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Dan Karachio
06-14-2009, 12:55 AM
Hi All,

I figured the SMC people would be the most knowledgeable for this. I have a 100 year old house with oak floors. I have squeaks in stairs and floors, some I can access from below in the basement and some I cannot access from underneath upstairs. In many cases I think the squeaks are from the sub floor being separated from floor. Anyone with real experience have some tips and suggestions?

Thanks,

Dan

Joe Pelonio
06-14-2009, 1:11 AM
Funny that you mention that today. I just noticed that my 28 year old house does that too. I figure it's the very unusual dry spell we have had, nearly a month without rain or even clouds which is unheard of here for this time of year. The humidity would normally keep any gaps expanded.

I have worked on old homes before, not quite that old, but in those days they didn't have ring shank or power cleat nails so eventually they are going to start pulling out as the wood dries.

There are many tricks and I have tried a few. One is to put blocking under (in the crawl space) in cases where the joist may be sagging from age. Most of the time of it's just the nail holes expanded so they could pull out you can still drive screws from underneath, just make sure they are the right length to penetrate the subfloor and into the oak without poking out the top.

Carlos Alden
06-14-2009, 12:00 PM
Dan:

I have a 1911 home. It's well-built and remarkably still level everywhere (nice rock everywhere where I live.) Downstairs is all oak, upstairs and kitchen is fir. Squeaks are a part of life in this house, and my whole family loves it. They are just part of the house's character, and I don't think I could fix them if I wanted to. I do occasionally re-seat nail heads that pop out.

Carlos

David G Baker
06-14-2009, 12:17 PM
I agree with Carlos. If you live in an older home the squeaks are an important part of the older home's character.
If you are the type that needs to sneak in late at night you may have to move to a squeak free home. :D
I had a home in Northern California where the some of hardwood floor in one of the bedrooms raised up at the joints. I ran a thin saw blade down the joints to remove the tongue, drilled pilot holes and screwed the boards to the sub floor. The wood was thick enough to put cap plugs over the screws. My next door neighbor had the same problem later but hers was much worse than mine. I did hers the same way.
Not sure how old my home is but I know it was built prior to the Second World War. It has its share of squeaks but not as bad as some newer homes I have lived in.

Julian Nicks
06-14-2009, 1:46 PM
There's nothing you can do to remedy the floor. If you have access to the underside of the stairs, you can use a good construction adhesive like titebond subfloor glue. Just apply a thick bead along all of the joints from behind, and the squeeks will be gone.

When I build a staircase, whether it's 2x12 spf that will be carpeted, or hardwood treads and risers, I always use a ton of glue on all the joints. There's nothing worse than a new construction house with squeaks, but in an old house it's definitely the nature of the beast.

Dave Garcia
06-14-2009, 2:57 PM
Hi All,

I figured the SMC people would be the most knowledgeable for this. I have a 100 year old house with oak floors. I have squeaks in stairs and floors, some I can access from below in the basement and some I cannot access from underneath upstairs. In many cases I think the squeaks are from the sub floor being separated from floor. Anyone with real experience have some tips and suggestions?

Thanks,

Dan

Dan,

In Japan, at least during the Edo period, homes were built specifically to have squeaky floors. That was to worn the residents that there were intruders in the house. A fore runner to an ADT system perhaps???

In any case, remodeling a 25 year old two story condo recently I had the same issue with regards to the upstairs floor. I handled the problem by taking out the carpet etc, down to the sub floor, found the squeaking area and then drove screws into the floor joists through the sub floor. End of problem.

With regards to open stairs rungs with the same squeaking issues, I had to remove each rung to check to see if they were cracked or not, and then replaced the cracked ones. When I placed them back in their place, I doubled the number of screws that held them in place.

So far, no problems. Hope this helps.

Dave Garcia :)
The Wood Block, Ltd

Ken Fitzgerald
06-14-2009, 3:00 PM
On a segment of Ask This Old House, Tommy corrected some squeeks in a floor. He had a special screw.....IIRC.....he predrilled a hole....drove the screw in but then the head snaps off leaving the a very small hole to be filled and the thread portion of the screw kept the floor anchored securely to the joist.

John Lohmann
06-14-2009, 3:02 PM
They work good on carpeted floors it's called squeek no more. http://www.worksavers.com/squeek.html.
These were used on Ask This Old House, I just noticed these looking at the web site. http://www.worksavers.com/countersnap.htm

Jim Mattheiss
06-14-2009, 8:37 PM
I used those screws to "soften" the squeaks in the oak floor in our Master Bed Room. They didn't fix all the squeaks, but they did reduce them dramatically.

