How to Fix a Squeaky Floor
LESLIE: Mike in Tennessee is calling in with a squeaky floor. Tell us about it.
MIKE: Yes, ma’am. We had a pop-off valve on our water heater go off and ran about three – about five gallons an hour for three weeks in our house.
LESLIE: Oh, my God.
TOM: Wow. Well it’s better than the water heater blowing up on you.
MIKE: That’s true.
TOM: And it did its job but of course, it made a big mess at the same time, didn’t it?
MIKE: Yeah. Yeah. A good hint is when somebody puts a water heater in, make them pipe the pop-off valve outside.
TOM: Well, you can pipe it. That’s right, you can pipe it outside. So, what damage did it do and how can we help you?
MIKE: Well, the insurance came and they ripped up all of our carpeting and our subfloor and everything and put it all back. And instead of going back with carpeting, we wanted to use a floating floor; a laminate.
TOM: OK. Alright.
MIKE: And now, in some of the places they did not take up, they used their meter to make sure that it was dry and et cetera but we’ve got squeaks now.
TOM: Hmm. OK. And it’s under the laminate floor?
MIKE: Yeah. And my wife is not going to let me put the new floor down until I figure out how to stop the squeaks.
TOM: Oh, OK. So you’ve not put the new laminate floor down yet?
MIKE: We have a subfloor down and then on top of that they put a ¼-inch structure wood, I think they called it.
TOM: OK. OK.
TOM: Alright. Well this is good because all you need to do now is identify those squeaks and get them fixed. Typically, the squeaks are going to happen right on top of the floor joist. So where the floor joists are, you’re going to want to reattach the floor throughout that entire surface and what we would use is probably 2½-inch drywall screws; these case-hardened screws.
And you’ll drill through the ¼-inch, through the subfloor, right into the floor joist itself and pull that flooring down nice and tight. The nice thing about using the screws is that they don’t pop out, they don’t loosen up, they don’t get – they don’t allow the nail to pull in and out of the wood, which causes the squeak.
TOM: So you need to rescrew that whole floor down. You do it with case-hardened screws; you do it with a drill driver. So, it’s a pretty easy project and it won’t take you very long and it’ll silence that floor. And you’re smart to do it now before you put down the laminate.
MIKE: OK. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.