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Repair a Squeaking Floor

  • Transcript

    SUE: Jim in Nevada listens to The Money Pit on KBZZ. And you’ve got squeaky floors. Tell us about it.

    JIM: Well, our house was built in 1939 and we – mostly in the high traffic areas we have a lot of squeaking but I’m not sure where it’s coming from. I’m not sure if it’s coming from the subfloor, which is, I think they’re like 1×6 planks like and (INAUDIBLE) between that and the joist or if it’s coming from between the subfloor and the hardwood floor itself.

    TOM: Well, have you been walking around and sort of trying to zone in on where the squeaks are coming from; stepping carefully?

    JIM: Yeah, we’ve been walking around and like I say, mostly in the high-traffic areas. And I’m going – we have like a half-basement and I’ve been walking down there to see if there’s any gaps between the subfloor and the joists and I’m not seeing a lot there. Nothing.

    TOM: Well, regardless of whether or not it’s between the subfloor and the joists …

    LESLIE: It’s happening.

    TOM: … or the subfloor and the hardwood floor, in either case it’s being caused by movement in the floor and if you can arrest that movement you should be quieting those joists.

    Now, there’s two ways to do this. The easiest way is if you can locate the floor joists and you can do that with a stud finder so you know exactly where – you know, you know which direction they’re going but you can figure out exactly where it is. Then what you want to do is pilot hole a very small hole in that wood, in that hardwood, so that you can drive a finish nail in there. The best kinds of finish nails are like #10 or #12 hot-dipped galvanized nails because they have sort of a very rough surface and they tend to hold really well. And you put them in at a slight angle and then you drive the head right through the surface of the hardwood floor so all you have now is this little dot that has to be filled in and you can fill them in with one of those wax pencils that Minwax makes or something like that.

    JIM: OK.

    TOM: And you’ll have to do that in a couple of places.

    Now, the second way to do this is to drill and screw it down but then, of course, you’re going to have to use a plug in that floor …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: … and that’s going to require a little bit of refinishing. But the idea here is to secure the floor. So, I would take the noisiest, loosest areas and work on that kind of one nail at a time. And if you do it right you won’t see the nails once they’re installed and it will quiet down that floor quite nicely.

    JIM: Will I have to put a lot of weight on that or will the nail suck it up itself?

    TOM: You mean will it pull it down itself?

    JIM: Right.

    TOM: I think the nail will pull it down pretty nicely.

    JIM: OK. Alright. So I’m not going to have to put a lot of weight on that to …

    TOM: No, I don’t think so.

    JIM: OK. Alright, well …

    TOM: Alright, Jim?

    JIM: I really appreciate that.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. The website is MoneyPit.com. This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show.

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