- Repairing squeaky floors


Having your floors squeak every time you walk over them can be a very annoying problem.

Squeaks are caused by movement between the floor joists, the sub-floor, and the underlay. This problem can exist in older homes where years of use, drying in the wood, and settling of the home are the main culprits. Newer homes can experience this problem as well if the lumber used to build the home was somewhat wet when installed and has now shrunk as it dried.

Construction in older homes was typically wooden 2" x 10" floor joists under a board floor installed on a 45 angle to the joists. There could then be another layer of boards or plywood underlay. This would depend on whether carpet, vinyl or hardwood was installed on top. In newer construction, the joists could be either be 2" x 10" or engineered trusses under 1 or 2 layers of plywood underlay.

Access to the floor from below is the way to truly attack the squeak. If you have a drop ceiling in the basement you will have to remove some of the tiles to gain access.

Once you have located the correct area, (have someone walk slowly upstairs above you to make the floor squeak), you will probably see a small gap between the floor joist and the floor. Insert a small wedge into the crack as tightly as you can. A wooden shingle works very well for this.

Screws can also be used to attach the sub-floor to the joists. This will pull and hold the various layers together. Screw up through the joist on an angle through the sub-floor and into the underlay. This is where knowing how many layers of flooring are above the joists becomes very important. The screws you use must be long enough to go through the layers but if they are too long, they can come up through the floor.

Article courtesy of: Shell Busey

- return to the list of I-Handyman.com -
September 30th, 2023