Monday, October 15, 2007

New Hardwood Floors - creaking?

Q: I have recently had new hardware floors installed. They are pre-finished hardwood floors made my Mirage. They are not laminate. A thin sheet of paper was put down on the sub floor (plywood) then the hardware was installed directly on top (using that funky angular hardwood nail-gun thing). They were installed by a professional and look really good.

Question: How much creaking is normal? It has been about 2 months since the install and as I walk across the floor I sometimes hear creaking. Specifically, it sound like creaking of the hardwood planks (3.25” wide) and not the sub floor. In one area of the floor, I can easily repro the creaking by stepping on one plank and then stepping on another plank just 12” away. At this point I wouldn’t say there is not a tremendous amount of creaking but it has increased over the last 2 months and I am concerned it is going to continue to increase. Some areas are worse than others. Is this normal? One person told me that sub-floor creaking is normal but the pre-finished hardware should not make any noise. Is this correct? Thoughts?

A: Some of this can be attributed to the changing weather. As it gets colder, the boards are going to shrink slightly, just enough to allow some movement that wasn’t there before. You will probably notice the squeaking going away when the weather starts warming up again next year. I have bamboo, and I’ve noticed a little bit more noise the past few weeks than I did through the summer. Last year during the wind storm when there was no power (and thus no heat upstairs), if we walked up stairs onto the hardwood, sometimes it would move enough to make the whole floor sound like it was cracking.

I would say not to worry about it unless it becomes much more noticeable. You’ll probably notice it more in areas where there is a temperature shift; for example the wood by a door or window may creak a bit more around the area it meets with a section of floor that is more in a more stable environment.

What you want to be concerned about is if you start to see some warping or bending, but that’s pretty unlikely.

A: If it is the first floor, you can go down to crawl space. It is easy to tell whether the subfloor or hardwood floor is creaking. Sometime one loose nail can make a loud echo in crawl space and make you believe the whole floor is cracking.

A: I had some hardwood squeaking developed after living in the house for a while. The fix is relatively easy, you drill a pilot hole at an angle from where it squeaks to the closest subfloor joist and sink a nail into it. Then you fill the nail holes with epoxy mixed with some tint color that matches your floor color. It took the installer 10 minutes to fix the squeaks in one spot.


Sue said...

We took possession of our new home in April/08. We have tigerwood by Mirage - Every single room creaks and cracks (not squeaks)with very step taken. An annoyance everyone said would go away in time. Well it hasn't. Turns out that the Home Warranty inspector claims that the two support beams were raised too high causing too much variance in levelness. Thus the improper subfloor and installation are the cause. He claims that if left in its current condition the floor boards will work loose from the sub-floor. Very disappointing in a new home. P.S. I dislike when everyone always says squeaks - no, my floor does not squeak it creaks and cracks, many times on its own. Hope this helps - perhaps having someone with experience and knowledge inspect your floor and subfloor to insure requirements for Mirage flooring are met - otherwise your warranty could be void as mine currently is. (I'm fortunate Home Warranty has insured me the proper repairs will be done.) Sue

Tom P said...

Right on Sue! We have the same problem - really loud creaky floors and the builder is not agreeing it's a problem I will keep on fighting it; thanks for the encouragement.