I hope someone can help me with this problem. We bought this townhouse
two years ago. When we first saw the house it was empty. We had the
home inspection and nothing really was wrong with the house. Then the
day we moved in, after the movers were gone, we found that the second
floor was very, very creaky. It was really, really bad. The worst part
was the master bedroom. We called a few people to look at it and a
carpet company came over and they lifted all the carpeting and screwed
down the floors. It was great. There was one problem area, about a
three foot area next to the wall adjacent to the master bathroom (the
master bath has creaks too, but that wasn't screwed down because of
the tile). The guy put shims between the floor and the wall and it was
fine. We had no squeaks or creaks at all. That was done in May 2005.
By December 2005 the creaks were back, but just in that one area by
the wall. But this time it sounded different, like the joists were
making the noise. These were louder cracking sounds. We called
contractors about this and one guy came out and noticed that the floor
in that area dipped down a bit. He removed part of the subfloor to
check the joists and thought they were okay, except that one of them
was a bit lower than the other. He put a different piece of wood back
and suggested that we get all new subflooring and hardwood floors
installed. We weren't too sure about that and decided to get in touch
with the builder and the warranty company (the house has a ten year
structural warranty, and we were in the 7th year). They came to check
it out and said that there was no structural problems. That was in May
2006. A neighbor was there that day and he pulled the carpet back
again and screwed down the floors a second time. Again, no more noise.
Now, Dec. 2006, the noise slowly comes back and today it seems that
the subfloor is not creaking, but it is the joists that are making
this loud cracking sound. The sound also appears in the bathroom and
runs along about three or four joists and it sounds like the wall
makes a noise too. This is driving me crazy. It
is also worse than before. I don't know what to do anymore. I thought
it might be because there is one piece of subflooring that is
different than the rest of the floor or that the bathroom subflooring
is the culprit. I hope someone can point me in the right direction
about how we should proceed with this. Thanks in advance.
Of course the builder would say there is no structural problem , get out
a few pros to find and verify the issue in writing, so you know what to
demand from your builder now and in court if needed. Document and
photograph everything. The building inspector, an engineer, or architect
and contractor is needed. The inspector is free.
On Feb 7, 7:26 am, email@example.com (m Ransley) wrote:
It's possbile it's structural, but not that likely. It's very
common for floors that were done fast and cheap to have this problem,
which makes noise abnd is very annoying, but doesn't mean the
structure isn't sound or is in danger of failing. To be done
properly, the plywood should have been glued with construction
adhesive, as well as screwed or nailed (screws are better). If done
improperly, you have this problem, but I doubt it meets the definition
of structural in new home warranties.
When the floor was screwed down, did they put screws no less than 6"
apart along all the joists? In this difficult case, I'd put them
every 4" If that doesn't solve it, then depending on what sound
remains, I might consider opening the ceiling below, depending on
area, etc, so that you can inspect the suspect joists hangers,
nailing, etc. Taking out the ceiling might be easier than removing
The joists may be non-existent in that area.
I had a small section of flooring on a step 40" x 15" that seemed to not
be level, but I didn't worry about it. It had three 1" thick oak boards,
each about 5" wide by 40" long.
Last Saturday I stepped on it, and the wood gave way and I went down
into the crawl space. Amazingly, there was no sub-floor, and no joists
underneath. There were screws through the oak planks, but on two of them
they went into thin air. The planks were held together by small dowel
pins between them, and the front one was on a 4x4 beam, but the two
behind it were not attached to anything. The front board remained
intact, the two behind it collapsed.
These houses were built in 1963 with wood floors, and I think that it's
been this way all that time. No one does real wood floors with 1" thick
It was very difficult to repair, due to the tiny amount of crawl space.
I figured out a way to attach some joists, and put in a sub-floor, and
now I'm putting in some 1/2" oak planks on top of the sub floor.
On Feb 7, 9:00 am, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
When the builder came out to see the house he was with the inspector,
a structural engineer, from the warranty company, who said the joists
were sound. You are correct, this did not meet the definition of
structural defect in the home warranty.
When our neighbor screwed down the floor the second time, he put tons
of nails in the subflooring, at least 6 inches apart or even closer
I am just baffled by this problem. Could humidity play a part in it?
I am going to start calling more contractors to come out and look at
it again. But the last time we were calling around, very few were very
interested to even come out and take a look at it. The one guy who did
really wasn't too sure what to do about it.
Thanks for all the input!!
Sell the house and get a house with a slab and you won't hear any
Or face the facts. All housing is temporary and 2 story houses are
more temporary than one story houses. Nothing lasts forever and your
house is aging and settling normally. All houses age and settle.
Face the facts.
If it bothers you, then hire a contractor and ask for a 10 year
warranty that he will keep your house creak free. Pay him well and he
will come out every year or two and remove your flooring and tighten
all the screws and you will be happy.
