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I would like to put up some glass walls in a rented space that has hardwood floors. The issue is that the hardwood floors were replaced right before our lease and management is reluctant to allow anything to be screwed into the new floors.

However, the glass walls need to be screwed into the floor. The floors are a little slopey (especially near the walls), so I thought a good solution would be to use shims and a flat-lying 2x4 on top of the floor to create a somewhat straight "floor" and screw the walls into those.

In order to do this.. is there a good way to connect this 2x4 to the floor without using screws? Someone suggested "siliconing", but I'm not sure what that entails or if that would work here?

Thanks!

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  • Hi, welcome to Woodworking. "Siliconing" I presume refers to using silicone caulk/sealer. Two problems I see with this, the first being that it isn't an adhesive, although it can stick to some materials quite well.... which leads to the second potential issue, you'd want to be very sure you can get it off the floor when you're moving out! There's a decent chance that it won't peel off the floor easily, and/or that it could take some of the surface finish with it so testing would be vital.
    – Graphus
    Jun 26 at 0:34
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    "is there a good way to connect this 2x4 to the floor without using screws?" Nails. Not even joking :-) Although nails don't generally stack up that well compared to screws they are still a perfectly decent fastener (hence why they're still used to put together virtually every house in the US). And with due care nails can be removed leaving a neat, and most importantly small, hole in the floor. Even using quite big nails such holes could be filled with the right type of filler so that you'd struggle to locate them at normal viewing distance [contd]
    – Graphus
    Jun 26 at 0:41
  • ...but some nail guns shoot very narrow nails (brads or pin nails) that leave tiny holes that would be even easier to hide.
    – Graphus
    Jun 26 at 0:41
  • Many nail guns nails are ridged or with a glue that melts then immediately hardens. Use smooth nails and pre-drill the hole in the 2x4. Use a hammer.
    – John Canon
    Jun 26 at 20:20
  • Simple enough to avoid ring-shank ("ridged") nails when purchasing nails for the gun. Also, I believe it's usually paper-collated nails that end up having some glue on them (the paper is glued to the nails), so avoiding those, as well. Unfortunately, avoiding paper-collation usually means using wire-collated, and that tends to leave little bits of the wire attached to the nail and that leaves a bigger and messier hole and can be even more difficult to remove. I've pulled plenty of paper-collated nails (bad aim) - it's more of a challenge, but entirely possible.
    – FreeMan
    Jul 27 at 12:23
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My advice would be to eschew contact with the floor at all, except maybe with a frame covered in thin cork or felt (or silicone pads, if you want them to stick a bit instead of slide). This bottom part of the frame rests on the floor, and you hang the frame with suitable fasteners to suitable structural members in the ceiling.

Ceilings are much easier to patch than floors.

You want the ceiling fasteners to take most of the weight, and allow for a little movement of the entire frame (though if you do this right, the arc allowed at the bottom end will be minimal). But the point is that this is not a load-bearing surface, other than supporting its own mass. It is purely decorative. If you want a structurally sound "wall" it has to be fully fastened to three sides.

Securely fastened on the wall and ceiling, with sticky silicon non-marring pads on the bottom, should suffice for a decorative room divider. Which is what this is, really.

It needs to be said that making hard-to-patch holes in either the floor or the ceiling is an excellent way to not get your damage deposit back once the lease is over. If you are careful with the wall and ceiling such that regular plaster repairs work (this depends on the ceiling, of course) you should be ok.

Think of this as hanging a really big painting. You shouldn't hang anything else on a painting. But it should hang with sufficient fasteners making holes that can be patched. Sometimes paint is a patch!

Note that we haven't discussed the frame itself. This will have to be sized and constructed to accept the mass of whatever it is holding. So you may have to build a more robust "cantilevered" header than you think. The fact that it is supported at the far corner does help, of course. But you don't want this thing getting hit and twisting off the floor, and then torquing the ceiling joints such that it comes down spectacularly around someone's ears.

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+1 to the comments and the suggestion to use nails.

If you would like to avoid nails and screws at all costs you could create an entire frame from 2x4's that would fit tight underneath you ceiling. You could attach your frame to the wall(s) and ceiling and install the glass panes inside your frame. simple drawing of the proposed solution

I am not sure if this is feasible for your particular use case as I don't know how large/heavy your glass wall panes are and how they will be connected to the floor/walls/ceiling exactly, but maybe this helps.

Maybe it's also worth noting that you probably will get discolouration on your floor underneath your 2x4 no matter what method you will chose. Especially newly installed floors are most prone to darken/lighten (depending on the original colour) in the places that are exposed to sunlight.

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