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How to cinch flooring to joists


 

Step 1. If you’ve made it this far, the squeak is not caused by a gap between the subfloor and the joist. It’s likely the floorboards have buckled up, creating a gap between the floor and the subfloor. We’re going to drill up through the subfloor and pull the flooring down tight against the subfloor with some wood screws. To figure out how long the screws should be, first determine the combined thickness of the floor and subfloor by measuring at existing cut-outs in the floor.

 

 

Step 2. Drill pilot holes. The length of screw we need is 1/4” less than the total depth of the top floor and subfloor combined. Mark that depth with masking tape on a #8 wood drill bit. On a #10 drill bit, mark the depth of the subfloor only. Now, drill some pilot holes around the squeak: 1. Drill through the subfloor with the thicker #10 bit. 2. Drill into the same holes a little deeper with the #8 bit. Make sure you don’t drill deeper than the masking tape marks.

 

WHAT IF...?

If there are no cut-outs, determine the thickness by carefully boring a hole up into the subfloor. The hole should be large enough to fit a tape measure into it. Just to be safe, work in an inconspicuous corner of the basement. Use a spade drill bit to drill up into the subfloor. Stop drilling every so often to see how close to the finish floor you are—you may need a flashlight to see clearly. Stop once you get to the finish floor. Measure. Do not drill all the way through your wood floor above.

To find out the thickness of the top floor, measure the depth of the floor on the first stair down to the basement, if you have one.
 

HERE'S HOW

The length of screw we need for Step 2 is the same-length we marked on the #8 drill bit. The thread thickness, though, is going to be#10. This way, as the screw is tightened, the hole left in the subfloor by the #10 drill bit will not offer any resistance, but the hole left in the top flooring with the #8 drill bit will be snug and pull the loose board down against the subfloor. To distribute the pressure around the screw, slip each screw through a large fender washer before driving the screws into each pilot hole. This will secure the subfloor to the wood floor and stop the squeak.
 

 

 

 

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