Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

preparing for plates

I've been thinking about doing some under-floor in my kitchen, especially the part that used to be a back porch (can you say "boy that's cold on the feet") and all the recent discussion has convinced me that plates should be used.

However - there are a plethora (polite way of saying "s**tload" :-) of nails/screws sticking down thru the floor from someone using extra-long ones to attach underlayment.

What do you find is the easiest way to cut them off so the plates will make good contact with the floor?

grinder of some sort? nippers? $150 high-tech german tool designed specifically for the task?



  • Mike T., Swampeast MO
    Mike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928
    Dremel Tool--HA!

    I've cut more than my share of "shiners" and it's never particularly easy. Angle grinder is quick but tiring when working overhead. SHARP end nippers work OK, but "Popeye" forearms help. If they're drywall screws they're generally tempered and snap fairly easily with pliers.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 21,857
    An ugly job

    I haven't found any cutter or cliper that will cut flush to the plywood. An some of those underlayment nails are tough. Tough on the hands, as you can imagine. A real blister former.

    A small angle grinder (4-1/2") works, sparks a lot and stinks. Use adequate face, hand, arm protection. Keep a fire extinguisher handy!

    Or suspended tube :)

    hot rod
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • eleft_4
    eleft_4 Member Posts: 509


    Two long days on a 1300 sq ft ranch with a 41/2" grinder hard wood thru-out nailed by hand with cut nails. Two large coffee cans full of tips. Get a magnet on a stick, a full face shield, a dust mask, gloves, hat and wear long sleeves.

    When you are finished you will be in good shape for the drilling, pulling and stapling.

    If you are 6'3" and have guerilla arms it will be a piece of cake!

  • zeb_3
    zeb_3 Member Posts: 104

    Last time we ran into that situation my brother, who had tried everything from nippers to grinder, wound up marking a tube path, grinding that area and a few inches on each side, then just bending the other nails over with a hammer. We then took a 4" putty knife and ran it over the "path" to be sure there wasn't anything protruding that would eventually wear through the tube.
  • Troy_3
    Troy_3 Member Posts: 479

    The only thing we have found that is reasonable-- We cut 4" strips of drywall put it on top of the thermofin plates and jam it into the nails. My theory is that the drywall won't inhibit the heat much but it spaces the plates below the nail heads. I can not afford to pay someone to grind a house full of nails. No homeowner has ever been willing either. We have used drywall on 7 or 8 houses and not had too much trouble. It's not fun no matter what.
  • tombig
    tombig Member Posts: 291
    Die Grinder?

    How bout a high speed die grinder. I haven't the pleasure of performing this particular task but it seems the thin cut-off wheel and light weight of the tool would make it less wieldly than an angle grinder.

    Tom(not quite Popeye forearms)Goebig
  • larry
    larry Member Posts: 91

    I'm a homeowner who has been willing to prep the subfloor for plates by cutting all the nails. When I started the project I tried several different ways of knocking off the nail ends. Big nippers will get it down to a little nub thats easy to grind off, but it ends up being a two step operation with different tools. For me the fastest way has been to cut them off with a Porter Cable PTX2 pneumatic rotary tool. The head on this sits at 105 degree angle and is easy to maneuver and also see what your trying to cut. Nice simple one handed, one step operation-zip, zip, zip. The tool goes through a lot of air so you need a decent capacity compressor. I also follow hotrod's suggestion from a while back and keep myself outfitted in the right safety gear: Fire extinguisher nearby, hat, ear protection, gloves, full face shield and respirator.
  • Wayco Wayne_2
    Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,479
    Tis a ****

    My favorite method is to let my helper do it. hahahahahaha, oh, sorry. We hammer down what we can and use a 4.5 grinder for the rest. I just gave a price to a homeowner to put up plates and he got sticker shocked. People don't realyze how much work it is. The drywall idea is interesting. I wonder what the conductivity of drywall is????? WW

    To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"
  • John Felciano
    John Felciano Member Posts: 411
    Nails *&^%$#@!

    Die grinders and angle grinders are what we've found to work best.It does depend on the type of nail.First guy cuts the nail as close to the floor as possible with the die grinder and the second guy grinds it smooth with the angle grinder.

    Like HR said their are planty of sparks,smoke,and chips flying all around.It's about the only time I've considered a suspended system.

    To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 21,857
    If you go for the bends

    and the nails are fastening hardwood strip flooring, you would be risking pushing the nail (cleat)up. Or breaking off the tonge of the hardwood. This could cause loose strips and possibly a squeaky floor.

    Go for the worse of two evils and grind them. I like the pneumatic die grinder idea, with a narrow wheel. At least the tool stays cool! To the touch. And my, do they spin fast, add ear plugs to the safety list. Takes the electrocution factor out of the mix, also :)

    hot rod
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
This discussion has been closed.