Nails vs Screws for Underlay

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Old 04-19-05, 04:17 PM
dachrist
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Nails vs Screws for Underlay

I am pulling up the old 1/4" underlay in my bathroom and am going to lay new 1/4" plywood down for the new vinyl floor. The old underlay was attached with regular (ie non-ring shanked) nails. Should I use nails or screws to fasten the new underlay down to the 3/4" plywood underneath?
 
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Old 04-19-05, 04:56 PM
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Small ring shanked underlayment nails on 4" centers.
 
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Old 04-20-05, 04:10 AM
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Or 1 1/4"-1 5/8" crown staples from a pneumatice staple gun. Sure speeds things up when you have a large floor to do and is "normal" method for install in our parts. Ring shanks have worked for years, but I've seen my fair share of vinyl with dimples all over from them working loose if floor joists are not upto par.
 
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Old 04-20-05, 06:14 AM
dachrist
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So why is there a reluctance to use screws? I thought that with a screw, there is not a chance of it working loose.
 
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Old 04-20-05, 08:15 AM
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When adding plywood as an underlayment for ceramic, I will alsways screw it to the subfloor. With vinyl being a more temporary floor than ceramic, screws will make the underlayment much more difficult to remove later. Staples for the underlayment are the best way to go. The gun will countersink them and you have a minimal hole to flashover. Staple every 4" over the sheet of ply and it will be going nowhere until you want to. If you are using luan plywood, for warranty purposes, make sure the manufacturer allows it as an underlayment. Armstrong does not (must be apa underlayment rated ply) and the others have very specific requirements for fastener schedules to use luan but reccomend not to use it.
 
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Old 04-20-05, 01:32 PM
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If you have a crown stapler, yes, obviously that's the best tool, but you didn't mention that. But if the choice is nails or screws, as you asked, nails are better. Unless each screw is countersunk into the underlayment, it will leave an edge around each screw that would have to be belt sanded down flat. No screws could be left proud, and the entire floor would have to be filled and sanded. Vinyl needs to go on a perfectly smooth surface since it telegraphs every imperfection.

With the underlayment nails that I mentioned, you should still fill and sand, but it's not quite as critical.
 
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