Where do squeaks come from? An estimated 85 percent of all squeaks come from the top of the floor joist and the underside of the subfloor. In most cases there’s no glue between the joists and the subfloor and nails were used rather than screws. If nails were used, they most likely were not ring shank nails. Over time, regular nails will pop upward, causing the bottom side of the subfloor to rub on the top surface of the floor joist and on the shank of the nail—and a squeak is born!
Squeaks can come from around floor ductwork. Squeaks can be created if one (or more) of the floor joists crowns downward rather than upward. Squeaks can be found in the field, i.e., the areas between joists. Squeaks could also come from between the subfloor and the underlayment or at the joints where they meet in double-floor construction. In single-floor construction, the squeaks could come from where the subfloor’s joints meet or between hardwood and the subfloor. Normally in single-floor construction T&G sheet goods are used—squeaks could also come from the T&G joints.
Subfloors could be constructed using plywood sheets or 1x materials fastened on an angle to the tops of the floor joists. Normally 1x materials have spaces up to 1-inch between them, so if you are using the kit, it’s possible that you could install a screw into one of these open areas. Because the fastener has nothing to grab on to, it will not work properly. This is one situation where it’s really important to understand your floor’s construction.
Where should you start? First spend time to isolate the squeaks. Once they are located and marked with painters’ blue masking tape, locate your joists and the direction they run.
Next check to see if the squeaks you marked are in the same area as the floor joists (most likely they are). Now you are ready to use the kit. Begin by installing the screws directly over and into the floor joists. It is better to spread your screws apart, and the spread will be determined by the squeaks you located. If after doing this there are still squeaks, then begin again to isolate the squeaks. It’s possible they are now within the field (between floor joists).
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