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getting rid of squeaks

3038 Views 20 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  user1007
looking to get rid of some squeaks in my floor at home
i believe the subfloor is 3/4 laid diagonally floor boards (6 inch wide i believe)
and then the original hardwoods
what size of screws should i use and what kind?
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Can you approach the squeak with a few screws from underneath? Don't use drywall screws. They are brittle. Use flooring or deck screws. That would really be the best way assuming there is no carpet on top or the floor. You may have to cut some of the sheetrock ceiling below the floor (if there is sheetrock) just to avoid nail heads or screw heads from being seen. If the floor is carpeted there is a kit which has a break-away screw that is invisible under the carpet. I am certain others will come up with additional solutions. Squeaky floors are pretty common. Solutions depend upon where the squeak is arising from. Some old timers swear that putting talcum powder between the hardwood slats can aleviate a squeak. Again, depends why there is a squeak. Could even be wood rubbing against a nail as opposed to wood rubbing against wood. Every case is different. If you decide to come up from underneath the screw should be 1/4 inch shorter than the combined thickness of the subfloor and hardwood.
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i am going to be carpetting over the hardwoods
Best way I know is from underneath.
Could be a few different methods needed. You need a helper walking around on floor to make it squeak, while you locate it underneath.
You often can see the movement in the boards, determine if you need a few screws to tighten it up, 1 1/4" should be fine.
Sometimes a wood shim with some liquid nails on it driven between joist and diagonal sub floor.
Or a longer screw toe nailed threw joist into subfloor. All the while with helper working with you to see what affect you had. Sometimes you may need to add a block in between joist glued and screwed. Is several ways and need to get creative and try a few.

You can just screw it from the top, try a screw here and another there, end up looking like you took a shotgun to it and totally destroy the floor from ever refinishing in future.
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not wanting to refinish it in the future so what size screws should i use?
i cant stand the squeeking
Even if you plan on carpeting, someday that carpet may be removed whether to remodel or sell the home so it is best to preserve the floor as best as possible. Someone may suggest driving a finish nail diagonally. This has little chance of succeeding. funfool's post offers some good advice.
Can you approach the floor from underneath?
If you really want to fix this right and never have it squeak again, remove the hardwood, add screws to the old floor boards and go over the whole thing with 3/4" T X G Advantec or subfloor rated plywood.
This won't help the squeaks---but ---that age of floor often was three layers---1x6 skip sheeting--the 1x2 sleepers---then the hard wood---

The gap left by the 1x2 sleepers was frequently uses as a chase for electrical conduit---especially fron the early 1940s to the early 1960s---

Many floor workers have sad stories about driving a nail into that conduit---so check first---

Once you know the way the floor is layered--the length of screws needed will be easy to figure out---
I don't think you want to remove the hardwood but if you do go that route understand that it is (in my opinion) unlikely that you will be able to reuse it. I know they do this on This Old House and make it look simple. It is not and a new hardwood floor can be very expensive.
so it is only the subfloor and then the hardwood
1 1/4 flooring screws long enough?
3 inch flooring screws in the joists?
You really need to determine the total thickness of the hardwood and subfloor since the posters were doing estimations w/o actually examining the floor. Can you find a spot that is not readily visible and drill a small hole, say 1/16 of an inch or so and then use a rigid wire put into the hole to determine the depth. You don't want the screw to go totally through the hardwood. That's why I suggested subtracting 1/4 inch. On second thought maybe you'd be better subtracting 1/8 of an inch so that the screw has more bite into the hardwood. But you need to be very accurate in your measurements as an error will mean the screw will pierce through the floor and you don't want that. As far as the joists go (and you may not need to do this) 3 inches to 3 1/2 inches should be ok. Again you want to go into the hardwood without going through it. You might need a pack of wood shims as well. I like the idea of being below and having someone walk around. It will help you pinpoint the squeak. Once you have done that someone can help you go from there. So find the squeak first if you can. Then you will know where the screws go and which ones you will need. Come back whenever you have questions.
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I saw some special type of screw for this very purpose. You drill it through the boards directly into the joists. It pulls the boards and the joist together, then the head of the screw snaps off leaving just a small hole which you can fill and stain. I want to say it was called Counter Screw or Counter Snap. Saw it on This Old House years ago and seemed to be a slick product.
Yes Thunder Chicken. The product you referred to will work and it is easy to use. I was trying to suggest a method that would leave no holes or screws on the surface. If the OP is not a perfectionist then he can save a lot of time and effort with that item. He may still need to find the joists from underneath however.
Some day someone will thank you for NOT destroying that hardwood floor.
what size of screws should i use and what kind?
For squeak hunting in my home (3/4 T&G plywood nailed/glued to joists...but sometimes they just missed and didn't care) I've been using 1-1/2 #8 wood screws in countersunk holes.

I bother with the countersinking to recess the screw heads without damaging the subfloor.

I use wood screws because they aren't threaded all the way to the head. That allows the screw to actually pull the wood together.
what about those screws just made for subfloors which have two different thread pitches?
I know of the ones you can use with wtw carpeting that work out fairly well. Depending on what the subfloor is, by the way. They grip the sub-floor and you break the heads off so you don't cut the bottom of your foot walking around. The upper portion has a non-spin shaft so if you are careful, you will not grab a carpet thread.

Broken antique T&G sub-flooring is a problem I encountered often and I wish I could say I found a way to fix all the squeaks. Straight nailing, at a slight angle, down through the finish floor helped to a point. If the T&G on the finish floor and the sub-floor were both shot I found you had to pull it up. The integrity of the wood was usually good but the joinery shot.
i bought that kit from menards but it doesnt have two different thread pitches, but they do make ones especially for hardwoods
Check out these. They work pretty good. However, I agree with the others, that underneath usually works best if you are able to access it.
Hers's an unorthodox possible fix that I thought of. I doubt that any one has ever tried it. What if expanding insulating foam could be injected between the hardwood and the subfloor at the point of the squeak or between the subfloor and joist? You would need to make a small hole through the subfloor but not through the hardwood. And you would have to be judicious in the amount of foam used. Just an idea. Might not even work and certainly not the recommended fix.
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