Q. We had a house built last year by a local home builder that has worked in our area for years. We are very pleased with the house overall, but one thing keeps bugging me. The upstairs floor in a couple of spots squeaks when we walk in the right area. We have called the builder and he has come out and added some screws in some areas but there is still some squeaking. Is there anything more that can be done? — Phyllis on Hamilton Lake
A. Squeaky floors have been a factor in home building since the beginning of time and most quality contractors have developed a procedure to eliminate these callback problems.
Proper framing techniques can virtually solve all potential squeaky floors. Today’s engineered floor joists and subfloor products can reduce potential squeaks. Factory controlled moisture levels of framing materials have also helped.
What sometimes is overlooked is job site storage and proper installation. The root of the squeak is when the wood of the floor joist and the subfloor has movement this will cause it to squeak. If there is a nail that has loosened it will also squeak when the wood around it moves.
If the subfloor is glued and screwed properly to the joist and the moisture level is stable you will not have any squeaking. Sometimes framing contractors try to go too fast and cut corners and their nails miss the floor joists all together.
If they don’t cover the framing material on the job site they are inviting squeaking when the installed material dries out.
After the fact there are several ways to solve squeak problems. If you have access to the underside of the floors with either a basement or crawl space you can add shims, glue or additional screws to eliminate the squeaks.
If the underside is finished and the only access is from above, the squeak location needs to be identified and screws can be added to eliminate squeaks. Special tools and screws have been developed specifically to eliminate floor squeaks.
Jeff Deahl is past president of the Builders Association of Northeast Indiana. Questions for the Square Corners column may be submitted at ba-ni.com or email email@example.com. Click here for more columns by Jeff Deahl.