Reason 1: Your floors won't squeak.
It is possible to like squeaky floors for a variety of reasons. If you do, we can build your zero energy home with that feature. Check all the reasons that apply to you:
__ When you’re sleeping, squeaks can alert the family dog that there might be a cat burglar afoot, causing the dog to bark loudly and launch himself off your bed;
__ You’ve nodded off at 2 a.m., waiting up for your teenage daughter to get home, when the squeaky stairs alert you that she has, indeed, returned;
__You’re sleeping when your spouse tries to sneak to the kitchen for a high calorie snack;
__You’re awakened by squeaking that suggests that the older slightly disoriented person who lives with you is wandering around in the dark;
__A loud squeaky floor helps you discern if the baby really is sleeping soundly;
__You turn your basement into a haunted house very Halloween, and the squeaks add quite a lot to the ambience.
Of all the things that might annoy folks who buy or inherit an heirloom home, squeaky floors are near the top of the list. For awhile it might seem quaint or inescapable, but give it any significant amount of time, and the squeaks, creaks, and pops get pretty old.
This is why we use the “silent floor system,” in our zero energy home which incorporates the use of engineered carrying beams and joist systems that are manufactured exclusively with plywood laminates. This eliminates shrinkage of joists and beams, which is the primary reason why a new floor can begin to squeak more and more with time. The squeaking sound is caused by the subfloor moving up and down and rubbing against steel fasteners as traffic passes over it.
If a floor system is built using conventional 2x10 and 2x12 joists, they will likely shrink differently as they dry out and acclimate over the lifetime of the house. Unfortunately, one joist may shrink a quarter inch while the one beside it might shrink as much as a half inch from what it was when it was installed. To add stress upon stress, if a built-up carrying beam is also constructed of conventional lumber, it could also shrink.
And . . . to really mess things up, if the house has two stories of floor systems, the highest floor could settle as much as a full inch or even more, but only in the center of the house. Many people don’t realize this and often criticize the builder for building a crooked house that is more than an inch out of level on the highest floor. Well, this is an unfair criticism especially if the owner was pinching pennies and required the builder to use the cheapest approach.
All the glue and screws in the world could not stop plywood from squeaking with that kind of stress put upon it. This is why we use engineered, non-shrinking floor systems, which eliminate the obnoxious “squeaky house syndrome.” Also, when we install the engineered system, we make sure that construction adhesive is applied and then use the proper nails to install it. Just before installing the final finish flooring, we go through the entire house and screw it down one more time to ensure that the subfloor has a solid connection to the engineered joists. This kind of attention to detail is what it takes to construct a permanently squeak-free floor.
Next week: Your attic won’t talk when it’s really cold, and you windows won’t ice up.