Handyman: Odd sounds in home can be fixed
With homes closed up tight as a drum in winter, things that squeak or pop in the night are more exaggerated. Fortunately, this paranormal noise isn’t the result of ghosts, but rather the inner workings of your home’s floors, doors and air ducts.
Floors are often the major noise culprit, created by temperature and humidity changes that cause the contraction and expansion of the wood. Over time, the subflooring and joists can dry out and warp, causing separation between the subfloor and joist. So when you walk on this impacted flooring, the wood moves up and down, causing the nails in the floor to rub on the sides of the wood and creating that annoying squeak.
With uncarpeted hardwood floors, you can screw down the floor boards to the joists where the squeaks occur with wood screws. If your squeaks are on the first floor and you have access to them from below in the basement, you can squirt some Goop Carpenters Adhesive and Sealant, (eclecticproducts.com), into the opening between the subfloor and the joist directly underneath the squeak, and then hammer in a thin wood shim.
Another way is to use Squeak Ender, (squeakender.com), or other squeaky-floor products made by E and E Special Products, (586) 978-3377. Matt Hirzel, president and CEO of E and E Special Products, said Squeak-Ender is designed to pull the subfloor back tight against the floor joist to solve the squeak problem. He said the product also helps eliminate the problem of cracking tile grout on foyers or other floors due to the floors moving up and down.
“Often you will have a floor that feels spongy when you walk on it caused by subfloors that are sagging, so we make a product called Sagender that braces the floor and eliminates this problem,” Hirzel said. “Another common problem is uneven floors and seam pops, and our Seamender product corrects those problems.”
If you have squeaks on the second floor and have carpeting, you can use a another product, Squeeeeek No More, by O’Berry Enterprises, Inc., (800) 459-8428, (oberry-enterprises.com) that allows you to to drive a special screw through the carpet into the floor joist where the squeak occurs, and then snap off the screw below the carpet surface with a special tool.
While floor squeaks are more prevalent in older homes, that doesn’t mean new ones aren’t susceptible.
“There was a new home builder that had floor squeaks in about 70 percent of his homes in one development, and he used our products to fix the problems,” Hirzel said.
In addition to floors, door hinges can also become squeaky over time. To fix that, to remove the hinge pin by inserting a flat-head screwdriver under the head of the hinge and then tapping the screwdriver lightly with the hammer. Now clean the hinge with steel wool and then apply a little powdered graphite into the door hinge or spray a silicone based lubricant like Jig-A-Loo, (jigaloo.ca) or Liquid Wrench Silicone Spray, (liquidwrench.com) into the hinge before re-inserting the pin.
Wooden chairs are another item that squeak or make a popping noise when you are sitting on them, especially an old rocking chair. That is often caused by a loose wooden joint that wobbles. One way to fix that is by squeezing a few drops of a special adhesive like Tite Chairs from the Wonderlokking Corp. into the loose joint to permanently tighten it and stop the squeak.
If you watch scary movies, it is almost guaranteed that someone will be in a house with strange noises. But you don’t have to put up with that in your house. Using the right products can fix the problem and bring peace and quiet back to your home.
For more home improvement advice, call “The Handyman Show With Glenn Haege" on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536 between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. “The Handyman Show” can also be heard on more than 135 radio stations nationwide.