View Full Version : Underlayment for vinyl flooring - screw vs nail

02-16-2005, 08:31 AM

In the past when I have put down underlayment before putting down a linoleum bathroom floor, I have used underlayment nails. I am wondering if I can screw the underlayment down instead

I am my working on the floor in my master bath. I removed the tiles and the concrete/wiremesh substrate beneath it. In order to get it back to an even level with the wood floor in the hallway, I am installing a 23/32" pc of underlayment.
I did this same thing in another bathroom in the house and it worked fine.

The reason I am thinking of screwing the underlayment down is that the bathroom is on the second floor, and as part of the remodeling I need to do do work on the drain pipes of the shower. Although everything is working fine with the drain pipes, I like to give myself as easy access as I can.

If I screw the underlayment on, it would be much easier to gain access to the drain pipes in the future, should that need ever arise.

I am looking for cons of using screws.


02-17-2005, 05:49 AM

There are several considerations mostly based on your floor covering requirements.

As long as the screws are flush with the underlayment you should be fine. However, depending on the floor covering you may have to cover the screw tops with a filler. Some floor coverings only use adhesive around the outside, others need the whole floor covered and a super smooth underlayment nailed.
I screwed an underlayment to the floor of our kitchen remodel one time, remarking to my wife that I pitty the fool that had to take the floor up as I went heavy on the screws. To make a long story short, I was the fool! We changed our minds on the floor covering before the job was done, the new one needed a super smooth underlayment. Still using used screws here and there!

Good luck,


02-17-2005, 07:47 AM
If you are putting down any type of vinyl, the underlayment must be perfect. If you use nails, they must be countersunk. With screws it is easy to drive just below the surface. In either case, you must spackle the heads.

With nails, you always have nail-pops to worry about down the line.

02-17-2005, 09:36 AM
Thanks for the replies. With nails, I know I put them every 4-6" based on something I read. Any suggestions for screws based on your experience?


02-17-2005, 07:23 PM
I think you need them at about the same intervals which is one reason many people use nails, cheaper both in labor and materials...my unprofessional opinion. You don't want the floor squeaking - the screws are better at that than nails, too.

02-20-2005, 09:57 PM
Where conditions exist for water damage to happen, I like to use concrete board instead of wood for underlayment. Installed, using the screw pattern you suggested, there won't be the creaks and the level will be more consistant. If tile squares are used, slight separation over time won't occur with humidity variables. Will the house be sold soon or do you anticipate changing it again down the road? Consider the bragging rights or the time you may save or have spent doing whats been done allready. It might take a few shakes longer and be a tad more expensive, but the extra dime will make the dollar spent pay off exponentially in the long run.