Oak floors

My house was built in '72, I moved in in '79. Probably in the mid 80's the upstairs floor started to squeak but it sounded like it was between the subfloor and the oak flooring - more like it settled when I walked on it. Over the years it has occured in most of the upstairs rooms. It also has a few regular squeaks beneath the subflooring but those are of little concern. It just sounds as if the the oak is shifting on the subfloor. I suspect that, if the way the rest of the house is built is any indication, that the builders didn't use an adequate number of fasteners. My best guess repair is to use a couple of screws on each board to snug the two layers back together. I'd have already given this a try but I'm finding it is not easy to find white oak (I believe it is - builders grade) to make plugs for the screw head holes. I finally have to deal with the issue as I'm selling soon and need to refinish the floors.
Has anyone had this sort of problem? Any suggestions for a fix?
TIA Kiyu
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In alt.home.repair snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net (Kiyu) wrote:

I have not had that problem but there are certainly places where you can get white oak dowel rods. Look for a hardwood supplier in your area. Then just drill a suitable hole, add the screw, glue in the dowel and cut/sand flush.
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Kiyu wrote:

Granted, it is less common than the inferior red oak but most lumber yards most anywhere would have white oak. If not, easy to order. (you don't want dowels, btw, you need to make face grain plugs)
http://tinyurl.com/create.php?url=http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF - 8&q=white+oak+lumber
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wrote:

The problem as I see it is that there is a builder's common grade (found that on a web site - can't find it now) that has a wide difference in color & grain so standard white oak from my local lumber yard may not have the color & grain variations I need to make the plugs less noticable. My afternoon is being spent googling and I found a good site called Howstuffworks that has a good section on wood floors - interesting section on floating wood floors. Don't have that as far as I know although I thought that when I first encountered the problem. I also have found a Lumber Liquidators not too far away that deals in hardwood floors which may be a possibility. Not sure if I can get small amounts but that will be a good Monday project.
I'm slowly getting educated on this.
Kiyu
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Kiyu wrote:

The hardwood grades are firsts & seconds, select, #1 common and #2 common. The differences have nothing to do with color and grain, but with how much clear lumber can be cut from a board.
"White" oak and "red" oak refer to particular species (quercas alba and quercas rubra). However, they are also generic terms like Phillipine mahogany. There are many, many species, sub-species and hybrids of oaks, all generally clumped under either "red" or "white".
Your plugs will be 3/8" in diameter. Most likely. Could use 1/4 or 1/2 depending on the size of fastener but none of them big enough to worry about color and/or grain. Just get a piece of white oak - ANY white oak - and make your plugs. You'll never see them. As far as that goes, you wouldn't see them if they were made of red oak either.
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wrote:

From everything I've seen the lower grades, while allowing more knots etc. also have wider color variations. The crappy stuff seems to be what I have.....no surprise there. I think it has much to do with whether the wood is quarter or flat sawn and the species of oak. For whatever reason according to a lot of web sites I have pulled up, the red oak seems to have less color variation and the better grades of both also appear to be more uniform.

Unfortunately the color variation from piece to piece seems to be quite large and using one color oak for plugs for all would stand out like a sore thumb. Web sites showing different grades of white oak seem to confirm the wide variation and must have been deemed desirable by those folks who sell the stuff, unfortunately for me & anyone else dealing with this stuff.
Anyway thanks for your input.
Kiyu
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Kiyu wrote:

Lower grades and higher grades come out of the same tree. Color doesn't vary by grade. _________________________

No effect on color or grade. _________________________

Color and grain varies from board to board. The only time you'll get numerous similar ones is buying log run...stuff cut from the same flitch. _______________________

Believe what you want and continue your quixotic quest.
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Kiyu wrote:
(snip)

No, no you don't.
It's a 30+ year old house. it's not new anymore. Floors squeek. Potential buyers know this too. Get over it.
Sheeesh.
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wrote:

My house is 90+ years old and the wood floors squeak. The did when we bought it, they do now. Consider it character, I do. The only time it's a pain is if I put my daughter to bed and sneak out of the room she'll hear me of I step on the wrong board. Most folks won't notice this when they're looking anyway, you could always put a throw rug over it.
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wrote:

Have you tried talcum powder? It works its way between the boards and sort of "lubricates" the cracks, reducing some of the squeaks. I can remember my mom doing this fifty years ago, so it's not a new idea.
Mary
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Kiyu wrote:

If the floors are not really bad, you may not need to refinish. It's a judgment call so we can't really make it from here

Check out:
http://www.handymanusa.com/questions/floorsqueaksq.html
or
http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/knowhow/repair/article/0,16417,203171-1,00.html
The second one has the fix I was thinking of. It does not need a plug. The screw head snaps off and you fill in the small hole with a filler.
You may need to cut and past the links if they wrap.

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