My biggest regret is that I didn't do the same in the main hallway or our ranch house BEFORE we had the floors refinished.

Cheers

Jim

Neal Clayton
06-15-2009, 3:19 AM
Hi All,

I figured the SMC people would be the most knowledgeable for this. I have a 100 year old house with oak floors. I have squeaks in stairs and floors, some I can access from below in the basement and some I cannot access from underneath upstairs. In many cases I think the squeaks are from the sub floor being separated from floor. Anyone with real experience have some tips and suggestions?

Thanks,

Dan

deal with it, or sell it and buy a new house.

it's part of owning a building that old ;).

Cliff Rohrabacher
06-15-2009, 10:35 AM
I've always had homes that were older than 150 years.

They squeak.

However after being in 'em for a few years I know exactly where to point my short barrel 12 gauge when there are squeaks in the dark.
( factory short)

I even knew the squeaks my daughters made when they came and went in the evening. I''d knew pretty well which of my girls stepped where when they came in late. They each had their own patterns.


Squeaks can be very handy.

You can stop some squeaks by screwing from below. I think Lee Valley has some special screws just for that. You can stop stairs from squeaking by inserting wedges in between the stair carriages and the treads. I have glued 'em in with Liquid nails as it's flexible.

Neal Clayton
06-15-2009, 3:33 PM
i joke about the same thing cliff, the guy i have working with me on restoring the house says that "even a blind man could shoot a burglar in here".

the squeaks aren't as annoying as the center beam that holds up my second floor in the spring, it doesn't squeak, it pops and groans when the humidity starts rising after the winter, and not little pops and groans. it's laying in bed at 2 am and thinking "well, either the beam is getting situated again or someone kicked the front door in, we'll find out here in a minute" :D.

but again, that's part of the deal. if you want non-squeaky get a new house built of plastic, particle board, and PVC.

Dan Karachio
06-16-2009, 7:44 AM
Just toning down some of the more really loud squeaks, never thought I would make it silent. Thanks to those who offered suggestions.

Stephen Musial
06-16-2009, 11:07 AM
I had the problem in our old 1919 house. In the basement, I used shims between the joists and subfloor. On the second floor, I screwed the floor and subfloor to the joists. I then cut plugs from boards in closets so the wood matched and plugged the closet holes with new oak bungs. A little shellac and nobody was the wiser (just be sure to align the plug grain).

Prashun Patel
06-16-2009, 11:25 AM
I saw a cool program on Samurai fortress construction. Those floors were called "Nightingale floors".

Digression:
The woodworkers/carpenters trained as hard (if not harder) than the Samurai themselves. They'd take up to 1/3 of each day sharpening their tools. It was part physical preparation for the cutting and planing they did, and part meditation to focus their minds. They showed a guy plane an 8ft curl off a huge beam that was so thin and beautiful, I wept!

curtis rosche
06-16-2009, 12:12 PM
just cover evrything in epoxy.

Alex Berkovsky
06-16-2009, 2:41 PM
They work good on carpeted floors it's called squeek no more. http://www.worksavers.com/squeek.html.
These were used on Ask This Old House, I just noticed these looking at the web site. http://www.worksavers.com/countersnap.htm
These work as advertised. I also have a kit for hardwood floors (http://worksavers.com/cgi-bin/plugins/MivaEmpresas/miva?plugins/MivaMerchants/merchant.mvc+Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=ATCI&Category_Code=counter) and it does eliminate the squeeks.

Scott Loven
06-16-2009, 3:19 PM
I have heard of pocket hole screws from below.
Scott

Dan Karachio
06-16-2009, 6:16 PM
These work as advertised. I also have a kit for hardwood floors (http://worksavers.com/cgi-bin/plugins/MivaEmpresas/miva?plugins/MivaMerchants/merchant.mvc+Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=ATCI&Category_Code=counter) and it does eliminate the squeeks.

Do you know if you must find the joist from above? This question is for second floor squeaks where I have no access underneath. For what it is worth, for when you have access to the underneath, I have heard the old shim under the joist method is temporary at best - the best option is to pull *down*, not push up.

Cliff Rohrabacher
06-16-2009, 8:33 PM
the squeaks aren't as annoying as the center beam that holds up my second floor in the spring, it doesn't squeak, it pops and groans when the humidity starts rising after the winter, and not little pops and groans.

My deck does that in the winter as it contracts.
BANG in the middle of the night

Andy Pogue
06-18-2009, 5:18 PM
For a temporary fix, try talc or baby powder. Get a long nosed bottle (like mustard) and squirt where it squeeks and work it in, then vaccum the excess.