August 23, 2011

Paslode TetraGrip Subfloor Fastening System - Review

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Floor squeaks are the last thing a client wants to hear after shelling out the big bucks for a new home or a renovation. It may sound like a squeak to you, but what your client is actually hearing is, "...the contractor is a dumbass..." Don't be that dumbass.

Squeaks are usually the product of a nail rubbing against wood. Wood, as our old boss used to say, is "a terrible building material; it shrinks, it rots, it expands, it warps, it splits," and on and on (after a glass of tequila, the rant could go on for a solid ten minutes) and one of the byproducts of this lack of structural integrity is the squeak.

Seems like more often than not, the squeak comes from the subfloor installation. There are a few ways to prevent the terrible noises at installation; A) smear PL or Liquid Nail all over the joists before nailing off the subfloor or B) screwing down the subfloor. Both methods are sort of time consuming and using construction adhesive adds a significant mess factor.

Paslode's new TetraGrip Subfloor Fastening System aims at being the fastest kid on the block (as well as the strongest). The basics of it are that it's a nailgun that shoots a special (and we mean 'special') nail that truly locks the subfloor down to the joists.

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The centerpiece of this system is the nail itself. It's a strange looking bird, and dangerous too. Paslode refers to it as having a "barbed helix" design, which is basically a spiked spiral that runs the length of the nail. The barbs are far more pronounced than the rings on a standard ring-shank nail, which gives the TetraGrip superior holding power over its soon-to-be antiquated counterpart. So the deal is that you get the fastening power of a screw at the speed of a pneumatic install. Pretty sweet.

In order to shoot these nails, you need a special gun. It looks like a heavy-duty coil roofing nailer. Paslode sent us one to check out and as you can probably tell from the general tone of this review, we were impressed with it. We used it ourselves on some sample pieces and then dropped it off at a job site for a good long while. Everyone who used it was impressed. The gun is pretty bulky but that actually works in its favor because you're really only tapping it against the floor, so the weight helps things along. The nails load just like any other coil nail gun, and all of the standard operational items are in place. Our one complaint with it is the gripe that we have with all Paslode framing guns, and that is the fact that in order to change to bump fire, you need to remove a tick-sized rubber washer and move the entire trigger to a new location. There's got to be an easier way...

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We've only had the gun for a couple months, so we haven't truly been able to test the long term success as far as squeaks go. We do know this though: as we said earlier, the strength of the fastener ranges somewhere between "Ferrigno" and "Magnus Ver Magnusson." We pity the fool who installs a sheet of ply with this and then has to pry it up. We shot a few nails in some pine boards and simply could not remove them with a prybar.

To someone in the trades, this is a big revolutionary idea and we're impressed with Paslode for busting out with it. And as far as price goes, you're guess is as good as ours. Paslode is keeping this info close to their chest. At the moment, they're only selling the item direct to contractors and the cost likely depends on how many units you're looking at getting. This also means that the nails aren't readily available at Home Depot either, so you'd better double check your takeoff before you make that order...don't want to be caught short if you have to wait for a shipment.

For more information or to order, call Paslode at 1-800-468-7403

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at August 23, 2011 5:27 AM

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Recent Comments

Great review!


Posted by: concord carpenter at August 29, 2011 10:15 PM
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