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I'll planning to replace carpet in the basement and will need to install tack strips on the concrete surface. I know they sell tack strips with presettled sturdy nails for concrete. So do people normally drill holes in concrete of nail size and hammer it in? I need probably special "enforced" drill bits for this?

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    Some add adhesive to the strips to help hold them down. I think this holds the best with the cement nails as I have them pull on older pads. I have never drilled for the tack strips or known anyone that drills them. New construction usually the strips hold well.
    – Ed Beal
    Jul 25, 2016 at 1:32
  • Concrete nails are hard and brittle , sometime the head area is a little softer. They can break, wear glasses. Aug 5, 2021 at 21:53

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The tackless carpet strips installed on masonry surfaces have short evenly-spaced concrete nails on every strip. They are set in position and with a well placed hammer strike the point of the nail penetrates the concrete securing the strip tightly.

Of course in the real world not every nail hit goes as planned. It's a good idea to have a few spares on hand as some tackles will be missing a nail or a bad hammer blow renders the nail useless.

If you can afford the extra time to install the strips with concrete screws (Tap-Cons) then the strips will be anchored better than nails. Use a 5/32 masonry bit for the small Tap-Con screw.

Some suggestions: If you do use screws along with nails 3-4 per strip should be enough. I found that 2 and sometimes 3 layers of tackles in long rooms will not pull loose overtime.

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  • I have not used Tapcon screws on tack strips. This would probably work better than adhesive because the Tapcon screws will prevent the strips from pulling up even on older homes.+
    – Ed Beal
    Jul 25, 2016 at 8:06
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I wouldn't use Tapcons™. Way too expensive. I use a 1/8 in carbide bit and then use a 3/4 fluted masonry nail or 7/8 in aluminum drive nails. Or you can glue it down with a good adhesive like Bosch.

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  • What is an "adhesive like Bosch"? I'm aware of Bosch as a tools and electronics manufacturer, do they also make adhesives? If so, I've not seen them in US stores I've shopped in.
    – FreeMan
    Jul 30, 2020 at 20:41
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If aluminum nails won't work for you or you're not a professional flooring installer I would not recommend installing the strip yourself. It is really easy to miss with a hammer and bash the crap out of your baseboards.

If you're insistent on doing it yourself, I suggest a method called "drill and plug":

  • Buy a 1/4 inch concrete bit and several 1/4 inch dowel rods.
  • Drill right through the strip into the concrete.
  • Tap the dowel rod into the hole and snap it off flush with the strip.
  • Then using a roofing nail of the appropriate length, simply hammer the nail into the rod in the hole.
  • The dowel rod expands in hole and holds the strip extremely well.

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