Screwed and plugged wood flooring - best screws?

Phil S

Board of Directors, President
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
I am getting ready to install 800 sq ft of 6" wide t&g hickory. I like the look of a screwed and plugged floor so I am planning on adding 2 screws to each plank and plugging them with walnut plugs. The screws will be going thru the 3/4" hickory, the 3/4" subfloor and into the floor joists. What would be the best screw to use ??
 

Dee2

Gene
Corporate Member
Are you willing to pre-drill or do you want the screws to do the drilling?

The guys at RR Buildings seem to have some specific takes on structural screws. I know you are not into YouTube and it would take a bit of a search. I'll let you know what they use in what apps but they are not putting down flooring.

Sending you a PM, OBTW
 

Charles Lent

Charley
Corporate Member
Have you considered just nailing it down, but drilling plug holes and plugging the board ends before installing it. In other words installing plugs, but without the screws. Same effect, but much less work. My family room floor is three different widths of boards with the plugs at each end, but it is just nailed down. It's been there for about 70 years and was just refinished a year ago. I can send photos if interested.

Charley
 

zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
I was pleasantly surprised using GRK trim screws on hickory stair treads. I used these screws without predrilling the treads (only where the riser covered, used pocket hole screws on the front).

I used the structural screws in 2x hickory material without predrilling as well—pictured below. This was to hold the bed rail fasteners to the bed rails with 2.5 or 3” screws.
0DA8A8B5-FAA9-4C0D-BB73-08981D5B1D19.jpeg
 

Phil S

Board of Directors, President
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
Thanks for all the help. I will be pre drilling and using shop made !/4" walnut plugs
 

Alan in Little Washington

Alan Schaffter
Corporate Member
If your flooring expands and contracts due to seasonal changes, screwed planks won't be able to move like they would if just nailed- gaps will appear. It happened to a countertop I laminated many years ago. I screwed and plugged the planks to an MDF base- looked really great then looked terrible. As others have suggested, use faux plugs. It will go much quicker, too.
 

kelLOGg

Bob
Senior User
I milled and kiln dried hickory then had it T&Ged and installed for my office by nailing thru the tongue. That was 12 years ago and it still looks great.
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
I put pre finished hickory in a couple expanded areas in my upstairs in 2014. The stuff I used is rustic in appearance which I like. It is nailed down. But after pulling up other areas of oak that was stapled down, I would use staples if I did it again. They cost less and hold better. My HF nailer worked well for what I did and another good sized project a guy at work borrowed it for. It only cost about $100. It leaks a bit now but still works. I probably can fix it but, if not, it costs less than I would have spent on a rental.

So I would also add my vote to staple the flooring down but add the plugs if you want the look. You could also put in some screws where they will hit a floor joist if you want. But I am having trouble picturing how most of the screws would hit floor joists. If you use 2 1/2 inch screws you may also need to be aware of any plumbing going through the joist area. You need to sink them down at least 1/4 or so so even with 3/4 sub floor you will go over an inch into the joist or joist cavity.
 

Charles Lent

Charley
Corporate Member
Phil,

Here is a photo of my floor.

IMG_1056LoRes.jpg


Notice the alternating widths of the boards and the offset position of the pegs in the wider boards. This floor is 70+ years old and original to the house, but was professionally sanded and refinished last year. No screws, just pegged to simulate it, and nailed down. I have been under the floor and find only cut nails holding it down.

Charley
 

Gofor

Mark
Corporate Member
Cut nails are more malleable than screws, and as such allow for more movement. I would think they would perform better in the long run.
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
My hardwood floors were installed professionally with nails and an air nail gun angled into the tongue side of the flooring into the plywood sub-floor. NOT vertical nails. The t & g strips have remained flush and tight to one another.
 

Skymaster

Jack
Senior User
Phil I have to concur with nailing or stapling and faux plugs, floor HAS to be able to move, PLUS huge labor savings, HUGE time saver. I TRUST this is NOT prefinished flooring. IF it is how are you going to install the plugs and sand smooth without messing up the pre fin. I am sure you know this but minimum 1/2" gap flooring to wall on all 4 sides, base and shoe. LOL LOL Flooring school? Also again I presume you know, how long has material been in THE ROOM it is going into? should be 2 weeks bouts to acclimate out of the boxes laying on the floor
 

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