Scott Alford, vice president of production for McLean, Va.-based homebuilder Miller and Smith, said he is always on the lookout for new technologies to make his company’s construction projects even more efficient. In August 2011, he heard about Paslode’s TetraGrip Subfloor Fastening System. The system features a pneumatic coil nailer and fasteners with a patented barbed shank design that rotates as it drives into the wood. The idea behind this design is to provide a system that securely fastens subfloor boards to the joists with no squeaks.

“We let the rep come in and do a presentation with a bunch of our superintendents and carpenters. We started laying plywood and got through it in about a third of the time. Then we tried it on a job. We had no issues there, so we started rolling it out to the rest of our jobs,” Alford commented.

The first test was at Brambleton, a master-planned community near Washington, D.C. The crew had already completed about a third of the homes, and Alford decided to use TetraGrip on the remaining 80 properties. For nearly a year, Miller and Smith used the TetraGrip system in the Brambleton development, then rolled it out to other job sites. Now, the product is a requirement in the company’s specifications.

“The only time we’ve ever had a floor squeak is when the carpenters use the wrong fastener—not the TetraGrip one—or they missed a whole joist. There has not been one case where the failure turned out to be a TetraGrip nail,” Alford said.

He added that even in cases when the fastener sticks up, it’s easy to “smack it down with a hammer. On the other hand, if you leave a screw up, the flooring guys are going to come in and either grind the screw or break the head off, which destroys the bond that screw has with the subfloor.”

He also believes the design of the TetraGrip fastener is more effective than a ring shank nail. “With ring shank nails, the shanks go all the way around. The TetraGrip has individual barbs so it twists and turns and torques itself down like a screw would. If for some reason a fastener is loose and you need to hit it down, that hitting motion simply tightens it back up. It’s almost like a fail-safe.”

When asked to estimate how many homes the TetraGrip system has been used in, Alford noted, “We probably have used it in 900 to a thousand homes at this point.” Regarding any methods he had to learn to properly use the product, Alford added, “Probably the most critical thing you need to know when using this system is the air compressor needs to be set to a higher pressure to drive the nail in. That’s it. We’ve been using this system year round with all the seasonal changes in humidity and temperature you’d expect, and we have not had any problems with it.”

For more information about the TetraGrip Subfloor Fastening System, visit