New floor is squeaking

Q: We recently moved into our new home. 22 Months of construction. 14K Sq Ft at a price of approx 3M. It’s a home that we didn’t cut corners on. One our biggest problems is the hardwood flooring. Upon move-in we noticed squeaking and pops in the flooring.

It has progressed significantly over the past 7 months. There have been 2 “independent” inspectors out here. 1 Hired by the flooring supplier and 1 by the builder. The options presented to us have been to drive thin nails through the surface of the boards and fill the cracks with colored putty, or to take up sections of the floor and glue it down.

The subfloor is OSB. We had paid extra before the hardwood was installed to have the OSB joints sanded and screwed down to the point of overkill. What to do?

We are afraid that the nail through the surface won’t be a longterm fix – as seasons cycle will the nail pop or will the fix point of the nail cause the planks to crack? Should we just say – nope, tear it all up and find a new product??

It’s ironic because I had told the builder before construction “if you want this job, my floors can’t squeak”. we like the builder, but this home is our investment. Suggestions?

A: A lot of care has to be taken when installing wood flooring in new construction. First on the list is moisture. Especially during the early stages of the build, all wooden structural materials have gotten soaked. All of this takes time to dry out. Did the installer check the sub floor and the flooring to compare moisture content? Have you noticed any cupping in the floor? Another issue is OSB. I don’t like the product simply because it doesn’t hold fasteners near as well as spruce plywood. Additionally, to save money, builders often don’t go above the basic code which is likely 5/8″ thick. There is a huge difference between 5/8 and 3/4″ for stability and holding power of the fasteners. Speaking of fasteners, did any of these inspectors use a magnet to find out how far apart the installer spaced his fasteners, whether they be staples or cleats? Every 7-9″ depending how wide the boards are. The squeaking is caused by movement, up and down in the floor. It is two boards rubbing together.

Driving finishing nails through the floors surface in one board, though not something I like to do, would have to suffice for one spot. If it is happening in a lot of places, I don’t know that I would like that as a fix, and given the OSB, I wouldn’t count on this getting enough grab to hold permanently if there is already up and down movement. You would be better to have an expanding adhesive applied. A tiny hole is drilled, a tube is inserted and the adhesive is sprayed under the floor. It expands to fill the void.

You do have an option of calling in your own inspector. The National Hardwood Flooring Association trains and certifies such to make home inspections.

Follow-up Q: I may have misspoke, is OSB the same as Advantech? We have Advantech.

A: I don’t know what Advantech is. I did a search and I only see links for computer applications, not building products.

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