are, screw down thru the floor boards into the joists in those areas.

    Or to be extra sure about the long-term results.....add screws everywhere now while the subfloor is easily accessible.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: Screws or nails? What's best for this job?

    How far apart are the 2x8 joists and what is the longest span of the joists (how far between support underneath them)? I am asking just to double check the flooring support is adequate. Maybe you already did this, in that case....carry on!

    1/4" OSB or plywood won't offer much in extra support, so if the joist spacing is wider than 16" you may want to use something thicker like 1/2" (5 ply) or 5/8". Not all 1/2" ply is created equal. The big box stores like to offer a "bargain" price on 1/2" but its usually 3 ply and is very flimsy compared to 5 ply 1/2".

    Before covering the 1x, nail any loose 1x boards to cut down on squeaks. When nailing the top layer of ply, I would nail through the 1x and into the joists below.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    The Great White North
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    Default Re: Screws or nails? What's best for this job?

    ... and don't forget the rosin paper.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Oxford, Indiana. (60 mi NW of Indianapolis)
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Screws or nails? What's best for this job?

    Thank you all for the help. You have brought more issues to my attention than what I had realized. I am glad I asked the experts!

    The joists are spaced 16" and there is a supporting wall on the first floor which splits the 16' wide upstairs. The 1x10's are perpendicular to the joists. There is already a finished stairwell that matches the era of the house which leads me to believe that the upstairs was meant to be finished.

    Since the floor is sturdy, along with a tight budget, I will stick with 1/4" OSB. I will replace the tin can lids and screw down original subfloor. I will install the rosin paper and sedure the OSB with ring shank nails. I will be doing this in a couple of weeks, so let me know if there are any major objections.

    Thanks for your time.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
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    Default Re: Screws or nails? What's best for this job?

    neil ...
    you can skip the rosin paper if you want ... it's not necessary ... I was kidding around.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Oxford, Indiana. (60 mi NW of Indianapolis)
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Screws or nails? What's best for this job?

    Ok thanks. I'll let you know how it turns out. I'm sure I will have more questions in the near future about my 1890 house.

    Thanks again!

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