Are squeaky floor noises always down to chipboard?

It’s easy to attack chipboard as the sole reason for noisy floors. However, there are typically five other culprits that often require dealing with to remove noise.

1. The most common noise after chipboard squeaks, is a very angry growly noise near walls. This will be one of two things. The most likely is the nails used to secure the partition wall base timber. These nails go through the timber and directly into the chipboard. What tends to happen is in areas where the joists are moving slightly (deflection), or in other words travelling downwards when foot load is applied. The base stud and nail will stay put but the chipboard attached to the joist will travel downwards with the joist. When the foot load is removed, in laymen’s terms, you walk passed, the joist returns to its original position in an upwards motion. This up and down motion results in the nail/s rubbing up and down the chipboard. This creates a god awful screech. The good news is, it can be sorted in about five minutes. When I say sorted, I mean removed forever, exactly akin to a dentist removing toothache by taking out the nerve. Gone for good! 

The second reason (within this area), and far more rare and unlikely, is pipes that have been installed through the base timber of the partition wall and through the chipboard. If pipes have been installed too tight or even slightly touching the chipboard, and the joists are deflecting/moving in that area, the same angry noise will be present. This needs to be handled with care, but again can be solved within around 20 minutes.

2. The  second culprit is metal joist fixings, hangers, supports, ties. If any of the nails used to fix any metal work becomes loose or was poorly fitted, and any part of the floor moves i.e. deflection of the joists or the chipboard on top etc, then a very metallicy noise will be heard as the metal work and nail essentially rubs together. Easily fixed with a little exploration, adhesive, and hammer!

3. Sistered joist loosely fitted and rubbing against each other are also a common problem we see. Wood on wood can be a haunting noise and make your house feel and sound like a rocking wooden ship. With some adhesive and wedges, this can be sorted within around five minutes as we’re replacing the chipboard.

4. Pipes are very common indeed. If pipes aren’t fixed properly or the fixings have become loose, they can and often do vibrate. Sounding like a percussion instrument. If the pipes are touching each other and/or the joists and they’re loose, a kind of knocking then chime can be heard. All easily solvable with a little high temperature adhesive and a keen ear.

5. Ceiling plasterboard fixings. We’ve found this issue to be more prevalent in newer modern extensions but can be found in the standard full new build properties. If joists deflect to much or the joist ends aren’t secured properly/enough, a relatively quite but very present popping sound can often be heard. I’d say one of the most irritating issues as rectifying this would require removal of the plasterboard, re-installation of new plasterboard with a flexible modified silane (MS) adhesive gasket being applied across the bottom of the joists prior to installing the new plasterboard (Screws would also be used). Even then, the results can be, unfortunately, hit and miss! 

As you can see, chipboard isn’t always the direct reason for noisy floors, but it’s often the elephant in the room and always a good place to start!!

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