Paslode TetraGrip Review
Paslode TetraGrip – Subfloor Fastening System
Last year Paslode introduced the TetraGrip sub-floor fastening system at the 2011 Builder’s Show. TetraGrip offers to help stop annoying floor squeaks and speed up construction of wood framed floor systems. The revolutionary new nail system includes a Patented nail design that looks like a cross between a nail and screw.
Drives Like A Nail. Holds Like A Screw.™
The key to the new TetraGrip system is the Patented nail. Paslode offers up the following information.
The key to TetraGrip™ technology is the proprietary nail shank design. It drives as fast as a nail, but rotates as it drives to bond with the wood fibers. The features that make TetraGrip™ a revolutionary squeak-eliminating fastener include:
- Rotation without destruction – the optimized barbed helix creates high rotational forces and minimal friction.
- Strong non-destructive wood interaction – efficient rotation eliminates wood destruction when driven.
- Superior withdrawal resistance – the barbed helix-to-wood engagement creates a high load capacity. In fact, the TetraGrip™ fastener is 2-3/8” x .113 or equivalent to a 6d nail, which typically requires 54 nails per panel, according to code. The ESR for the TetraGrip™ Subfloor Fastener recognizes superior withdrawal values, equivalent to a floor screw, which reduces the number of fasteners needed per panel to 38.
- Unique barbed thread – the fastener shank was specifically designed so that there is no smooth surface to rub on the subfloor panel, thus no squeaks.
Our Preliminary Evaluation
The folks at Paslode sent us their new TetraGrip to evaluate on our current house build project. The house that we’re testing the new nailer on is just over 2,500 sf of wood sub-floor. The framing consists of TJI’s supporting 3/4″ AdvanTech Sheathing. We used TetraGrip to fasten the sub-floor to the framing on the entire project. Here are some of the highlights from our preliminary use of this new nailer:
- Power – My first concern with a system like this is power. Today we use almost 100% engineered lumber for framing floor systems. This project is no exception with the 3/4″ AdvanTech on top of TJI floor joists. The Paslode TetraGrip pneumatic coil nailer is a specially designed tool that’s able to drive the TetraGrip fasteners. The new nailer had no problem consistently driving the nails flush with the sub-floor surface. As with any coil nailer there were a small percentage of nails that needed to be finished by hand but that number was likely in the 2%-5% range. I’d say this nailer has exceptional nailing power.
- Weight / Balance – The nailer is well balanced and weighs about the same as most of our large coil nailers if not slightly lighter.
- Ease of Use – While the TetraGrip nailer is a proprietary tool it works just any other coil nailer so it’s really easy to use.
Overall I was really impressed with the performance of the TetraGrip fastening system. We were able to install the sub-floor in the same amount of time as we normally do but with a huge amount of confidence that floor squeaks are likely removed from our warranty liabilities.
There are a couple of very small design issues that I think are worth pointing out:
- This nailing system requires a 3/8″ hose in order to supply sufficient air to the nailer. This in itself isn’t a huge deal but it does seem to put a pretty good strain on the compressor. You’ll want to be sure you have a decent size compressor on-site (a small pancake compressor would likely be doomed!).
- Each coil only hold 120 nails. This seems like a fairly small coil compared to ring shank coil nails that we used to use. This isn’t a huge deal but it does mean reaching to your pouch more often.
Where To Buy TetraGrip
Here’s the one issue I have with TetraGrip. You can’t just walk into a home center, building supplier or tool company and buy the Paslode TetraGrip system. The ONLY way to get this exciting new system is to work directly with Paslode to develop a custom proposal for each end user.
I’m struggling to understand the reasoning for this and the business model. I think this system is so good that it should be made readily available to any builder where he/she buys their tools. I certainly hope this approach changes soon so more builders can take advantage of this technology.
It’s only been about 6 weeks (at the time of this article) since we installed the new sub-floors using Paslode TetraGrip. Over those 6 weeks no one from our crew has heard any squeaks which is a good preliminary sign! Once the house is completely finished and acclimated to the warmer house temperatures we’ll be able to see if there are any squeaks.
What I can tell you is how well it fastens the sub-floor to the framing. I asked several of my crew members to try and remove one of the nails and they simply could not without breaking the head off the fastener. With holding power like that the fasteners are surely going to do a great job.
Paslode says that many builders are now forgoing the use of adhesives in the process. While it’s likely that will work based on how well the fasteners appear to be working we did opt to use an adhesive in addition to TetraGrip. If in fact the TetraGrip system shows little to no floor squeaks then we’ll reconsider the adhesive debate.
This product has really impressed me. In fact, it’s impressed me so much that I think all builders should use it! Repairing just one floor squeak could cost a builder thousands of dollars! With this system I feel MUCH more comfortable that we’ve reduced that chance significantly. Hopefully Paslode will open it up to every builder large and small.
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