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General: Repairing Squeaky Subfloor

Nothing is more annoying than a floor that squeaks every time you cross a room, and it’s embarrassing when guests arrive. While squeaks are sometimes difficult to locate, once located, they are sometimes easy to stop. The type of floor covering will dictate your repair options.

Repairing Squeaky SubfloorIf the floor joists and subfloor can be viewed from underneath, as with a basement or crawlspace, you may be able to observe the subfloor moving up and down when someone walks across the room above. Once you locate the area, there are several methods to choose from depending upon the specifics of your situation. Plywood that is moving up and down directly on a joist can be repaired by nailing a short piece of 2X4 or 2X6 (usually 2’ to 3’ is enough) along the joist and forcing it tight against the floor when no one is standing on the floor above. Before nailing the new board apply a bead of construction adhesive along the edge of the existing joist where it meets the subfloor. Then, apply more adhesive to the top of the new board to seal it to the subfloor, and then nail in place using #16 cc nails.

On areas where you cannot access the underside of the subfloor, you also have several options. I’ve successfully used #16 casing nails to nail through carpet (the small head pierces the carpet backing and is easily set flush with the subfloor) directly into the joist below. Of course you’ll have to locate the joists first. I’ve also used 2 ½” trim screws (they also have a small head), and there are commercially available screws and systems that are specifically designed for floor squeaks.

If the squeak is located under ceramic tile, and you can’t access the underside of the floor, you’re best to purchase some ear plugs as it’s practically impossible to do anything short of removing some tile and screwing the plywood in place.

 

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