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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, we are building a new home in southwest Ohio and have encountered a curious problem which seems to have stumped everyone. I am reaching out to see if anyone else has experienced something similar or if anyone has any ideas. We are pretty much at a standstill until this can be figured out.

The problem is that our subfloors are “crunchy”. If I had to describe it, I would say it sounds like someone sprinkled sea salt on top of the floor trusses before placing the OSB subfloor. There are pops, cracks, and crunches as you walk across the floor. This is definitely not your ordinary floor squeak. (Note: I can provide videos if it helps)

Our new home is a ranch on a partially finished basement. The issue was first noticed just after drywall was hung and HVAC turned on. The home was framed in March of 2021. Products used are TRIFORCE floor trusses, Weyerhaeuser Edge Gold OSB subfloor, and PL400 subfloor adhesive. The subfloors are screwed and glued. The weather during subfloor application was rainy, on the verge of freezing (though Loctite states that PL400 is good to use on wet and frozen lumber).

Our builder has doubled the number of screws in one room to see if that would help…it did some, but not a lot. They’ve also replaced a couple sheets of OSB, which does seem to help, but it is difficult to tell to what degree as the adjacent panels continue to pop and crack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
…continued…

Weyerhaeuser, TRIFORCE, and 84 lumber are all involved and samples have been taken to the labs. We are a couple weeks in waiting on results with no hope in sight.

Thanks in advance!
 

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retired framer
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How hard was it for them to remove a sheet. I would have expected some of the board to stay glued to the truss which usually takes a little art work with a circular saw to clean off.
If they laid the sheets and tacked them and came back much later to screw it down the boards could be sitting on little stalactites.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So, one board they removed in the master closet definitely had some wood fibers embedded in the glue. However, I noticed that the piece they pulled in one of the other bedrooms did not. Good thought!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here is a picture in the window showing the underside of a piece of subfloor that was removed. Unfortunately I was not there to see the top of the joists.

658598
 

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Sounds like a classic case of someone using self-levelling floor fill to level the dips in the floor. Its a cementitious product and in thin layers it is brittle. It doesn’t flex at all. So it gets spread thin to fill dips, gets hard, the wood floor o4 ceramic tile gets installed, people walk on the floor and it deflects just a little bit … and the slc breaks up into pieces. And it soon sounds like you’re walking on corn flakes.

1A99B01F-C516-41B2-9E26-7C7F668797B5.jpeg
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Good thought, but no leveler has been used in the home. Tile work hasn’t started yet.
 

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retired framer
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Here is a playlist of 3 videos. The first is before drywall. Of course the insulation probably absorbed quite a bit of noise, but you don’t hear much. The next two are after drywall and hvac.
I would not be happy with that, the glue does not look like it stuck but that doesn't explain the noise.
Have you been below it while someone walks on it.
I don't understand the stop in work, the job changing it it will be the same with walls painted.
Can you slip a thin cardboard between the gap?
Can you take a screw out of the floor where it is noisy and show us a picture of it?
A screw with threads to or close to the head could be a problem
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I’m actually meeting the builder over there tomorrow, so I plan on doing some “troubleshooting” to try and narrow it down. Weyerhaeuser had sent a rep out and suggested taking a piece of the removed subfloor and putting it on 2x4 and walking on it to see if we can hear any noise emanating from within (maybe thinking a curing issue in the OSB / delamination).
Work hasn’t completely stopped, they’re doing concrete and grading work outside, and trim work in the basement, but they don’t want to do cabinets, floors, tile, etc until the subfloor is sorted. Not sure why they haven’t painted yet, only ceilings and color matched primer at this point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I just saw the second part of your comment mentioning the screws and the gap. I’ll see if i can check these out tomorrow. As for the screw question, can you help me understand your line of thinking? Why would a screw with threads to the head be an issue?

Appreciate all the comments and recommendations!
 

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retired framer
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I just saw the second part of your comment mentioning the screws and the gap. I’ll see if i can check these out tomorrow. As for the screw question, can you help me understand your line of thinking? Why would a screw with threads to the head be an issue?

Appreciate all the comments and recommendations!
If the smooth part of the screw is not as deep as the sheet is thick.
658611

Screw like this will only tight down if it strips the part in the sheet.
It would feel tight but the board can still be up a bit.
658612

That could explain why the glue might not be sticking to both properly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Just to follow up on this, we have received the report back from Weyerhaeuser and they are pointing to an issue with the adhesive (PL-400). Here is an excerpt from the report:

In an effort to replicate the noise, we tested the product without construction adhesive over 16” and 24” (simple) by walking/bouncing. We did this at 3 different weights (200,225, 250) and no sound was produced.
Construction Adhesive:
The cured adhesive on the partial panel and photographs (of joist) did not show wood failure which denotes that it was not well bonded. This seems conducive to creating the “crunching” noise.
The cured adhesive appears in a “spider web” as opposed to a uniform spread. - See Attached Images
Some possible reasons could be – panel applied then lifted, slight bow to panel, high moisture conditions when applied, undulations (high/low spots) from open web joists creating contact/disengagement when walked upon
I’ve also attached the referenced photos. This was my first time seeing the panel/glue up close.
One correction to my previous post, apparently the subfloor was glued and nailed, not screwed (though our specs called for screwed, the Weyerhaeuser installation instructions show nailing)

The plan now is to basically replace the subfloor.

Thanks again for the responses yesterday!
 

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retired framer
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Just to follow up on this, we have received the report back from Weyerhaeuser and they are pointing to an issue with the adhesive (PL-400). Here is an excerpt from the report:



I’ve also attached the referenced photos. This was my first time seeing the panel/glue up close.
One correction to my previous post, apparently the subfloor was glued and nailed, not screwed (though our specs called for screwed, the Weyerhaeuser installation instructions show nailing)

The plan now is to basically replace the subfloor.

Thanks again for the responses yesterday!
So they tacked down the corners and walked on it and finished nailing it after it was to late for the glue. Glue will form a skin in about 30 minutes so they need to be nailed down as you go.
If we have glue down and then stop for coffee we will scrap that glue off and redo it before dropping a sheet on it.
 

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I guess if the contractor is eating the cost to replace the the subfloor, and they're going to do it, then I wouldn't stop them. If I was footing the bill, I would try running another, fairly large, bead of glue on the joists and screwing the old panels down, in the same position, right away.
 
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