How to Repair Squeaky Floors
LESLIE: Jenny in Maryland is on the line with a squeaky floor. What’s going on?
JENNY: I live in a one-bedroom apartment for 28 years. And I’m on the second floor and the apartment above me is on the third floor and there’s a single family that moved in five years ago. And the floorboards are really squeaking. I called off this manager and she told me – they came and checked the floorboards and she told me that they cannot be fixed. And I want to know if they can be fixed.
TOM: Yeah, they can be fixed. Do you know what kind of floors are up there?
JENNY: They’re just like plywood, like wooden floors. I mean just…
TOM: Are they hardwood floors, by any chance?
JENNY: No, no, no, no.
TOM: Is it plywood that’s under carpet?
JENNY: Right, right. Exactly.
TOM: So, I think the answer is not that they can’t be fixed but she doesn’t want to fix it because here’s what has to happen. The reason you get squeaks in floors is because the board is either rubbing against the beam below or it’s rubbing against another board, if it’s the case of sort of multiple layers of plywood in this scenario. Or the nail that was used to drive the – attach the plywood to the floor joist, sometimes the nail will loosen up and then rub in and out of the floor joist and that will make a sound.
The solution in either case is to re-secure the subfloor and here’s how that has to happen the right way: that is to pull the carpet up and then to go, basically, beam by beam and not nail but screw the subfloor down to the floor joist below. Instead of using flooring nails, you would use, say, a 3-inch drywall screw – a case-hardened screw. And basically, that will secure that plywood and everything below it down to the floor joist. Doing that in every room where it’s squeaking will dramatically reduce the floor movement and hence, dramatically reduce the floor squeaks.
JENNY: Well, I appreciate your time.
TOM: Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.