Squeaky Oak Floors - Old House

Old 11-04-02, 06:11 PM
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Squeaky Oak Floors - Old House

I am continuing my efforts to renovate all of the hardwood floors in my 1947 vintage N.W. home.

I have 3 1/4 inch wide fir strips in the back rooms and 2 1/4 inch wide oak strips in the rest of the house. Both varieties are long grain and simply gorgeous, even in their current condition.

My current issue: the flooring squeaks everywhere. I was told by a friend to use nails to secure the boards from above. I can't believe that is the answer....so...

I tested a section 4 feet square by fastening them to the subfloor from below with wood screws. It seems to work fantastic.

How has anyone else solved this problem? Any tips? Thanks in advance.

Old 11-05-02, 04:17 AM
Locy's Hardwood
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That is one way to solve the problem. Sqeeks occur when the wood seperates from the sub floor and rubs with either the sub or the joists. it is rare to find any kind of underlayment in older homes. The underlayment is used to lesson the chance of squeeks. Your method will work but be carefull not to use to long of a screw.

Old 11-06-02, 07:19 PM
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The disadvantage to fastening the strips from underneath is restricting the movement of the strips that is enabled from the toenailing of the strips in the first place. The strips are nailed on one side, not the other so that the wood can expand and contract. Installing screws would mean that the strips are fastened in two places, or more. When the wood moves, and it does, it may split or buckle.

I would search for a better technique.

I heard somewhere about sweeping talcum powder all over the floor so it fell into the cracks and lubricated the strips.

Driving nails in from the top is not a good idea.
Old 11-11-02, 07:26 PM
Mark B
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IF you can get to the underside of the floor (looks like you can if you set screws into the floor from below), then I would suggest using wood shims or, even better, pieces of wood shingle (they tend to be a thinner wedge) gently tapped between the joist and the subfloor directly under the squeaking area. Be careful, and just tap the shim in enough to snugly fit in any loose area. Over-forcing the wedge will result in the floor shifting a bit and the squeak will probably move to another location. Some people advocate putting glue on the wedge, but I prefer not to, in case there's a need later on to re-set the wedges.
Old 11-11-02, 09:04 PM
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If you have the ability to get to the subfloor from underneath, have the time and don't mind feeling like a groundhog for a while. Screwing into the flooring from underneath won't be a problem. 3/4" thick by 3.25" or 2.25" wide wood won't shrink enough to split. Years ago their was a manufacturer that made screws that had no thread for 3/4" above the head and about 1/2" of threads at the end for installing cabinets. Check a cabinet hardware company of maybe the internet. The screw end pulls through the subfloor and into the flooring . The lack of threads will spin in the subfloor and the threaded part will pull the flooring flush to the subflooring. It's been 20 years since I had my cabinet shop so I don't even know if they make them anymore. 1.25" coarse thread sheetrock screws would be easier to find and might do a good job. While you are under there you might rollout some 6mil plastic as a vapor barrier to cut down on moisture coming up through the soil. ( It is recommended by National Oak Floor Manufacturers Association ). Also it will make the job a little less dirty.
Good Luck, former Alizona

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