How to muzzle a wood floor

By Teri Karush Rogers | March 22, 2011 - 2:02PM 

As recently pointed out on, some folks--Bob DeNiro for one--prize squeaky wood floors over silent ones, even going so far as to have new wood floors designed to emit that lived-in sound.  We believe it's safe to say that DeNiro is in the minority on this one, so we asked BrickUnderground expert and Manhattan general contractor Yoel Borgenicht to explain why wood floors squeak and what can be done about it:

"The wood floor may have dried out and shrunk over time," he says.  "In that case, you must fill the gaps with some type of filler. There is a powder one that works well."

If your wood floor lies over a wooden sub-floor, securing the two layers with small fasteners may cut down on the squeaking. ("If you have access underneath," notes Borgenicht, "then you may screw from the sub-floor to the wood floor using smaller screws.")

Sometimes a loose subfloor is the culprit.  The best way to fix it is from beneath, says Borgenicht, either by driving screws through the floor joist into the subfloor to eliminate gaps, or putting a "shim" between the floor joist and the sub-floor.

If you lack access from below, he says, you can drive a nail (size 6d or 8d) through the finish floor, sub-floor and joist.



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