How to prevent a Squeaky Floor in your New Home
Article Summary: One of the most irritating things ever is a squeaky floor. If you are having a new home built for you, make sure your builder fixes the floor properly and avoid having to fix the problem after he’s finished.
Well, lucky for him! I know that I have a pet hate for any squeaky floor, there really is no need for them at all and they can just about all be fixed one way or another. I have lost count of the number of times I have walked into a brand new house and the first thing I hear is a squeaky floor board. So what causes squeaks and what can be done about them?Squeaky Floors – A friend of mine in the UK has an old house, well a very old house actually and he swears that he never hears any of the (many) squeaks emanating from the floorboards of this old house. I guess he has gradually become accustomed to the squeaks and groans of the old place and now thinks that they are “part of the furniture”.
Causes of Squeaky Floors
Builders can be a lazy lot sometimes and if they think they can get away with a short cut, they will invariably try it. Unfortunately, wood floors react predictably when it comes to short cuts – they squeak. Without proper fixing to joists and sub-floor timbers, movement will occur between the floor and the supporting sub-floor and the result is that annoying squeak. Whenever I fixed hardwood flooring I would always glue and nail the floor down. I am proud to say that I have never had a complaint because of a squeaky floor.
Another cause is nails rubbing on the sides of the timber as the floor board goes up and down when you walk over it. In fact, anything that rubs on the timber as it moves will cause some sort of annoying noise, something you will definitely want rid of. If you are able to look underneath your wood floor, take a look at what may have been fixed to it or to the timber joists. It may in fact not be the actual floor that is making that noise, but something badly attached to it instead.
Joists are a common problem. They are generally fixed to each other by supporting timber pieces, linking maybe each third joist to each other. If one of these timber pieces is too high, the floor may sit on it instead of the joist. This will allow the floor to move and creak.
The only real advice I can give is to be proactive in making sure that your builder does what he says he will. More often than not, the builder is actually only an organizer of trades and won’t do any of the actual labor himself. Make sure that you are specific in your instructions; labor the point that you will not be happy with sub-standard work when it comes to the floor, especially if it is one of the more expensive timbers. Some builders aren’t too happy with clients checking over their work at the end of a day, but personally I welcome it. Your builder may have genuine concerns about health & safety issues on the site, but as long as you are firm but polite most builders should accommodate you. Please be aware of the dangers that a building site holds. Don’t take the kids either, that really is asking for trouble!
A friend of mine had a builder say to him, “The floor is drying out, its unfortunate but there’s nothing we can do about that.” When I asked why the floor had not been left to acclimate first the builder took a step back and turned bright red. Never be afraid to ask awkward questions!
There is a trend towards using nail guns to fix flooring direct to floor joists. When used with properly placed glue, it can work, but more often than not it eventually fails. I personally like to screw and glue flooring panels to joists, that way I can be as sure as I can be that the client will be happy and I will be able to sleep soundly. Ask your builder how he will be fixing the floor.
In Summary :
- Keep an eye on your build daily
- Don’t be afraid to question your builder
- Check for use of damp or wet flooring
- Before plasterboards are fixed, check all timber for creaks
- If you can, Do It Yourself!
I am a great advocate of do-it-yourself. I look at owner built homes quite regularly and I have to say that overall, I think that homes built by their owners are much better quality than a lot of professionally built homes out there. So if you think you can, you’re probably right!