I am redoing the flooring in my basement and removed a built-in toy chest. I disassembled the chest and the floor 2x4's are attached to the cement with large nails. If I had to guess on gauge I'd say around 0. I split the 2x4's and have removed them, however I have been unable to remove these nails. I've tried hitting them from side to side with a hammer to loosen them, but after about 20 minutes have no sign of them budging.

Is there a secret to removing these? I don't have an angle grinder so I'm hoping I can remove them without having to cut them off.

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    Do you have a pry-bar? Put it on a bit of scrap 2x4 for better leverage. Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 20:06
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    get a Dremel rotary tool (or something similar) with some grinding discs and just cut them off. It's probably cheaper than a dedicated grinder
    – Jason
    Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 21:06
  • A large pry bar would be the quickest, but you do risk pulling up a chunk of the floor with it. I'd advise wearing safety glasses with these since they are known to shatter.
    – BMitch
    Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 21:22
  • One item to consider if you try to pull them out is that the nails will likey chip the surounding concrete and leave rather large holes. They can be patched, but I would recommend cutting/grinding them off to produce smooth results.
    – Borzio
    Commented Sep 21, 2012 at 3:33
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    Whoever built that toy chest must have been worried about it getting up and leaving the house. They very clearly wanted to ensure it would NEVER go anywhere. O_o Commented Sep 21, 2012 at 11:20

1 Answer 1


If you have acess to Dremel or other rotary tool you can use a cutoff /abrasive wheel attachment to cut them off. They may have been inserted by a power tool that fires them in with a gunpowder charge. If this is the case prying them out will be difficult if not impossible. You could try a Sawzall but these type of fasteners are very hard and you will go through a lot of blades. Some type of cut off wheel or grinder is the way to go. You may forgo the expense of buying one by renting one. If you opt for the grinder you will be able to grind away a little of the concrete so the nail will be below grade. You can then patch the low spots to level the finished surface. Be aware that any type of cutting wheel you use will throw sparks and if you grind the concrete it will generate losts of dust so use appropriate safety precautions.

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    This is another case of having the right tool for the job. I purchased an angle grinder and it worked perfectly, I had thought they'd be more expensive but they are actually reasonably priced.
    – jon3laze
    Commented Sep 21, 2012 at 17:08
  • @jon3laze Cheap ones that you may only use once or twice a year are affordable. I would invest in a quality one though if you find yourself using it more than once a month. Commented Sep 21, 2012 at 17:34
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    @maple_shaft I went with mid-level. I've never had use for one before, but I am sure I will find situations where it will come in handy. Also I prefer my tools have cases, the cheaper ones only come in a cardboard box. :P
    – jon3laze
    Commented Sep 21, 2012 at 18:06

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