Avoid Squeaks the Professional Way
If you have ever laid a real wood floor to what you thought were exacting standards only to have annoying squeaks and pops rear their pesky heads after the floor was down for a month or so, then this article is for you. If you are ready to try again and lay a squeak-free floor then the first and most important rule of thumb is always, always use the right equipment. Professional sanders should be the most high-tech you can hire, and be willing to employ a quality hand held sander with a fair bit of elbow grease to get into those tight corners and stairwells. Perhaps most importantly of all, don’t be afraid to ask for advice from someone in the know. A question or two now can save you a botched job and future heartache.
Mind the gap…
Squeaks commonly arise from an inexpertly fitted floor with too much gap between the boards. Other common reasons for a squeaky floor is moisture seepage (very common in old floors), floors in steam rooms, bathrooms, shower rooms and the like. It is actually better not to use hardwood in rooms where there will be constant condensation and steam. It is far better and more economical to use tile or linoleum.
Get the basics right
This means if you are laying laminate (or floating flooring as it is called in the US) then the subfloor must be perfect. If you are a DIY enthusiast who has a fair knowledge of carpentry then you can probably elevate your knowledge by reading books and articles to get the technical know-how you need to start work. If, however, this is not the case and you still want to try your hand at laying your own floor then do speak to a professional Floor Sanding Company for best advice and guidance on how to proceed before you start work.
Decide whether you are laying a laminate or hardwood flooring. Source the best quality of flooring you can afford for three good reasons:
1) If you feel you are in your permanent home then, fitted correctly, a hardwood floor will outlast you by many years, requiring only sanding and refinishing to regain its sparkle every few years.
2) If you believe your permanent home is still some way down the road then the installation of a quality real wood flooring adds real value to your house when it is time to sell and move on.
3) Laminate flooring although easier to lay lasts for approximately 10 years under good care, less if subjected to a normal family environment including, high traffic, children’s toys, pets etc.
Whether it is laminate or real wood you should ensure the quality of your wood is exactly what the seller says it is. Hardwoods should only be purchased from a company registered with the NWFA (National Wood Flooring Association) and never from a rain forest country of origin.
3 tried and tested tips
Old fashioned tips are usually old fashioned for a reason; people have been using them for years because they work. One old-timers tip for nipping that squeak in the bud is to install a layer, or maybe even a double layer, of tar paper before laying the floor. If you try this, make sure the seams are sitting staggered rather than flush with the joins between the boards, which prevents an excess of residual tar paper seeping through the floor boards on either side.
Another method of squeak banishment is to place (untreated) roofing felt on the subfloor before gluing or nailing in place (when covering joists you can use a staple gun).
The final school of thought determines that squeaks come not from the topfloor at all, only from the subfloor. If this is the case then you can stop that squeak by securing the subfloor with strong quality wood glue and ringshank (cladding) nails.