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        subfloor help on 2nd floor condo Sign In/Join 
        posted
        Hello everyone!

        I have very creaky floors that I'm looking to fix or replace. Some sections if I don't step softly will result in a loud thud! The condo units were originally apartments converted into condo style homes, so I imagine they were not the best materials used. Built in the 1970s, Los Angeles area. Particle board over plywood. Some parts of the floors are uneven, bowed/buckled. Looking at the stain marks, looks like they had a leaky roof at one time. It's 4 units wide with the water heaters centralized in the middle with pipes that go through the middle units to feed the end units. Those pipes I suspect causes some of the shrinking/expanding/warpage in certain sections like the hallway.

        I'm wondering if I can just remove the particle layer, screw down the plywood subfloor, sand down any protruding edges and put new plywood on top, and then screw that down? Or just leave the particle board layer and screw directly down into the joists? Or will I have to just tear out both layers, and lay down two new layers of plywood?

        Our walls/floors are "thin" as I can hear my neighbor talk at night, mostly murmuring sounds. So I suspect the particle board floors were used as sound dampening? If I do replace the particle board with plywood, is there any recommendation on sound dampening?

        To detect the joists, can I use those electronic stud finders?

        If screws are the best way to reduce squeaks, why do most floors use nails to fasten the floor down, why didn't the builders use screws to begin with? Is there any concerns with screwing down the whole floor?

        I don't know if it matters, but additional info: the bedrooms is carpeted, will be putting new carpet when I finish with the floors. The hallway and dining room is laminate flooring. I plan on reusing the laminate floors as they look fairly new still, about 3-5 years old perhaps.

        Thanks in advance for your help and advice!
         
        Posts: 1 | Registered: Apr 20, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        Picture of Jaybee
        posted Hide Post
        quote:
        Originally posted by imsure:
        Hello everyone!

        I have very creaky floors that I'm looking to fix or replace. Some sections if I don't step softly will result in a loud thud! The condo units were originally apartments converted into condo style homes, so I imagine they were not the best materials used. Built in the 1970s, Los Angeles area. Particle board over plywood. Some parts of the floors are uneven, bowed/buckled. Looking at the stain marks, looks like they had a leaky roof at one time. It's 4 units wide with the water heaters centralized in the middle with pipes that go through the middle units to feed the end units. Those pipes I suspect causes some of the shrinking/expanding/warpage in certain sections like the hallway.

        Age or those leaks you mentioned could be the cause of the squeaks. Most floor squeaks are either nails moving up and down within the wood or the edges of the subfloor pieces rubbing against each other. All those pipes are probably not the cause as they would only affect things if they were leaking.

        I'm wondering if I can just remove the particle layer, screw down the plywood subfloor, sand down any protruding edges and put new plywood on top, and then screw that down? Or just leave the particle board layer and screw directly down into the joists? Or will I have to just tear out both layers, and lay down two new layers of plywood?

        If you can locate the joists then you can screw through both layers without removing them. You'll need a screw that is about 1' longer than the combined thickness of the two subfloor layers. if you have floor vents you can probably locate one or two joists. Once you have found a location and direction and can figure out the spacing then you can mark out all the joists. They are typically set 16" on center but that can vary.

        Our walls/floors are "thin" as I can hear my neighbor talk at night, mostly murmuring sounds. So I suspect the particle board floors were used as sound dampening? If I do replace the particle board with plywood, is there any recommendation on sound dampening?

        It was typical to use particle board as a top layer of subfloor during the 60's and 70's. It was cheap, smooth and made a good base for carpet. It's not suitable for a nail-down hardwood install so if you have plans for hardwood in the future you may consider removing the particle board now. Just to clarify terms: Particle board looks like it's made from sawdust. OSB if made from larger flakes and is suitable for hardwood install.

        There are sound dampening subfloors available. I know that Georgia-Pacific makes one. Easy to find on a Google search.


        To detect the joists, can I use those electronic stud finders?

        Nope, not going to happen. It can be hard to find with two layers as that top layer may not end on top of a joist. You can certainly fing the joists if you remove some ot he particle board and observe the nailing pattern in the bottom layer of subfloor. Or, as stated above, look for floor vents in the H/A system.

        If screws are the best way to reduce squeaks, why do most floors use nails to fasten the floor down, why didn't the builders use screws to begin with? Is there any concerns with screwing down the whole floor?

        It's cheaper, faster and usually good enough to nail and use subfloor glue to attach floors. Screws are better and you can install as many as needed to secure the floor and stop the squeaks. If you do use screws youwill quickly understand why most are installed with nails - it can be a very time-consuming process.

        I don't know if it matters, but additional info: the bedrooms is carpeted, will be putting new carpet when I finish with the floors. The hallway and dining room is laminate flooring. I plan on reusing the laminate floors as they look fairly new still, about 3-5 years old perhaps.

        This means that you do not need to replace the particle board unless it's damaged.

        Thanks in advance for your help and advice!


        Jaybee
         
        Posts: 10479 | Location: Knoxville, Tennessee | Registered: Sep 27, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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