The floor of a home is placed atop a system of joists — 1 1/2-inch-thick boards ranging in width from 6 inches to 12 inches and positioned 12, 16 or 24 inches apart. As a home ages, the floor is likely to squeak, crack and sag in spots. Such activity indicates the joists require bracing. Although extensive work may require the services of a professional, some improvement of the bracing may be accomplished by a do-it-yourselfer. Does this Spark an idea?
Identify gaps between the subflooring and the joists. The subflooring should sit level across the joists. Gaps will lead to sagging, creaking and popping. Gapping must be repaired whether noise or sagging is present on the top side of the floor, as it will get worse over time, leading to more costly, potentially dangerous damage.
Install screws into the sagging joists. Do this at an angle so the screws are fixed into the subfloor, closing the gap between the joist and the floor. Gaps that are more than an inch usually require the addition of shims to close before installing screws.
Locate any bowed joists. These are pieces that have curved away from the subfloor, and if not repaired will greatly reduce the stability of the structure.
Measure the space between the bowed joist and the floor and cut a 2X4 board to fit this gap. Nail one piece of board along each side of the joist to improve the strength of the structure. When done correctly, the boards will act as a brace and push the joist back into place.
Locate potential problem areas. If sagging is in its early stages, it is possible that the gapping or bowing of joists won’t be noticeable. Reduce the amount of searching by counting steps from one end of the room to where the problem area is located. This count will help locate the potential problem when underneath the floor to perform repairs.
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