We all know the difference between screws and nails. The design of nails is sharp with flat sides, whereas screws have ridged sides. These ridges are what make it easier to adhere to than nails. This might be obvious, but this small difference when installing flooring can make a huge difference in years to come.
Why would this matter? When floor is installed, the first step involves the sub-floor. It is this sub-floor that attaches to the base with the use of nails or screws. After that, the finished product is placed on top and if tile is used, mortar is spread across to attach the tile to the sub-floor.
As temperatures rise and fall, wood tends to expand and contract. When this happens the nails can loosen, which leads to board being loose. That is what is happening when you walk across floors and hear that annoying squeaking noise. Screws prevent this from happening because they keep the sub-floor firmly in place.
While squeaky floors certainly are frustrating, it is nothing compared to having cracked tile. That is the worst result of having a sub-floor that isn’t properly secured with screws. Once the sub-floor loosens the tile is no long firmly in place and become susceptible to cracking.
We bought our house with tile already in the kitchen. Over the years, most has remained perfectly intact. However, there are several tiles that have cracked due to the fact that nails were used on this portion of the kitchen.
It is imperative that screws are used when you install your tile. And if you do hire a contractor to install your tile, make sure they use screws as well. Remember the contractor is only under the obligation to install the product, so if they run out of the screws mid-way into your installation, they may switch to nails without telling you.
The floor may look beautiful for a couple years after the project is complete before there are any cracks. By this time, any contract that would require this being fixed has now been nullified. So, whether you are taking on a tile installation project yourself or contracting it out, make sure to use screws to effectively secure your flooring and avoid cracked tiles.