On 7 Feb 2007 03:52:45 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
It is not normal, nor does anyone have to accept this. Sure, you can
have an occasional floor creak problem, but if the house is properly
constructed, a few screws should solve the problem. I've been
living 10 yrs in a 22 year old 2 story frame house, with basement and
I have not had a single floor squeak creak problem. And I've seen
condos, like the OP has, where the whole living room floor squeaks
like hell and it's a very real problem.
The most common source of this type of noise is well known to be
between the subfloor and the joists. It is caused by not using
adhesive and sufficient fasteners in trying to cut corners and save a
couple bucks, resulting in the subfoor being able to move ever so
slightly against the joists when weight is applied. It has nothing
to do with settling. So, tell us how this is going to solve
itself. Anyone that has actually had this problem knows it doesn't
fix itself. And that is precisely what the OP is seeing, because it
hasn;t gone away.
On 7 Feb 2007 10:13:33 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
It has everything to do with settling. Gravity is pulling some of
the structure down more than other parts, thus the change over time.
No, it doesn't fix itself, but as it settles, the repairs last longer
and longer because it settles less and less. Also hopefully, the
repairman gets better and better at fixing the creak.
And I agree with you as to the cause and cutting corners. If you
want it done right, do it yourself.
Explain how gravity is allowing the plywood subfloor to move against
the floor joists and only when someone is walking on it. First, you
dismiss the guy with flipant BS remarks and tell him to just face the
facts and live with it because it's part of a normal house. That
leads me to conclude you don't have a clue, because its a real and
very annoying problem that should not exist if a home is built
right. This is caused primarily by NOT USING CONSTUCTION ADHESIVE
AND ENOUGH FASTNERS. And nothing has to settle for it to start
squeaking, it can exist in new construction. The house I'm living in
is of frame construction, I've been here 10+ years, the house is 22
years old and there is not a single floor squeak because it was built
Here's a reference for you that says exactly what I told the OP from
the start, while you dismissed it as a non-issue:
Squeaks are caused by movement in wood seams between sheets of
subflooring, friction noise in tongue and groove or shiplap flooring,
and fingernails-on-blackboard rubbing against loosened nails. Stop the
movement and you stop squeak.
Throughout, you will hear me mention the use of construction adhesive
to reinforce and lengthen the life of the repair. Just a it has
reduced nail popping in modern drywall installations, construction
adhesive also reduces squeaks in subfloors when used during
construction. Unfortunately, for what I consider false economy to save
a few dollars, many builders don't use this product routinely when
On 7 Feb 2007 13:31:07 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
That's right, dumbass. Go back and read it again. The house you
are living in now creaked badly the first 5 years, then it creaked
less and less. By the time you moved in, it had finished settling and
you didn't hear a thing.
On 8 Feb 2007 03:36:19 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I don't really know as I'm blowing smoke about the settling. But I
would guess that you have a subfloor built with really green lumber or
else you have a terrible moisture problem. Something is moving and it
could be the lumber swelling from moisture and then drying and
shrinking. Or it could be temperature changes alone that is doing
it. It could be green lumber used for the joists and they are moving
back to their original shape and in so doing pulling out the nails and
Nevertheless I can't see how any contractor worth his salt doesn't
fix the problem after the 2nd call. Rip the flooring out and use the
necessary screws and adhesives and sealants to make the flooring one
solid piece that never moves again for the next 100 years.
Creaks should get worse - until they are repaired. The controversy
is why the repairs don't hold, not that the creaks are getting worse.
You hit the nail right on the head (no pun intended!) with your last
statement---why aren't the repairs holding. We had the entire second
floor screwed down and half of the first floor in May 2005. And then
the master bedroom floor screwed down again in May 2006 (by a
neighbor). The creaks are only returning in this one spot in the
master bedroom. I just cannot figure out why that is happening, unless
it has to do with the fact that the bathroom subfloor was not screwed
down and the creaks are traveling along the joists. My action plan is
to compile a list of contractors, have my husband call them (they will
probably listen to him before they do me), and hope some respond and
come to see the house.
Thanks to everyone for their replies!.
I have no problem with going into the crawl space and putting in a lot
of screws. Seems like I need 2" screws? How do I know where or how
far to screw without it going through the hardwood floors on top?
Trial and error (maybe with someone's help)? Maybe start 1" from the
floor and go 45' angle?
House was built in '57 in southern CA, if anyone is from the area and
On 8 Feb 2007 13:11:32 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
Can't you screw from the top?
If not and If you don't know the structure, then you can drill one
small (1/8th in) hole and measure so you know what length screws to
use. Patch that one hole when finished.
I see, now you say creaks should get worse until they are fixed.
Back a few posts ago you gave him
some flipant BS about it being just a normal part of a house, making
it sound like he's a whiner and you stated:
So, which is it? Does it get better, or worse? Is it just normal
and he should just accept it or does it need to be fixed? And you
have the nerve to call me a dumbass? LOL
I don't mean to hijack this post... sorry... but my wood floors creak
too, and I've always thought it was normal. House was built in '57
and has a raised floor. I've been living in it for over 2 years.
Can I put screws into the floors myself, or is a pro needed? Or maybe
it's too late for my floors? Is there anything I can do?
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