Our house was built during the Ford administration. The year the Vikings got to (and lost) the Superbowl — for the 3rd time. It was the same year SNL premiered. Back when Jack Nicholson was handsome (but still crazy) and I was less than 10 years old.
So, believe me when I say, in 37 years, almost every nail in the sub floor of our house has worked it’s way loose. No kidding, some days it seems the entire upstairs squeaks.
The basics of why the floor squeaks is this:
1. the sub floor (which is often a piece of 3/4 inch plywood) is attached to the joists (2×4’s, 2×6’s – something like that, which run the width of the house and is the main support). The sub-floor is the surface on which the floor covering (in our case, mostly carpet) is laid.
2. the sub floor is simply nailed to the joists but over time the wood expands and contracts from temperature, heavy furniture being moved around on it, etc. and eventually, the wood is no longer tight against the joists.
The way to solve the squeak is to fill the space between the sub floor and joist to make the sub floor tight against the floor joist again.
75% of that is still squeak free. I should have screwed it in rather than re-nailing. Lesson learned for the next time.
I don’t plan to remove carpet anytime soon so I googled floor squeaks – surely there is a way to fix the noise. Guess what! If I have access to the sub floor from the bottom it’s a snap! I just throw a shim (a little wedg-y peice of wood) between the joist and the sub floor to make it nice and snug in there – problem solved!
Too bad I don’t have access to most of the floor – it’s mostly finished basement under the sub floor.
Finally, I came upon this clever little product:
The idea is you measure out from the wall 16 inches, use the pilot bit to find the joist, then at the squeaky points you drill in the screws using the three point tool which stops the screw at the right point. The screw is a break away screw so it actually breaks off under the carpet.
Cool right? Well it was. MagPie’s room was where I started. Right when she hops out of bed every morning there was a big squeaky spot. Gramma sleeps right under that spot so I thought I’d start there. We found the joist right away. Drilled the screw in, true to their word, the Squeeeeek No More didn’t leave a hole in the carpet. It broke off right where it was supposed to. After about 20 screws we definately heard a difference.
Encouraged, I kept going. There were four more significant squeaks in that room so we got to drilling. In about 6 square feet I put 75 screws. Yup, 75.
The manufacturer suggests having weight on the spot you are drilling to make the sub floor sufficiently rest on the joist. I knelt on the spot and had at least one person stand on the spot with me to ensure good sub floor -joist contact. So far, no difference! 75 screws and except for that little spot by the bed, the squeaks remain.
I was a little discouraged so I put the drill and the Squeeeeek No More away. I think I’ll eventually use the remainder of the screws on a day when I can find someone heavier to stand on the spot. That’s the only variable I can think of that may make a difference. Besides, those 25 screws sitting in the box will call to me as an unfinished project.
So, until I pull up the remainder of the flooring and fix those squeaks at the source, there is no sneaking around our house!