Every time you walk down the hall, you’ll hear it. On the worst days, when you’re really in tune to it, you’ll stand right on top of it bouncing up and down wondering just what to do. At night, when the house is asleep, you find ways to walk around it. But every day, you hear the tell-tale squeak of your subfloor; reminding you that there is a problem and you need to fix it. But how?
The key to avoiding the squeak issue in the first place, is proper installation and materials selection. But we’re beyond that point now; the floor is installed and you need to fix the source.
Mind the gap. If it’s already installed and you’re just hoping to stop the squeak at its source, look for gaps. The squeak comes from wood rubbing on fasteners or other wood, or gaps that have formed over time. If your floors are exposed underneath, then you are in luck. Have a helper bounce around on the squeaky spot above you until you identify the movement or gap.
Fill in the cracks. If there are very small gaps causing the squeak, you may be able to fill them with a simple construction adhesive. These are designed to harden as they dry and will fill small gaps and eliminate squeak.
Shims. If you can see a thin gap between your joists and the subfloor, try to use shims to fill it. Don’t push them in with too much force as you can create an even larger gap when doing so. Also, add a construction adhesive to the shim once you’ve determined that this solution will work for you.
Reinforcements. If the gap is bigger than a shim will repair, then consider using 2x4s as blocking. Line a cut 2x4 against your joist and subfloor. Use construction adhesive to help it stick in place, and drive construction fasteners with good holding power into the 2x4 and the joist to keep them firmly together.
Fasteners. Wood floors are often installed with hundreds of nails. These can come loose over time. When constructing a new subfloor, use SubLoc® PRO SCRAIL® which was developed to avoid subﬂoor squeaks that result from micro movement of the wood. When repairing an already installed subfloor, using a combination fastener like SCRAIL® can help you install with the speed of a nail, but have the holding power of a screw. Wherever you hear the squeak, try to reattach the flooring material to the subfloor.
Hopefully with a little detective work, you can locate the source of your squeak and use these tips, and combination fasteners like SCRAIL ® from FASCO America, to make it go away once and for all; freeing you from the fear of the squeak in the night.