Inspection report on my floor creaking

Discussion in 'Solid and Engineered Hardwood Q&A' started by Banquopack, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. Banquopack

    Banquopack Member

    A professional inspector checked out my squeaking wood floor. I'm going to attach the PDF so I won't paste in all the info here. The mill rep was here way back in November and 60 boards were pulled and replaced due to them splintering and not being culled properly. There are 14+ spots where the floor squeaks when you step on it. But the bottom line is that the builder and installer now say - Not my problem, we are done. I feel like there is a material issue that they should be able to follow up on.

    I would love another pair of expert eyes on this - what say you Floor Dudes?


    Attached Files:

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  2. Commercial Floor Rep

    Commercial Floor Rep I Support TFP Published

    On a quick read through of the report it appears like your problem is an actual product problem. I believe the inspector is citing an over-sized groove as the major cause of the issue. The installer and builder, unless they sold you the flooring, are not responsible to warrant a defective product. They are only responsible for their workmanship and labor which, it appears on first read through, meets or exceeds the manufacturers recommendations.

    Also the fact the job has had 60 planks that were replaced at the mill reps inspection, to me, is a bit of a flashing red light that the whole job should have probably been replaced. If those 60 planks were scattered throughout the job and not just one section, that surely would affect the overall integrity of the install and could be contributing to the noises as well. Personally, were it my floor, I would have never allowed that many planks to be replaced. 1 or 2 planks, ok. But 60 has now turned your install into a "patchwork" job in my opinion. You paid for a new floor you should get a new floor.

    You'll need to start the claims process either with the dealer who sold you the flooring or directly with the manufacturer to get further resolve.

    I read through it pretty quickly but that was my initial understanding. Good luck with it and hope the problem is addressed to your satisfaction.

    There are many great wood guys on the forum so sit tight and I'm sure they'll be along to offer their experience.
  3. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti Senior Member

    Curious what the cost was of the inspection.

    Subfloor material should be stated, thickness, #’s of layers etc. as well as direction of flooring relative to joists.

    I’m not sure this evaluation could not be over ruled. There’s a lot of detail lacking.

    What is the vapor barrier underneath?

    Glad the inspector has FCITS but the hardwood portion is that known? Are there employees of the company who know hardwood inside/under side out?
  4. Banquopack

    Banquopack Member

    I didn’t pay for the inspection - the builder did. There is a full basement under the floor, so not sure if that answers the vapor barrier question. The flooring is perpendicular to the joists.
  5. Chris 45

    Chris 45 Director of P.R. on some deserted island. I Support TFP

    This might sound stupid but have you tried working some baby powder into the noisy joints? I’ve done that before and it solved the squeak. Granted, I only had one joint that was squeaking. Might not be feasible to do your entire floor but maybe next time when you just have one little squeak that bugs you.
  6. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti Senior Member

    I’d like something more of a permanent powder, with a label maybe “Floating Floor Noise Suppressing Conditioner”( I get my threads mixed up, this is naildown) baby powder on that Bamboo job Don!

    I think that report has holes in it, it’s format is for Carpet, unprofessional if you’re not asking me.

    Do you have one layer of OSB seen from the 1st Floor? The vapor barrier would be between the substrate and finish flooring usually roofing felt, Aqua bar, something to slow the movement of water vapor back and forth (through the floor)
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
  7. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    OK as a wood inspector there are a couple of things I will mention. After reading the report I see the Relative humidity is listed as 35%, almost all wood manufacturers require 35-55% Rh be maintained. I'm betting that if you raise your Rh to 45-50% for a couple weeks the squeaks will quiet down.
    Next the inspector says the fastener pattern is OK, NWFA lists 6-8" and 1-3" on the ends yet he says the schedule is 3-4" on the ends and 4-6" overall. Fasteners 4" from the end ARE OUT OF SPEC, that can allow the end joint to have vertical movement which can cause noise (as he cites in his example). He says that 4-6" overall is OK, in some cases it is, but depending on the wood, excessive fasteners (such as big staples) can split the tongue and allow movement and noise.
    Next I am having a hard time wrapping my head around his comment that "only the top of the plank is moving". Come is 3/4" solid, if the top moves the bottom is moving too!!
    Moving on.....he states that there is a loose fit between the tongue and groove. Where are the measurements? How did he determine it was loose? He does know that NWFA has specifications for what is called "match fit", doesn't he? It must have minimum of .003 loosness, up to a max of .012. The purpose of this is so that if the wood swells from moisture it can still be engaged.
    With the above facts being presented (and the absence of any measurements to back up his hypothesis) I will say
    1. Site conditions/low humidity
    2. Installation related

    ps: Angela, do not clean your floor with water/vinegar. Also do not tell the manufacturer you have in the past as that is an automatic denial! Again most manufacturers have in their warranty 3-5 places "do not use water".
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  8. Banquopack

    Banquopack Member

    I gave that a try in a couple spots. No change - bummer. Thanks for the suggestion.
  9. Banquopack

    Banquopack Member

    Thank you for the notes! On the RH - my hvac system is set for 47% and it was actually reading 49% while he was here. I asked about the difference, and he said that 35% at the floor level when the house system reading was 49 normal. ?? Side note - it’s super humid and humid now, and with my A/C running the wall meter reads 57% and things still squeak.

