Radiant Floor Heating Systems

How to Prevent or Fix your Home’s Squeaky Floors

By Mark J. Donovan

Squeaky floors are common in most homes, however it doesn’t have to be that way. Unfortunately in the process of saving a few dollars many home builders frequently neglect to use a construction adhesive, such as liquid nails, when securing the subfloor to the floor joists

Squeaky floors is the result of sections of subfloor edges either rubbing against one another, or the subfloor sections themselves moving up and down around the nails that secure them to the floor joists.

To prevent subfloor sections from rubbing against each other or nails, a construction adhesive should be applied to the top of the floor joists just prior to nailing the subfloor to the floor joists.

Once dried, the construction adhesive helps hold the subfloor to the floor joists, minimizing any subfloor movement. So, if you are having a new home built, be sure to insist on the use of construction adhesive when applying the subfloor.

If you are trying to stop floor squeaks in an existing home, the problem gets more complicated to resolve. If you have access to the underside of the floor, e.g. a basement, then there are a couple of solutions you can try. First, have someone walk on the floor above you while you examine the floor from the basement.

Once you have identified where the subfloor is flexing you can do one of two things, depending on what is causing the squeak. First have someone stand over the flexed subfloor to see where the squeak is. If the squeak is associated with the subfloor flexing over a floor joist have someone stand on the floor in this area while you install a screw diagonally into the floor joist and into the subfloor.

You will need to take care not to use too long of a screw that could penetrate the finished floor surface above. Also, just prior to installing the screw apply a bead of construction adhesive into the space.

You will want the person above to step off of the floor area when applying the adhesive to enable sufficient penetration of the adhesive in-between the floor joist and the subfloor.

If you determine that the squeak is associated with two edges of subfloor rubbing against each other, you can alternatively use a small block of wood to bridge across the two seams. Again, apply some construction adhesive on the seam and onto the surface of the block that will be in contact with the bottom side of the subfloor. Next apply screws to the block on each side of the subfloor seam that is moving. The screws should penetrate up into the subfloor, but not extend through the finished floor material.

If you do not have access to the subfloor, then your options become more limited. If the finished flooring is carpeting, the best thing to do is to remove the carpeting and apply more deck screws into the subfloor ensuring the deck screws penetrate into the floor joists.

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If the finished floor is hardwood flooring, the squeaks could be coming from the hardwood floor itself. You can try using powered graphite and applying it to the seams of the wood floor where the squeak occurs. This may or may not solve the problem. If the squeak continues you may need to remove a section of the wood floor and better secure the subfloor to the floor joists. You may also want to better secure the finished wood floor pieces to each other and the subfloor.

For information on how to maximize a wood stove’s heating efficiency, see HomeAdditionPlus.com’s Installation of Hood over Wood Stove eBook

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