Can You Nail or Screw Into Laminate Floor?

Laminate floors are easy to keep clean and neat looking. Many laminate floors are also easy for the do-it-yourselfer to install. Once the floor is installed, you may realize the need to attach something like a closet track to the floor. Tacking into the floor can create structural weak points and buckling but is possible.

Man installing flooring
credit: Jupiterimages/ Images
Proper planning prevents later problems.

The Issue

Laminate is a pressed board with a plastic film giving the look of real wood. The pressed board under the plastic is subject to splintering and cracking when the top plastic coating is penetrated. This is why you should avoid the need to tack anything into the floor set in place. When possible, plan ahead for closets or other areas where penetrating the laminate floor surface will be necessary. Create the proper frame with brackets installed at the necessary points and install the floor around the brackets to reduce the need to drill into the laminate surface.

The Best Choice

Drilling and installing screws is preferred over nailing anything into the laminate floor. Use a flat drill bit at high speed to create a very smooth hole with minimal cracking to the underlying pressed board. Once the hole is created, screw the bracket in place. Nails don't always go in as intended with the correct angle and required velocity to prevent cracking or damaging the surface. Remember, once you drill into laminate, the repercussions are permanent to that board; you cannot sand and start over.

Improving the Results

When drilling into laminate, one of the concerns is slippage of the drill bit on the slick finish of the plastic laminate. Use a new drill bit to ensure it is as sharp as can be. Also, place a piece of masking tape on the mark to give the drill bit traction in the initial penetration phase. Make the hole large enough to insert plastic anchors into the slot, similar to those used in drywall. Secure the screws into the anchors for best results.

Quality of Laminate

The final results of tacking anything into laminate flooring will be contingent on the quality of the laminate floor itself. Many brands and degrees of quality are available. Check with the company as well as with the store representatives where you purchased the flooring from if possible to determine if your floor will withstand the drilling.

Kimberlee Leonard

Kimberlee Leonard

With more than 15 years of professional writing experience, Kimberlee finds it fun to take technical mumbo-jumbo and make it fun! Her first career was in financial services and insurance.