We’ve been reading that many are foregoing that new home fantasy and turning to renovations instead. If one of your problems is a squeaking floor, you may want to read about these solutions …
In The New York Times, Jay Romano’s column “The Fix” always provides practical answers for problems related to the home. This time he consulted online columnist Tim Carter, from askthebuilder.com to help identify the causes of wood floors that squeak. Below are possible causes and remedies for you to experiment with …
Moving subfloor: “‘As you walk across the floor, your body weight pushes the subfloor down,’ Mr Carter said. ‘The Squeak comes from the subfloor moving on the nail.'”
Improper floorboard installation: Sometimes, “floorboards aren’t properly nailed and, as a result, rub against each other,” causing the squeaking noise.
Improper cross bracing installation: “…cross bracing– the one-by-threes positioned beneath the subfloor in an X-pattern between the joists to keep them from twisting. One brace in each X is supposed to be slightly higher than the other, leaving a small amount of space between the two braces. ‘If the bracing was installed incorrectly,’ [Carter] said, ‘the braces can rub against one another and make a squeak.’ ”
Sand braces: “If the bottom of the subfloor is accessible, you can see if the cross braces are touching. The braces can then be sanded or chiseled, Mr. Carter said.”
Squeak-Relief: Aluminum brace that keeps subfloor from rubbing against a nail by holding it “tightly to the joist by fitting into the 90-degree space formed by the subfloor and the joist on which it rests. A set pin is hammered into the joist through a pre-drilled hole in the brace. A screw is then drilled through another hole and into the subfloor at a 30-degree angle. Then a longer screw is drilled up through a third hole and the joist and into the subfloor.” (Available for purchase at squeakyfloor.com for $18.)
Nail it: “Shoot finish nails through the floor and into the subfloor– or, for an even stronger hold, use screws with small heads.” Make sure you drive the nails just below the floor surface, cover them with filler that matches your floors, sand and refinish.
Squeak No More: If you have carpeting, this device “allows screws to be used without removing the carpet. The kit….includes 50 thin screws, a drill bit and a screw with special threading to detect when contact is made with a joist (other joists can then be located because they are spaced 16 inches apart). The screws are drilled through the carpet, into the floor and down into the joist. Their heads are designed to be broken off with a tool that comes with the kit, leaving the threaded section of the screw in place below the floor surface,” making the repair invisible. (Available for purchase at squeaknomore.com for $19.95.)
Deal with it: If you can’t access your floor’s underside and you hear the squeak, your cross braces are probably touching, which would require you to tear your floor completely apart to fix. “Live with the squeak,” in this situation, Carter suggested.
The New York Times, “The Fix– Stopping the Squeaks in Wood Floors,” Jay Romano, April 15, 2009, Page D2