LESLIE: Time to talk tiles with Greg in New Jersey. What can we help you with today?
GREG: Oh, right. I really enjoy your show. It gets me to challenge myself and do some projects – new projects around the house and …
LESLIE: Alright, glad to help.
GREG: Oh, great. And one such project was I tiled a couple of rooms in the house; did a kitchen, a bathroom and an area in the basement. And the area in the basement came out just fine and the other two rooms, couple of spots, when you walk on them, you hear a little bit – a little click.
TOM: A click, huh?
GREG: So I’m wondering if there’s, you know, any sort of quick-fix without having to pull out a whole roomful of tile.
LESLIE: Hmm. Greg, is it in one specific area in each room? Are they relative to one another or is it the entire floor?
GREG: Not relative to one another but it is in one specific area.
TOM: Hmm. Well, if you have movement in a floor like that it’s got to be, most likely, the floor joist below or sometimes there’s space between the subfloor and the joist. Now, if you can’t access that from below, the problem with ceramic tile is you can’t access it from the top either. So you really don’t have any choice here except to live with it because probably what’s happening is you have a gap between the floor joist and the subfloor and the way to fix that is to either secure the subfloor and you can do that if you have any other kind of material that could be disassembled, like carpet; even hardwood or even laminate can be taken apart. Ceramic tile, you can’t really take it apart. So working on it from the top down is a problem, which means your only option is to cut it open from the bottom. Before you do that, though …
LESLIE: I mean patching drywall is a far easier project than retiling a whole area of the floor.
TOM: Yeah, exactly but if you’re only having a little bit of click there I probably would learn to live with it.
GREG: OK, well one room I do have access from the basement and the other room I guess I’ll live with it. Thank you very much.
TOM: Well, if you have access from the basement you want to have somebody walk on top of that tile where the noise is and watch the floor joists below and look for the area between the subfloor and the joist. If you see some movement you can take some shims – like a piece of cedar shingle or something like that – and put some glue on the end of it and then very carefully tap it into that space. Don’t go too far because you’ll push up the floor above it if you do, but just make it snug and that will tighten that up and it’s also a good way to fix squeaks in a floor.
GREG: Thank you very much. You just solved another problem (Leslie chuckles) I didn’t’ have a chance to ask.