Sill plates (or sole plates) are the pieces of wood that you nail your stud frame to in order to stand your walls. Nailing the sill plate to the concrete slab can be difficult unless you know how to use concrete nails. There are two tricks that make driving a concrete nail into concrete easy. The first involves preparing the concrete surface to receive the nail and the second involves using the right hammer to drive it. You will need a hammer that has a steel head that is softer then the nail or either the nail or the hammer head will chip when they are struck together.
Scratch an "X" in the surface of your concrete slab where you want to drive your nail using the edge of a flat head screwdriver. You want to break through the hard, smooth finish of the slab to get to the unfinished and softer concrete below.
Place the tip of your concrete nail into the centre of the "X" you scratched. Hold the nail straight up and down.
Put on your safety glasses. (Flying concrete can cause serious damage.)
Tap the head of the concrete nail with a drilling hammer or ball peen hammer until the tip of the nail enters the concrete. This is called "starting the nail."
Drive the nail into the concrete all the way using short, sharp blows with the hammer to the head.
To nail through wood into concrete, start the nail (without the wood) and then remove the nail from the concrete. Drive the nail through your wood until the point comes out the bottom of the wood. Line up your wood and nail with the starting point you made (you will feel it click into place when it is over the starting point) and then drive the nail through the wood and into the concrete.
Do not use a standard carpenter's hammer (roofing or framing) to drive a concrete nail into concrete. The hardened steel in the hammer can cause either the hammer head or nail to chip, causing injury from flying metal.