Screwdriver/gun for subflooing? Rent or buy?

Gents, my wife and I are getting ready to update the floor coverings in our home. Typical early 1970s split entry home. Wood joist construction with 3/4 inch plywood perpendicular to the joists. After 45 years it is a bit squeaky. I guess if I had been walked on for nearly 50 years I would make squeaky noises too!

So the big plan is to strip out the old carpets and tack strips, clean up all the mess and then use a straight edge to find loose and lifted nails. I will probably use a fluorescent orange marking paint to put a tiny spot on each nail I hit with the straight edge. Then I can come back and tighten everything up.

Methods? My first instinct is to get a good collated screw gun, the kind you can hold at waist height, and set a screw between the existing nails and at any really loose joining areas. Then go back and pound down any nails that have back out a bit. Sound reasonable? Also, are these screw guns available to rent? I rarely see them at the big box retailers for sale. I am thinking of ways to NOT have to go over the majority of the upstairs flooring on hands and knees.

1 Like

Sounds like an OK plan - but here’s a few other thoughts:

On new construction some folks use construction adhesive and screws to hold subfloor down to prevent future squeaks.
This is not practical for you unless you want to do a major rebuild.

If the carpeting is good - and you don’t need to rip it up you can try this (available at Home Depot, Amazon etc.)

If you go the full route, you’re right that a gun that will let you stand up will help your knees and back. We used a Senco gun - but had issues with their full strips jamming - needing to cut them in half to get them to work right.
Senco also sells just the screwdriver-feeder for use with an existing scregun

1 Like

+1 on the Senco, I personally haven’t had jamming problems that were the tools fault, just user error, like short stroking.

But, I gotta assume your not looking to add a tool that you would rarely use hence the “rent” part correct? My advice, go with the method you described and instead of using a screw gun use a Impact or Drill AS you’re identifying the pokey/squeaky spots. I’d use 2" - 2 1/2" construction or deck screws(NOT drywall), I’d bet you probably not need more than a pound or 2 of them. I see why you prefer to save your knees by standing but you will already be down there finding the bad spots, use an old couch cushion, don’t have one? What day is garbage day?

Yeah, as much as we all like to pad the tool count, there is little to no reason for me to acquire a collated screw gun. So renting will likely be the best option. As for Senco, big name, been around a long time. I did do some web searching last night and there is mixed reviews on the Senco when it comes to decking screws. Some say it is only really good for drywall, others say it is okay as long as you treat it right.

Makita makes a model I can find only superb reviews for. However, I haven’t any idea if one is available for rent around here. Either way it needs to be done when it is time. I notice Home Desperate has a Ridgid model available for around 100 dollars and it looks like a Senco but I think it is cordless and i would guess a screw gun like that would eat batteries about as fast as you could feed them to it.

1 Like

BTW, forgot to add the current floor covering is going to be completely removed. Old carpet that is well past its service life. We will likely be installing laminate. Hence the idea about tightening up the sub flooring.

1 Like

The fastest easiest method is to shoot it with a nail gun. You can rent a compressor and a collated nailer and shoot 2 inch ring shank nails. You don’t have to get on your knees at all.

1 Like

I have always found that in the long run, if you think you might use a tool more than once, purchasing it is the best option. However, if you cannot budget the purchase and it isn’t available for rent close by, then buying one, using it, and then selling it on ebay or some other site (such as a tool forum), can cost a similar amount to what it might cost to rent and travel back and forth to pick up and return the item in question.

1 Like