Heritage Restoration, Inc.
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Getting the Squeak Out Of Floors

What can I do when the hardwood floors in my home are squeaking? Our home is about 50 years old and the hardwood floors on the second floor are squeaking more than ever.

Squeaking floors happen for variety of reasons, from seasonal movement, to shrinking framing to environmental changes.

Since it is the second floor, the repair gets a bit more complicated.

There are products sold that resolve the issue, although repairs can be accomplished using standard fasteners and some old fashioned detective work.

Tools

Drill

1 Box of 2-inch Trim Head Finish screws

Trim Head Finish Screw Bit

2- 13/64-inch drill bits

1- 7/64-inch drill bit

Counter-sink bit set

A variety of oil-based colored putties to match wood floor colors.

One buddy or helper.

Rag

Mineral spirits

Bar soap

Methods

Repairs from underneath are less practical with a plastered first-floor ceiling.

Determine where the squeak is coming from. Get a buddy to walk around with your head near the floor.

If individual boards move up and down, then it is the finish floor. If several floorboards move, then it is the subfloor.

Mark spots with blue masking tape (less tack means less finish damage) and mark if is the finish or sub floor.

Subfloor Repair

This repair is a bit more difficult. The goal is to refasten the subfloor to your frame.

A 50-year-old house should have joists 16 inches on center. Check the basement or attic to see the framing direction, which should be the same as the second floor.

In a discrete area, like a closet, use the 1/8-inch bit and drill down at least 2 1/4 inches. If the drill bit resists in the last 1/2 inch, you hit a joist.

Keep drilling every 2 inches perpendicular to the joist direction until you hit a joist. Mark it and then measure over 16 inches and try again, you should hit another. Transfer the joist locations near the squeaks.

Chuck (put in drill) the 7/64-inch bit leaving about 2 inches sticking out. Drill straight down into the joists where the squeak occurs.

Put a piece of tape ¾ of an inch from the bottom of the 13/64-inch bit.

Chuck the 13/64-inch bit, and drill in the previous hole to the tape line.

Chuck the finish screw bit. Have your buddy stand near the squeak to keep the floor down. Set the screw so it goes through the finish floor to the top of the subfloor.

Check to see if you still have the squeak.

Fill the hole by mixing the right color putty. Wipe off excess with a rag and mineral spirits.

Finish Floor Repair

Chuck the 7/16-inch bit. Drill at the location of the squeak, full bit depth.

Chuck the smallest countersink bit. Drill into the same hole and just touch the countersink head into the wood, about 1/8 inchor less from surface.

Chuck the finish screw bit. Gently set the screw so it is just under the surface.

Check to see if you still have the squeak.

Fill the hole by mixing the right color putty. Wipe off excess with a rag and mineral spirits.

The job is tedious. You have to be careful when the floor is a hardwood like oak that can crack easily, so be gentle in how the screw sets. A softer wood like pine can be more forgiving.

The easy option

Here is a quick and somewhat less effective finish floor repair. You take a finish nail about 2 inches long, use a drill bit that is a bit smaller and drill at about a 30-degree angle through the floor.

Drive the finish nail until it is about 3/8 inch from the floor and drive it the rest of the way in, using a nail set.

Fill using the colored putty.

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