Repairing Squeaky Floors
LESLIE: Carol in North Carolina is dealing with some squeaky floors. Tell us what’s going on at your money pit.CAROL: Oh, well, the hardwood floors squeak. I want to repair them. I want to stop the squeak but I don’t want to ruin the floors and I’d rather not put down the carpeting. So is there some way I can take repair these floors without putting, you know, a new mortgage on the house or anything? (Leslie and Tom chuckle)TOM: Sure. Squeaking floors are pretty straightforward; they happen because the boards are loose and what you would need to do is secure them. So, the first thing is to identify where the floor joists are under the hardwood floors. You can do that with a stud finder or you can sort of measure it off if you can get underneath it and figure out where the floor joist is.CAROL: OK.TOM: And then what you’re going to want to do is – if it’s a hardwood, you can either pilot drill it and screw it down and you’re going to have to countersink it and plug it, which is a bit of a woodworking project or …CAROL: Right.TOM: … you could pilot drill it with a very small drill bit and then use a finish nail, driven on a slight angle, in a couple of different places and that’ll pull it down, too. You want to drive it in on an angle because it doesn’t pull out quite as easily. But if you do that, then you can just simply fill it with some nail filler.CAROL: OK.TOM: But you want to tighten these boards up and that’s what’s making the noise. I will warn you, though: just as soon as you get one spot real tight (Leslie chuckles), probably it’ll start squeaking somewhere else.CAROL: Well, I figure if I just do every board in – you know, every board right to the joist, it should eventually disappear.TOM: (overlapping voices) Exactly.LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Oh, my goodness. And that’s an ongoing project.TOM: Yep.CAROL: Yeah, and then I just go ahead and I’d use screws because I know that’s the better way; even though that’s going to be – oh, that’s going to be a lot of work to cover all those screw heads.LESLIE: (overlapping voices) A bigger hole to fill.CAROL: Yeah. Yeah. I’m going to have to think about this long and hard.LESLIE: (overlapping voices) What’s below? Is there any way to repair this from below? Can you get – is it a finished ceiling space below this floor that’s squeaking?CAROL: Yeah. Yeah, I had it torn out a couple of years back because of a leak but I didn’t think to fix the squeaks then.TOM: Well, this is not a complicated project, Carol. If you identify those floor joists, use a stud finder like we said and just slightly drill down and then nail at a slight angle, you’ll tighten them up and you’ll quiet them down.CAROL: I will quiet them down. I will have little, round holes though.TOM: Well, small, little, round holes which you can fill in.CAROL: (chuckling) Which is probably better than the big squeaks. (Leslie chuckles)TOM: That’s right. What will be less annoying to you, Carol?LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Exactly.CAROL: I think the small holes.LESLIE: (overlapping voices) There you go.TOM: (overlapping voices) Alright. And that’s – we agree. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.