Fixing Squeaks Under Hardwood Floors
LESLIE: Squeaky floors are driving John crazy in Florida and he listens to The Money Pit on WGUF. What can we do for you today?
JOHN: I’ve got a problem with a condominium that we purchased that was called a gut rehab.
JOHN: And the downstairs has the bedrooms and the upstairs has the kitchen and the family room and bathroom. And it’s all hardwood floors on the upstairs.
JOHN: What they did in the basement is they made it a downstairs three-bedroom situation. But they put – they drywalled the joists; so you can’t get to the joists.
LESLIE: OK. So, it’s strictly the floors on the second level, where you have the hardwoods, that are creaking and squeaking.
TOM: OK. Well this is actually pretty easy to fix. You don’t necessarily have to get under the floor to deal with the squeak. The key here, John, is identifying where the floor joist is and you can do that with a stud finder. So, if you can figure out, in the areas that squeak, where the floor joist is, using a stud finder, then sort of chalk it out for yourself or use like a wipe-off marker so you can use mark exactly where this is. The next thing you want to do is you want to take a finish nail – a #10 or a #12 finish nail – and I like to use a finish as a drill bit by sort of chucking it in the drill itself and then using that to sort of drill pilot holes through the hardwood floor.
What you want to do is use two or three of these to put them in at about a 30-degree angle. And then, once you get them in there, you reset them right under the floor surface; use a wood filler on top of that. I would recommend a wax stick. Minwax has one that’s like a – looks like a freezer pencil or a grease pencil.
TOM: And then you sort of rub that away and it disappears right in there and it should be nice and tight and quiet.
JOHN: So you’re basically screwing the finishing nail into the joist?
TOM: Well, you’re not screwing it in but instead of using a drill to pilot it, which cuts the wood fibers, I like to use the finish nail as the drill bit …
LESLIE: Because it sort of just spreads the fibers open …
LESLIE: … and allows for it to disappear underneath it.
TOM: Yeah it spreads them and it’s a lot tighter that way.
JOHN: Oh, that sounds great. Well thank you very much for your help.
TOM: You’re welcome, John. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.