How to Fix a Squeaky Floor
LESLIE: Now we’re going to go to Georgia where Bill’s got some squeaky floors.
Bill, where is this happening?
BILL: (inaudible), Georgia in my kitchen and family room.
TOM: Well, that explains it, Bill.
BILL: It does? (all laugh)
TOM: Yeah. One of the most common reasons for a squeaking hardwood floor is just expansion and contraction of the floor itself. And it’s usually relatively fairly easy to correct. Is this a finished hardwood floor?
BILL: It is.
TOM: OK. What you want to do is this. You want to identify where the floor joist is under the hardwood. And the reason it’s squeaking is because it’s loose. So once you identify where the floor joist is under the hardwood, what you could …
LESLIE: Can you use a stud finder?
TOM: Yeah, you can. You can use a stud finder.
BILL: No, I have an open basement underneath.
LESLIE: Oh, even better.
TOM: (overlapping voices) So you can measure it; you can figure it out. Yeah. Then what you do is this. You take a finish nail – like a 10 penny finish nail – cut the head off of it and put that in the drill and use it as a drill bit. Use that nail as the drill bit, spin it right through the hardwood floor on a slight angle into the floor joist. You’ll need to do that in a couple of places. When you get close to the floor itself, you stop the drill, unchuck it, and then you tap it in the rest of the way with a hammer. By doing so, you’ll have a very tight hole that goes through the hardwood which you’ll be able to sink the nail below the surface; use a little bit of a wax putty and you won’t see it. And that will quiet the floor. It’s a little trickier when you’re dealing with a finished floor than if you’re dealing with, say, a plywood subfloor. But that will definitely quiet it.
BILL: It does have a subfloor with the oak flooring above.
TOM: Right. But what I’m saying is if you had, say, just a plain subfloor perhaps with carpet over it, you don’t have to be quite so pretty. But with a hardwood floor, you’ve got to be careful because you don’t want to mess up the look of it.
BILL: Now others – I’ve had some people come out and look at it and they recommended putting a screw underneath through the sub-deck into the hardwood floor. That is not advisable, is what you’re saying?
TOM: Generally not needed. If you can quiet that from the top, that’s the easiest way to do it.
BILL: Alright. And I have one other quick question; maybe you want to answer it.
TOM: Sure. Go ahead, Bill.
BILL: It has that polyurethane finish on it and I have a six-year-old who likes to ride her toys across it. (Leslie chuckles)
BILL: No way to have a longer-lasting finish than a few months, is there?
TOM: You know, the quality of finishes varies. There are some professional finishes out there that have to be mixed that are two-part; that give you more of that gym floor toughness.
LESLIE: Yeah, you’re going to need something that’s more of a commercial grade than a residential.
TOM: Yeah. You’re going to have to probably get a better grade finish.
BILL: And how would I locate someone like that?
TOM: Well, a professional floor finishing contractor could probably use a product like Ditsa – excuse me – a product like Glitsa which basically is a two-part finish that mixes together and does a really, really good job. But it’s got to be done by a pro because there’s a chemical reaction that mixes those two parts together and if you do it wrong it doesn’t set up right or it sets up too quickly or it doesn’t do a really good job at all. It’s G-l-i-t-s-a.
BILL: Thank you very much.
TOM: And I see here, Bill, that you’ve recently installed some GutterBrush on your windows.
BILL: I have. Very recent.
TOM: Yeah, how did that go? Did you hear about that on the program?
BILL: I did and I called the company directly. And there’s an indirect reason I’d like to give you for GutterBrush, OK?
BILL: I’m in the south and squirrels like to get inside the attics of southern homes. And the GutterBrush discourages them from walking in the gutters and therefore getting in my attic and that was one of the driving forces I had for GutterBrush as well, other than cleanliness of the gutter.
TOM: Interesting. Yeah, so the prickliness of the brush is discouraging to the squirrels as well.
TOM: Hey, we’re going to have to let those guys know that.
LESLIE: It’s not like the squirrels are lumberjacks and they like to do that log-rolling competition.
TOM: (chuckling) Yeah, with the GutterBrush?
BILL: No, they won’t step on the GutterBrush.
LESLIE: That’s great.
BILL: And they use the gutters in a home sort of as a raceway to get inside and drill, you know …
TOM: Wow, that’s a great point.
BILL: And we’ll see but right now it discourages them. Maybe they’ll learn a lesson down the road but I doubt it. (Leslie chuckles)
TOM: So it keeps your gutters clean and keeps your squirrels away to boot.
Bill, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.