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sjansen
Furred hardwood floor squeaks
sjansen

I have been trying to address a few squeaky areas in my hardwood floor. I first thought these were original floors (1905) but as I've continued to investigate I think the offending portion of the floor was installed later (~1950).

Looking at the floor cross-section at a return air penetration, it appears that the current floor was installed on top of the original floor with furring in between. I'm not sure what the purpose of the furring was...to reduce the transmission of creaks from the original floor or perhaps to level it for the new floor? The cross-section is:

-3/4" hardwood floor (~1950)
-1/4" furring strips, I don't know the distance between strips
-~3/4" hardwood floor (probably the original floor from 1905)
-joists

The current floor is largely in good shape but there are a few spots, mostly in high traffic areas, where there is deflection as you walk over the boards. This causes a lot of squeaking. I assume the tongue and groove interface has worn over time allowing greater deflection in these unsupported areas between furring strips.

Has anyone addressed a problem like this before? Might it be possible to inject an adhesive into the void between the current floor and old floor to shore up the floor and reduce deflection? Perhaps something like this. Any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated.

Mastercarpentry
Re: Furred hardwood floor squeaks
Mastercarpentry

I'd pull up the top flooring to see what was underneath. Correct done on top of incorrect equals incorrect. From there you'll have a much better idea of what's needed to get to correct so you won't have to do it again.

Phil

dj1
Re: Furred hardwood floor squeaks
dj1

Quote: "The current floor is largely in good shape but there are a few spots, mostly in high traffic areas, where there is deflection as you walk over the boards."

Is there a way for you to check the joist(s) where the squeak is? It/they could be damaged and/or weakened.

Depending on how the floor was nailed down and installed, what Phil is suggesting probably means that you won't be able to reuse the planks you pull out. Most will be destroyed.

sjansen
Re: Furred hardwood floor squeaks
sjansen

Phil and dj1 - thanks for the thoughts. I realize now I left some valuable information out of my initial post.

I have checked the joists in all the problem spots and they are in great shape and making solid interface with the "subfloor" of the old hardwood. The old hardwood also appears very solid in these locations. I'm convinced based on the correlation of the visible deflection and the squeaking that the source is the top layer of hardwood as it deflects between the supporting furring strips underneath.

I've tried the break-off screw kit to better tie the hardwood to the subfloor in these locations but it hasn't worked. Now that I see the furring and understand that the noise comes from the boards deflecting downward between furring strips, I'm not convinced this is the right solution to pursue. If anything, it seems like I need to get something into the cavity between furring strips to reduce the deflection.

Since the floor has been in place for about 60 years and is in mostly good shape, I'm reticent to pull out or damage any of the boards. If there is a less invasive approach I will try it first.

Thanks,
Seth

dj1
Re: Furred hardwood floor squeaks
dj1

Quote: I'm convinced based on the correlation of the visible deflection and the squeaking that the source is the top layer of hardwood as it deflects between the supporting furring strips underneath."

Are you saying that you think that (a) there are not enough furring strips, or (b) some of the strips are mushy ?

How do you know that?

Considering the age of the floor and the expense of fixing a few squeaks...do you want to tackle this?

sjansen
Re: Furred hardwood floor squeaks
sjansen

Since the majority of the floor is still solid and does not squeak even at its age, I would say that the furring has been sufficient in most places.

In these few high traffic areas, I wonder if the years of stress on the tongue and groove fittings as the boards are loaded in between furring supports has led to greater deflections. In these areas, I guess I lean toward option (a), the furring strips are no longer sufficient to support worn tongue and groove interfaces between the hardwood.

That's a guess, my evidence of this is limited. Based on my observation, the deflection is occurring down the length of the hardwood boards and is most visible at their interfaces with the neighboring board (the reason I think tongue and groove interfaces are less tight) and the deflection occurs over a length that is likely about the distance between furring strips (<14"). This issue impacts 1-2 neighboring boards at each location that generates creaks.

You're right, given the age and general good condition of the floor I'm not willing to undertake huge expense or effort to fix this. Once I found the adhesive injection system I linked in the first post, I wondered if there might be a similar fix that was relatively quick and non-invasive.

Thanks for digging deeper on this with me.

sjansen
Re: Furred hardwood floor squeaks
sjansen

For anyone with a similar issue that finds this thread in the future...an update on my partial resolution.

Accessing the sub-floor from the crawlspace, I drilled a handful of quarter inch holes into the sub-floor below the areas that were squeaking due to deflection. Through these holes I injected expanding spray-foam into the cavities between the furring strips. As this foam expanded it has provided some support to the deflecting hardwood floor and the squeaking is reduced. In some places I worked the squeaking is gone and in others it is just less pronounced.

Try this at your own risk. I don't know if it will last long term as the foam ages. Be careful not to drill past the cavity between the sub-floor and the hardwood floor. And don't overfill the cavities or the foam could deflect your floor upward.

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