Should I Use the Screw or Nail for Installing Subfloor?

Depending on the type of project you need to do, you will need to use screws or nails. But you may be wondering: "should I use a screw or nail for installing subfloors?" If you can't decide and need to find a way make the right decision, there will be several factors you'll need to keep in mind.

You'll need to do your research to figure out which one will fit your budget best. Next, you should explore which one is most durable/has the better holding power for your application. In this article, we'll go over all the important factors to consider when choosing screws or nails for subfloor installation.

Need to get your project done faster? Consider a pneumatic air gun and collated nails for quickly driving in nails. Screws can also be installed using collated/flex strips to install into application. This may require more time than a nail gun. There are a few manufacturers that sell auto-feed screwdrivers that allow for faster installation, such as Senco and Makita.

On a tight budget? Nails are typically the more economical option. However, keep in mind that not all nails will provide the same level of quality or durability that screws do. Some nails, like stainless steel nails, are higher quality and well worth the price in the end to maintain the longevity of your sub flooring.

Overall, you will want your subfloor to be sturdy and last for as long as possible. Therefore, consider whether you want to sacrifice quality or not. Consider opting for either high quality nails or screws to ensure durability and sturdiness for many years to come.

Sub-floors are exposed to heat and cold throughout the year. With this comes expanding and contracting with the changing temperature. You'll want to factor in the changes in your subfloor when selecting either screws or nails for your project. Choosing to install screws will help to ensure a tighter subfloor overall. However, there are a couple drawbacks to using screws over nails.

First, when the subfloor adjusts to temperature, the screw isn't able to move with the shift, causing stress on the screw. In extreme cases, the head of the screw could be sheared off. Additionally, if the screw is over-driven or if the wrong size was inadvertently used, the screw head could potentially break.

If you are considering whether you should use the screw or nail for installing subfloor, you'll want to factor in the level of holding power your project requires. For example, ring shank nails are a popular choice for sub-flooring due to lending excellent grip and holding power.

Do you want to prevent floor squeaks? Choosing a screw or nail will contribute to whether your sub flooring will squeak or not. Due to their flexibility under temperatures, nails overall contribute to a more squeaky floor. By contrast, screws will firmly hold the sub-flooring in place, which will help to prevent a squeaky floor for many years down the road.

A screw has a larger thread for gripping the surface of the flooring, allowing for much less wiggle room. Nevertheless, there are some nails from certain brands that provide an effective level of holding power. As a result, you'll want to be sure to research your screw or nail options to see which one will work best for your project.

Screws or nails? Your choice will ultimately depend on you. Overall, nails tend to have more flexibility, whereas screws tend to overall have more strength and durability. Regardless of your choice, when installing sub flooring, be sure to not sacrifice quality.

Jake Sales has been providing screws and nails for construction projects for many years. Please browse our large stock of construction screws and ring shank, bright, sinker framing, finish, and roofing nails, to ensure you have the best materials to get the job done! Questions? Please contact us at (406) 752-5253 and our knowledgeable customer service representatives will be happy to assist you.