How to Fix a Squeaky Deck Floor
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Doug in Alaska on the line who needs help with a decking question. Tell us what’s going on.
DOUG: The cabin we had built by a local builder, it’s remote. And what was supposed to have been done was a decking adhesive used on the floor joists on the three-quarter OSB tongue and groove.
DOUG: It wasn’t done. They put nails in and I’ve asked them since if he could go back at least and – they can’t redo that unless you tear everything up – to go ahead and put some decking screws in there.
And I’ve got kind of two questions. One, would it be worth it after he goes through and does the decking screws to do something underneath, at the juncture of the underlayment of the underside of the OSB, along the top of the – yeah, would that be worth putting some kind of decking adhesive in? And is there a gun that’s made that you can do from the standing position to put extra decking screws in from up above?
TOM: The answer to the second question is yes. First of all, let me explain what’s happening. When builders nail in OSB, they typically use a special type of nail. It’s called a cooler and it’s about a seven-penny common nail with a black rosin coating on the outside. And when you drive the nail in, it heats and the friction melts the glue, theoretically.
And then once it cools, it sort of glues in place. The problem is that it doesn’t always do that and as the boards sort of move and pull in and out of the floor joists that they’re attached to, because the rosin is on the nail, it makes an awfully loud sound. So that’s probably why you’re getting the squeak.
The solution is to screw it down. And do you have – what kind of – do you have a floor covering on that now? Is there anything covering that OSB?
DOUG: Well, no. We haven’t got any squeak yet because the cabin was just built about – finished the floor about – roughly two weeks ago.
TOM: Perfect. So, I’m telling you, squeaks will happen – I’ve just predicted for you – unless you screw everything down.
DOUG: Oh, great. Yeah.
TOM: But yes, you definitely can screw it down. Easy way to do that, by the way, would be to chalk lines where all the floor joists are, so you don’t have to guess. And then just go ahead and screw about six screws in every floor joist that goes through each sheet of plywood. So you do six on the seam and six on the next joist, the next joist, next joist and so on.
Now, as far as the screwdriver, there is a special type of screw gun that is specifically made for this and it has an attachment that’s about 2 feet long. And it has a cartridge of screws that sort of roll through it, so you literally can stand up and walk down the line and screw the floor in; you don’t have to do it on your hands and knees.
DOUG: Right. Is it worth anything to get up under the underside of the deck and put it – any glue or (inaudible at 0:18:40) the juncture of the top of the joists on the underside of the decking itself?
TOM: I don’t think you need to get up under the underside of the deck like you were asking earlier. I think that if you screw the floor down from the top, you will be good to go.
DOUG: You betcha. Bye bye now.