Why does my 2nd level floor make cracking noises when someone walks?

I live in Toronto, Canada - I thought I should clarify before ... and now about the issue at hand.

Its a carpeted floor, looks old and I'm planing on putting laminate on it. Ground level is hardwood, not too old and is just fine no cracking only squeaks a little near the stairs to second floor, by the way the stairs are also carpeted (same carpet as 2nd floor) and all of them squeak a lot.

I cut carpet off from one room and I see a 1 inch plywood about 6x4 feet pieces underneath. I cant really tell the exact spots where the floor squeaks or cracks but it seems they are at random meaning not just around the joints between ply but also in the middle of the joists, I can tell where the nails are in the ply hence I know where the joists are.

I was thinking if I screw between the nails on the joists (maybe 1 1/2 inch screws) and see if it helps and then I should install another layer of ply (maybe 1/4 inch) on top of the 1 inch and screw (maybe 3/4 inch screws) on top, would that help? I think I have enough space clearance under the doors of about 1+ inch so when I install the second layer ply (1/4 inch) and laminate (1/2 inch) plus padding underneath the laminate it would still be okay for the doors to open/close without touching the floor maybe?

I'm no expert so I don't know but I've heard that spreading talcum/baby powder on the ply and letting it get between the cracks helps. Is there any truth to it?

Should I get professional help?

I don't wanna spend too much money on it, I'm trying to do the whole thing by myself to save $.



6 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    My dad's a carpenter, and he taught me much in the way of quality carpentry (and what isn't). First of all, the crackling noises could most likely be attributed to some inferior wood choices on the builder's part.

    Never use subpar lumber when building your home! It could also simply be old. Either way, spending a little more money now will save you a heck of a lot of headaches in the future (and resources/money).

    What most likely needs to be done is that the wood foundation beneath needs to be checked and replaced where necessary. Simply putting a few nails here and there won't suffice, it ruins the point and doesn't do anything.

    You could reinforce it from the bottom, but that won't keep the wood itself from continuing to rot, and simple reinforcement may not get rid of the creaking. Also, make sure you don't have an infestation somewhere. Bugs and their spawn are the most common source of creaky floors, as most in the business would undoubtedly agree.

    Whatever you do, make sure to contact a real expert and not just take my word for it. A consultation, depending on who you work with in it, is generally free-to-cheap, and it could save you a lot of headaches. Oh, and make sure they're certified and have their license! There's a lot of these people who truly don't know exactly what their hired help is doing and don't deserve to be in the business. Don't let them take shortcuts that could cost you! See if they have reviews that have been done on them before you hire them to do the job. Personally, my dad taught me never to take such shortcuts unless they were cheaper for the perspective party AND didn't cost them later.

    Lastly... never just do it yourself. At minimum, the consultation is a necessity, but if you go mucking where you don't know much about it, it certainly can't do you much good without a helping hand.

    Addendum: I got a little ahead of myself here. The baby powder is just bs. It can decay and cause you infestation problems anyway over time, so I wouldn't recommend it even if it did work. Laminate in and of itself is cheaper than carpet mostly these days (go to any Home Depot and you'll see that). But before you ever consider putting in the smallest bit of it, you need to stop the creaking, because that's definitely an indication of either rotting wood or insufficient support for the weight it's holding. At worst, you may need to get the whole thing replaced. I'd say that new flatscreen is less important than it breaking because the second floor it was on caved in. Just an example, but I think you can get the picture. Hold off any major expenses that aren't absolutely necessary until you figure out what you can do next!

    Source(s): I've been helping my dad with carpentry jobs since I was very young, probably about 7. He taught me the ropes well, and 15 years later, I'd say I know a bit about the art of carpentry.
  • 10 years ago

    The problem is the floor boards are creaking as they slide on the nails, this is due to the boards shrinking as they dry out over a period of time, so, there are two things to be done, one, knock the nails deeper to prevent their heads becoming proud of the boards, and two, fitting screws as a precaution.

    I am writing this in London UK, so I am not familiar with US building standards, here I would not recommend anyone to fit screws between the nails as you may pierce pipes or wires in that position, I would always place the screws in line with and close to the nails, eg. in line with the grain and the board joints and not across them to avoid any possibility of damaging the hidden dangers, but take advice for a local view.

    When doing this I usually have two drills in use, one with a tight fitting pilot drill to guide the screw where I want it (the grain will already be split by the by the nail close by) the other with a screw driver fitted, use 1 3/4 or 2 inch No. 8 cross head or Phillips screws and drive them well into the timber till below the surface of the boards, the cross head type prevent slipping and damage to the boards, or yourself.

    Source(s): Seen it, done it !
  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    I mostly agree with TB12’s assessment, however it you are honestly not making excessive noise, then the land developers and the current landowner are to blame for being cheap; in which case, you may have a fighting chance in court. It’s cheaper to get you evicted than to actually do something to solve the damned problem. The problem with sound in general, is that it is very difficult to block. Double the amount of wallboard for extra weight, double the amount of studs and joists to create staggered walls/ceilings to limit structural resonance, insulation in all of the interior walls/ceilings, baffle boxes or insulation lining added to absorb vibrations in ductwork, solid core doors with weather stripping and double windows to mimic the wall construction, are all essentially the same as spending over twice the amount of money for the same building. With the combination of soundproofing being quite expensive, property owners being cheap, and most people being able to block out annoying noises most of the time, make soundproofing unrealistic commercially, and is a nightmare for random people with neurological/audiological sound sensitivities. On that note, try not to be too upset with the person beneath you; some people are just naturally more sensitive, and property owners genuinely don’t care; it’s rather odd that you are even being threatened with eviction (again, considering that you are indeed not making excessive noise). Also as a final note, if the shouting is coming from the room above you, it is a good bet that this noise is simply traveling though the duct work though out the building. When you hear noise, put your ear up to the duct and hear if any noise is stronger there.

  • Nita
    Lv 4
    4 years ago


    Source(s): Ultimate Woodworking Guide http://woodworkingprojects.enle.info/?l2j7
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  • Anonymous
    10 years ago


  • 10 years ago

    agree with braian

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