Squeaks in the House – GET IT DONE – Ask THE Handyman St Louis

With the colder weather, I’m getting floor squeaks in several areas of my house. It reminds me of my grandparents’ home! Can you help?

I sure hope so. I know what you mean about the older homes, as my grandparents had the same noise, and every time I hear these squeaks, I think of them. I’ve also found that the colder winter increases the volume of the squeaks.

There are several remedies, depending upon the flooring. If you have carpeting, I’ve found a great product to help. It is basically a special screw made for this. The screw goes right through the carpet and subfloor, then into the joist. When it gets into the joist, the screw head breaks off at just the right height, leaving no part of the screw above the subfloor. Home Depot may carry these screws, called “Squeeeek No More”. If you have trouble finding them in a store, give them a call at 1-800-459-8428 or visit them on the web at www.123itsdone.com. They also have videos on the website that show you how to use them.

The hardest part is finding the joist and doing this takes a little time and guesswork. Begin in the area where the squeak is. Use a hammer and softly tap around the area to see if you can find where the joist is by listening to the difference in the sound. This is similar to tapping on a wall to see where the stud is, but just a little harder to hear.

Begin by drilling one of the special screws into the floor. If you haven’t found the joist, the screw will keep on spinning and won’t go down any further. If you didn’t get the joist the first time, leave the screw there, as a marker. Try another screw about two inches from the first, going in a straight line towards an outside wall of the house. You’re trying to find the joist, so you should find one within 24”. If not, go in a 90 degree direction, as the joists must be going the other way.

Once you’ve screwed one of these screws into a joist, you’ll know it, as it will be harder to get the screw in, and the next thing you know, the screw head will break off. Once you know where the joist is, place several screws along this joist and in the area where the squeak is.

Although there are other methods for squeaks in hardwood floors, vinyl floors, and stairs, we’ll have to leave them for another article.

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Replacing a Cracked Floor Tile – Ask THE Handyman St Louis – Get It Done

One 12×12 tile on our kitchen floor cracked and cracked and finally came out. We have tiles of the same pattern in a corner of the laundry room and would like to remove a laundry room tile (where it wouldn’t be missed) to glue into the empty space on our kitchen floor. But how can we remove a 12×12 tile intact?

Replacing a tile isn’t a very hard job, but getting an existing tile out without breaking can be very difficult and many times impossible. My first suggestion is to try and match the tile. Take it to tile stores and explain your situation. If they don’t carry it, they may be able to special order it for you. If they can’t get it, ask for any recommendations of who might be able to. Go on line to see if you can find something that will match. Try everything you can before attempting to remove the good tile. If you are able to find one, buy several, as the problem may come up again down the road.

If you have to resort to removing a tile, first remove the grout. This is done with a hand held grout saw. This isn’t a power saw of any type, just a blade on the end of a short handle. Being very careful not to nick the tile, remove the grout on all four sides of the tile. When this is done, if the tile is still firmly in position, you likely won’t be able to get it out without breaking it. But you can try. Just take your time trying to free it around the edges and see what happens.

Another possibility is to cut around the tile clear through the sub-floor, but you are creating a lot of additional work by doing this, and the job may not turn out as nice as you want it to.

If you do find the tile, begin to install it by scraping away all of the old mastic. Clean the area as best you can, then apply new mastic with a notched trowel, then set the tile in place. (NOTE: there are times when the old mastic cannot be completely removed which might cause a bit of unevenness with the new tile. Again, the only way to avoid this would be to replace the sub-floor underneath, which again is a lot of additional work).

It is always a good idea to use “spacers” on each side of the tile so that is doesn’t move after it is set in place. Let the tile stay for 24 hours, being certain that it is not walked on or disturbed. Next, grout the tile, following the manufacturer’s instructions on mixing. A grout float will be needed, along with a sponge for clean up and wiping the residue away.

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Ask THE Handyman St Louis