I would like to have carpet installed in the bedroom of my basement apartment which now has a concrete floor. I don't trust the carpet guy with this part because he suggested cutting corners and just gluing it and I don't trust the glue for this application.

I was thinking to drill small holes in the strip, use it as stencil to project spots in the concrete, then drill holes with my jackhammer, set lead anchors and then attach the strip with screws into the anchors. That way the strip is as firm as it would be against an OSB subfloor.

But it also seems a bit labor intensive. Is there a better way to attach carpet tack strip to a concrete floor? Like maybe drilling holes and filling them with some kind of epoxy that nails can be hammered into? That's a little easier but not much.

  • 3
    Mounting tack strip with concrete nails seems like a bad idea. It would take a lot of them to affix it well enough; it's flimsy wood, not cardboard. Also, it's in a basement, which is far wetter than most people think. I would expect wood rot. Nov 21, 2019 at 22:15
  • Could you hire a nail gun? Nov 22, 2019 at 11:47
  • There are large, rubber-backed carpet tiles you can buy specifically for basements. The size and weight holds them in place (some are also interlocking), and then when they (inevitably) get wet, you can just pull out the ruined ones and replace.
    – LShaver
    Nov 22, 2019 at 12:57

4 Answers 4


I have used a combination of construction adhesive and concrete nails. Doing it by drilling and an insert or a concrete screw would be awesome but that is really going to take some time

  • 1
    The few times I've installed them (I'm usually removing them) I've just used the nails that came with them and used a 5 lb hammer. Carpet installers don't seem to stretch the carpet the way they used to.
    – JACK
    Nov 21, 2019 at 20:54

Yes way too much labor.

Use powder actuated fasteners and loads specific for concrete. I've removed the tack strips from concrete and this is what held them down. The fasteners were maybe 1" long.


  • I have a bad experience with powder actuated fasteners, and a moved to screws as a result
    – amphibient
    Nov 21, 2019 at 20:08
  • 3
    one bad experience? I once hit my thumb with a hammer but I moved through it and didn't go cold turkey on nails though I suppose you can do most things with screws now. Nov 21, 2019 at 20:48

Tack strip for concrete, plus construction adhesive

They make tack strip with nails specifically for concrete. They're thicker and harder than what's in the usual stuff, but nowhere near as large as actual concrete (cut) nails.

That said, in older concrete many of the nails will spall out and not hold. The few that do can be considered temporary if you use heavy-duty construction adhesive also and give it a day to cure.

  • 1
    I removed plenty of tack strips that only used concrete nails and they seemed to hold well. Is there a big difference in using those concrete-nail-strips in fresh concrete (few months old) and older concrete(10 years old)?
    – JPhi1618
    Nov 21, 2019 at 21:32
  • 1
    Yes, as I mentioned. My 1950s home was a real bear. The floor was rock hard and would either spall or bend the nail over underneath.
    – isherwood
    Nov 21, 2019 at 21:33
  • 1
    I helped a friend lay carpet for two years. We used the tack strip with concrete nails with no adhesive, but I could see how the condition of the concrete might require it. The key we found was that you have to get the nail into the concrete in one hit. Multiple hits with the hammer will just cause the concrete to crumble. It is a major workout and be careful with your other hand. You do NOT want to hit a finger with a full swing of the hammer. I've seen it. It is awful and emotionally scarring even to a bystander.
    – Evil Elf
    Nov 26, 2019 at 17:22

I worked alot of high rise concrete buildings in my day. when it came down to securing plates and bracing for the next level form work [concrete cast in place columns and walls] we would use a #8 duplex nail and a couple strands of wire 16 gauge I believe [rebar tie wire] drill a 3/16 hole using a real hammer drill with a real carbide tipped concrete bit and drill down the depth of the nail length drop in the strands of tie wire insert the nail and drive it home. this is one of the best anchors I have ever used very cheap and can be removed if required leaving a small hole behind. drilling is simple and if you use the proper drill and bits it no more effort than if you were drilling into wood no matter how old the concrete is. try it on vertical or horizontal attachments it is a very good anchor for thin pcs. up to 3/4" thick. use a #16 duplex and 1 strand of wire on 2x4's same 3/16 bit dia. you'll be surprised with the holding power

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