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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    5

    Default Radiant Subfloor Heating - Nails Protruding Through Subfloor

    Hi All,
    This is my first post here! I've wanted to have radiant subfloor heating for a long time, and I have a great setup to do it. My house is all one level and we have access to the joists from the basement. My only problem is that there are nails sticking down through the subfloor everywhere. I'm assuming these are the nails they used to nail down the hardwood floor above. From what I understand, an aluminum reflector plate needs to sit against the subfloor, but these nails will prevent that. Is there anything that can be done about these nails? Cut off? Bend? There are literally hundreds of them. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!!
    - Bob

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    5

    Default Re: Radiant Subfloor Heating - Nails Protruding Through Subfloor

    Any ideas? I can try to post a picture if that will help...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    554

    Default Re: Radiant Subfloor Heating - Nails Protruding Through Subfloor

    The only thing I can think of is using a small circular saw fitted with a metal-cutting blade---the blades are available from HD/Lowe's for approx. $5 each---this would assume you have relative clearance & there are not a lot of cross-pipes/electrical wires, etc., blocking access to the nails.

    In the event of limited clearance, most of the metal housing of the circular saw can be unbolted so that just the motor & blade are left--this will give greater clearance to work the saw.

    Richard Trethewey sometimes uses a miniature version of this tool to remove such items---in some cases you may have to resort to a reciprocating saw fitted with a metal-cutting blade to get hard to reach nails.

    By all means if you do this, you MUST WEAR SAFETY GLASSES, and some facial protection & leather gloves; also some long-sleeve protection for your arms from the hot nail fragments that will fly off when you cut them.
    Last edited by NashuaTech; 02-20-2010 at 10:50 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Radiant Subfloor Heating - Nails Protruding Through Subfloor

    I used a Dremel to cut of the nails when I was doing this.

    But I didn't have hundreds. I probably had to cut about 20 nails total.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: Radiant Subfloor Heating - Nails Protruding Through Subfloor

    Perhaps end cutters would help to nip off those nails..

    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Radiant Subfloor Heating - Nails Protruding Through Subfloor

    If you only had a few nails to deal with then a Dremel might do the job. But if there's a lot of them you'll go crazy replacing the cut off wheels all the time.

    You might also use a Rotozip with a metal cut off wheel, or even an angle grinder. An angle grinder with a diamond wheel would cut 'em like butter. But you might run into space problems trying to get a grinder into tighter places in the joist bays.

    If you did grind them you would absolutely have to wear appropriate protective gear AND keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

    The sparks and pieces of hot metal from the grinding can definitely set things on fire. You'd be best served making sure the area was empty first. Don't leave anything under there that could have a spark drop into it, smolder and later catch fire.

    Some heavy-duty end cutter pliers might work too. Just nip off the end of the protruding nail. A pair with a longer handle will make it easier to get a good bite through the nail.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    nova scotia, canada
    Posts
    1,522

    Default Re: Radiant Subfloor Heating - Nails Protruding Through Subfloor

    if your dealing with hundreds of them go with a decent angle grinder. a dremel will only do part of the job. with that much work to do theres a good chance youll burn out the motor on the dremel as they only have a small motor which isnt intended for a large task such as you describe.

    my only concern is that with cutting these nails off you might increase the chance of nail pops on the floor above
    fire up the saw and make some dust

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Radiant Subfloor Heating - Nails Protruding Through Subfloor

    All good advice. I'm still dreaming about putting radiant heat in. One thing I didn't think about that concerns me is nail pops on the floor above. Would I be compromising the integrity of the flooring if I cut these nails?

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