Page 8 - ProInstaller March-April 2022
P. 8


        Correcting Squeaks, Popping, Crunching

        and Hollow Sounds in Hardwood

        By Brett Miller, NWFA Vice President Technical Standards, Training & Certification

              ne of the telltale ways to differentiate real wood   •  For wood subflooring systems:
              floors from lookalike products is how they sound   •  Loss of fastener holding power resulting from a
        Owhen walked upon. Real wood floors have a                reduction in moisture within the wood subflooring
        distinctive sound in response to foot traffic, while imitation     system.
        wood floors tend to produce a plastic or hollow sound.
                                                                •  Improper subflooring material that will not hold
                                                                  fasteners adequately.
                                                                •  Weak subfloor or subfloor system.
                                                                •  Foundation or support pillar settlement.
                                                                •  Water-damaged subflooring, as follows:
                                                                   •  Plywood can swell, distort, and delaminate
                                                                     when exposed to high moisture levels,
                                                                     impacting fastener holding power.
                                                                   •  OSB can swell when exposed to water,
                                                                     decreasing density and reducing within-board
        There are times, however, when wood floors produce           strength, which impacts fastener holding power.
        sounds that may not be considered normal. The key to    •  Improper spacing between abutting wood
        determining this is to first identify the cause of the sound,     subfloor panels.
        then evaluate whether the noise is considered normal
        within industry standards—and if not, resolve how to fix it.  •  Improper or missing adhesive between the wood
                                                                  subfloor panel and joist systems.
        Squeaking, Popping and/or Crunching Sounds              •  Improperly driven nails or screws in wood subfloor
        Identification                                            panels.
        Squeaking, popping, or crunching sounds are audible     •  Noisy or missing tongue and groove in subflooring
        noises that are produced either within the wood floor itself     material.
        or from within the flooring system.                     •  Improper joist spacing/panel thickness
        Causes                                                  •  Deformed or fractured joists.
        Squeaking, popping, and crunching sounds can have a
        variety of causes:
          •  Old age of the floor and/or structure.
          •  Wood flooring installed while not in equilibrium with
            the end-use environment.
          •  Incorrectly milled flooring that has loose tongue and
            groove engagement.

                                                                         Adding Adhesive to Hollow Spots         Photos courtesy of National Wood Flooring Association
                                                                •  Ductwork rubbing against the underside of the
                                                                  wood subfloor.
                                                                •  Delamination of plywood material.
                                                                •  Screed/sleeper systems out of flatness tolerances.
                           Fastener blowout
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