One of the factors that makes chipboard squeak is the nails typically used when installing it. As the chipboard starts to sag, flex, and become bouncy over time, the leverage created by this either loosens the nails or the movement from the flex/bounce leads to abrasion between the nails and chipboard. This in turn leads to a constant squeak/creak when walked across.
Will using additional screws, perhaps a long side the original nails, really work?
Before we look at this, please let me direct you to my article ‘the dangers of blindly screwing into chipboard‘. Please, please, read that article!
In all my twenty plus years of dealing with chipboard flooring, I can’t recall one instance when adding additional screws truly solved the issue of squeaking chipboard.
The main reason for this is that chipboard flooring is typically one huge interlocked sheet on the entire floor footprint (Of whatever level it’s on).
The chipboard will go in first, then the dividing partition walls, to produce the individual rooms.
When you have a particularly squeaky area, the seemingly obvious response is to add screws to that localized area.
‘A word of caution : Squeaky/noisy areas can often be due to a run of poorly installed (cut into the top of joists) pipes/cables beneath where it isn’t possible to either add fixings or support. Take extra care!’
We’ve witnessed over the years, that even if the localized area that’s screwed becomes quiet, the noises/squeaks/creaks will often shift to another area. This phenomenon can promote the occupier to start chasing the noises and placing more screws. This is an extremely bad idea as you can see in our projects gallery (in the menu at the top of this page). Cables and pipes are always located beneath the chipboard at some point. The person adding the screws is simply playing Russian roulette. Even with the use of pipe finder gadgets, the outcome is not always guaranteed.
The second reason why adding additional screws doesn’t work is due to the nature of the construction. Partition wall base rails will typically be installed using nails. Adding additional screws into the chipboard does not stop slight deflection/vertical movement of the joists. When certain joists deflect when walked across, the chipboard (anchored to the joists) will move as well, while the base rail will stay put. Over time, this promotes separated movement between the base rail nail and chipboard. In other words, the base rail nails will rub against the chipboard, creating the god awful creaks you may have experienced when walking close to partition walls. This can occur even when you’re not walking near the partition wall. In this situation, you may have noticed the squeaks and creaks will emanate from a completely different place to where you are walking.
Adding additional screw fixings to chipboard is not only dangerous, but also to some degree fool hardy. It simply does not offer a permanent solution.
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