    On the floor cleaning, I told him I dry sweep/vacuum and spot clean with vinegar and water when there is a sticky food spill. I’ll have to look what he said again. Is there a better way to clean up in the kitchen are and around our table? Thanks!
  10. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Most manufacturers have their own proprietary cleaners which can often be purchased at Home Depot or Lowes. They are designed to evaporate rapidly and not damage the finish of the wood. Vinegar is acidic and can damage the finish.
    As for the Rh normally you do not see that amount of swing from the thermostat to floor level. Most of the controls that i have seen read what it should be (not the actual Rh), I would suggest you get a hygrometer so you can accurately determine the Rh. Also check the humidifier to make sure it is operating properly, water connected and turned on (yes I have seen them with no water connection).

    For the end joint that he said moved, causing noise...take a magnet and see if there is a fastener within 1 or 2 inches of the end joint.
  11. Banquopack

    Banquopack Member

    It is one layer of OSB, and I'm not sure what it is specifically, but there is a roof felt looking material under the 3/4". The inspector guy didn't go into the basement at all - he just lifted the floor vent for a couple seconds to see whatever it was he was looking for.
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  12. Banquopack

    Banquopack Member

    I have some rare earth magnets, but they are smaller and don't seem strong enough to pull against the staples. I need some of those handy magnet balls the inspector guy used!
  13. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti Senior Member

    I want a set too, what is a source for purchase?
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  14. UncleCliffie

    UncleCliffie Charter Member

    I think I have a set of the magnets. I will drag out my kit to see. Dick
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
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  15. Banquopack

    Banquopack Member

    I found some good, flat magnets at Home Depot. I’ll attach a pic of the specific size and package.

    Found nailing pattern that seems quite out of spec at a point with some of the very worst squeaking. 4.5” from one end, and no nails at all on the board edge above, except for one .5” from the far right end. Super bad squeaks at the blue tape points.

    Attached Files:

  16. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti Senior Member

    Found a source that said the s4 were good for locating nails under flooring, though would have to be ordered. Similar to those but spheres.

    K&J Magnetics: S4
  17. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    I like the S6B, larger and stronger. Find the fastener, put a piece of tape/poker chip/toothpick/dime, something non-magnetic to mark the spot.

    So Banquopack, have you demonstrated to yourself that the inspector was mistaken and the issue is installation related? It is sad but often inspectors are "hired guns", someone wants the manufacturer with "deep pockets" blamed, even though they make up stories/theories to support their incorrect conclusion.

    In the picture I have added an X where a fastener should be.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
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  18. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti Senior Member

    I personally wouldn’t have put a naildown 3/4 over OSB or at least add a layer of 3/8” rated underlayment plywood. New Construction of course all climate control, and moisture testing would need to be proven. You can get so deep into the technical aspects to always find fault.

    Armstrong I believe sold off their wood division, got rid of a CEO as well. Not sure if it’s because they want to revisit continual problems.

    Fact is, there’s continuous problems with every type Flooring, strangely I’ve demoed ceramic tile a few times when customers left laundry rooms and bathrooms with linear cracks but replaced living rooms, kitchens, halls and lived with cracked tile.

    One thing about gluedown hardwood and adhesive that doesn’t get brittle, it doesn’t make noise. Think years ago I posed a thread what are all the reasons why Hardwood squeaks, another is unflat floor. Could every condition that causes squeaks be eliminated? I’d say only the best in your area could only attempt.
  19. Dan Schultz

    Dan Schultz Certified Wood Floor Inspector Charter Member

    I just now saw this thread. I've been abroad and just returned home today.

    While this inspector could possibly be correct in regards to a ~fat groove~ so to say, he doesn't back anything up to this fact in his report.

    How can he be sure the groove is too large or the tongue is not thick enough? There is no documentation of the testing to come to this conclusion. Granted, the end result could be the same, but if asked on a witness stand, there MUST be concrete evidence.

    Do NOT rely on this inspector's report if you have to go to court.
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  20. Craig Francis

    Craig Francis Pro Member

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