How to Fix a Squeaky Floor Under Vinyl Tile
LESLIE: Now we’re going to take a call from Alabama where Bud has squeaky floors.
Uh-oh, that’s a noisy problem, Bud. So which floors are squeaking and creaking?
BUD: I have a two-story house and a full basement in the bottom. When we were building the house, before we got the roof on it, (inaudible) raining on us and I only had my subfloor down. So I had to come back put another subfloor down because that one started warping [with me] (ph).
BUD: But the guys that were doing it – I got another subfloor, 3/4-inch plywood, and some Liquid Nail and I told them to put the Liquid Nail on the back of it, put it down, and screw it down and I went out of town. When I got back, they had not used not one tube of Liquid Nail. I fell over it when I went in the front door. (Tom and Leslie chuckle) And my floor has squeaked ever since.
TOM: And did they screw it down?
BUD: No, they nailed it down with a nail gun.
TOM: Ugh. Oh, man.
LESLIE: Well, that’s the problem.
TOM: Well, there’s your problem right there. Now what do you have on top of that now?
TOM: Oh, man.
LESLIE: Can you get it from underneath?
BUD: No ma’am.
TOM: Well, I tell you, they really have stuck you on this one, man. Because …
BUD: That’s what I figured.
TOM: Yeah. You know, if you had any other material there but tile, we could probably talk about some ideas. We’re going to have to get really creative on this.
LESLIE: Is it worth it to sort of chip out a tile here and there?
TOM: You know, that’s exactly what I was thinking but I wasn’t thinking the tile. I was thinking of the grout.
TOM: You know, if we could identify the exact position of the …
LESLIE: How wide is your grout spacing?
LESLIE: How wide is your grout?
BUD: What we used was like a peel-and-stick tile.
TOM: Oh. Oh, oh. OK. Alright. Well, alright. So then I think what we’re going to talk about here is you sacrificing your floor. Yeah. If you want to replace this floor, maybe putting a laminate floor on it or something like that, it’s going to be a lot more durable than a peel-and-stick tile. Then what you want to do – see, Les and I, we thought you were talking about ceramic tile.
BUD: No, no.
TOM: But if you’ve just got a peel-and-stick tile, that’s an OK floor but it’s not really very durable. And so I’m not quite sure how many years it would last you anyway. But the idea here is this. What you need to do is you need to identify the floor joists beneath the subfloor and then you need to go through every 12 to 18 inches …
LESLIE: Would any good deep scan stud finder locate those?
TOM: Yeah, exactly. I think a Black&Decker stud finder or a Zircon, like the i700 stud finder, would find this and locate those joists exactly. Once you locate the joists, you’re going to want to screw – with a screw that’s long enough; probably about a 2-1/2-inch case hardened drywall screw – and screw right through that vinyl tile, right through the subfloor into the joists and really tighten that material up because the reason it’s squeaking is because the floor is moving. And there’s two kinds of squeaks. You either get squeaks where the boards rub against each other or you get squeaks where the nails pull in and out of the floor joist. In either case, if you tighten it up it’s going to get a lot quieter.
But unfortunately, there’s no way that you can really do this and save the peel-and-stick vinyl unless you were to peel up certain tiles; assuming you could get replacement tiles and then put them back down again.
But when you get ready to do this, if you’re thinking about changing your floor, you might to look at a laminate floor, which is not that much more money than a vinyl tile floor and it’s actually much more durable.
TOM: OK, Bud?
BUD: OK, I appreciate it.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.