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Old 11-27-2011, 04:29 PM
Location: Loudoun County, VA
1,148 posts, read 3,738,867 times
Reputation: 408


We recently bought a house built in the 70s with no basement but a crawl space underneath the floor (original hardwood floors). We refinished the floors but there are some really, REALLY squeaky spots all over the floors where the floor seems to give in a bit. Someone smarter than us told us it was the subfloor that needed tightening on those spots and it would be a pretty simple process. We have two small kids at home and can't seem to find the time to do this.

So my question is, who do I call about this? A handyman service or a floor guy? What should I expect to pay? We definitely don't want all new floors/subfloors, just someone to go down there and tighten things a bit. (I'm really biting my tongue not to say a popular line from "The Office" right now.. ) Please, please help, the squeaky floors are waking up the baby every night and driving this sleep deprived mom nuts!
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Old 11-27-2011, 04:47 PM
Location: The Triad
34,088 posts, read 82,953,336 times
Reputation: 43661
Originally Posted by EuroExpat View Post
...there are some really, REALLY squeaky spots all over the floors
where the floor seems to give in a bit.
That's because it is giving in a bit...
or more accurately the joists which the subfloor is attached to are giving in a bit.

So my question is, who do I call about this?
A handyman service or a floor guy?
Neither. You want a framing contractor.
Someone who knows how a house is supposed to be built and can identify what the problem is.

What should I expect to pay?
...just someone to go down there and tighten things a bit.
The work that needs to be done will happen down in that crawl space.
If you're lucky all they will need to do is as you said "tighten things a bit"... are you feeling lucky?

The actual repair may be surprisingly simple.
Or it may involve*someone* doing more extensive work.

Take a look under your house to see how clean and clear it is (few homes are)
and by that how annoying it'll be to work under there...

...and look for what other work might be appropriate to do at the same time
like insulation and moisture barrier and support of plumbing pipes etc.
(after the floor issue is sorted out)

The savings or cost efficiency will be in getting as much as needs to be done under there
in an orderly manner and doings as much of that work yourselves as you can.


Poke around in some of these videos:

Crawl Spaces - Insulation, Vapor Barriers, and Ventilation - YouTube

Last edited by MrRational; 11-27-2011 at 04:58 PM..
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Old 11-28-2011, 05:43 PM
Location: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
4 posts, read 44,177 times
Reputation: 10

The fact that you can access the underside of the floor from the crawl space is a big advantage.

All you need to do is get a handyman service to spend an hour or two underneath the floor carefully screwing woodscrews into the joists and into the floorboards.

Care is required because you dont want the screws poking out of the floor above. The way to prevent this is to screw them in at a 45 degree angle. A little experimentation is required to get the the length right.

I used 1-3/4" long deck screws spaced every 2 feet along each joist for my squeeky floor. The repair has held up for the past 5 years.

This would not be a difficult job for a capable person. I would expect to pay someone $75 or so. ($30 per hour for 2 hours plus $15 for screws assuming about 900 square feet of floor)
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Old 11-29-2011, 07:54 AM
Location: Johns Creek, GA
17,474 posts, read 66,035,782 times
Reputation: 23621
Identifying the squeak is half the battle-
But, I have to ask- were the squeaks present before the floors were refinished? And if so, why didn't you remedy the problem then? It would have been much easier to fix from above. But, if the squeaks appeared "after" the refinish then herein lies the problem.

Sometimes the squeaks can be loose nails- they've worked loose because they weren't countersunk initially. Sometimes it shrunk joists- they have separated from the subflooring. Other-times, it's the subflooring itself- it could be delaminated but, usually it's butt joints rubbing against each other. And the same is possible with the hardwood itself- over years of expansion and contraction there can be excessive "gaps" between boards that allow them to move excessively. I've even seen floor joists that were over spanned have so much deflection in them that it caused excessive squeaks. There was also another time I had a H/O with a squeak that turned out to be a split joist. Apparently the joist had had too much moisture in it when the house was built, making it dry faster than the other joists causing the split. And another weird scenario I ran across was missed load point- the floor was actually separating from the wall above. As you walked along the floor, it would deflect enough that the nails in the wall plate would rub making a squeaking sound.
Then there's HVAC duct, Plumbing pipes and other "miscellaneous things" that can cause squeaks.

As for yours- as I stated above, the floors were probably sanded beyond their intended useful thickness and has compromised the strength of the individual boards.
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