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johnnymnemonic 11-27-2011 06:25 PM

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Hey, on a different thread, one of you guys was mentioning the apparent poor quality of the plywood used as subfloors in my renovation.

For more than a week now, we've been noticing a squeak in select areas (about three total) in the vicinity of the girder that runs through the center of our condo unit. It turns out when our contractor sistered the joists he forgot to put a piece of wood over the girder to make it level with the adjacent joists.

Now the contractor has been making holes in the two affected areas, some 20-30 by now, and shooting in foam insulation, in an effort to reduce the squeaking. The squeaking is live and well - nothing has changed. The contractor has also been saying some of the squeaking will go away when we put the rubber and floor on top.

What should I do? Can I try to get a warranty from him that the floors won't squeak, just like I did with the bath tub he butchered? Or am I pretty much screwed if I keep this subfloor? What should I put in the warranty, i.e., is squeaking my only concern?

Do the subfloors need tongue-in-groove?

How to fix the squeaking? Can he pull the affected plywood out and try to fix the problem? My contractor says no, explaining that the plywood is attached to the joists and that he could compromise them.

Is the quality of the plywood insufficient for a subfloor? I've attached pictures.

Finally, I want to get an independent inspector to look at the work - who normally does this? Are there registered inspectors, or should I use a contractor? Do you know any inspectors in the Westchester, NY area?

joecaption 11-27-2011 07:44 PM

This guy is a hack and should have been fiired long ago. It should have been T & G, it should have been Advantec not Plywood (plywood will work if it's subfloor rated and thick enough, but Advantec is stronger, can not delaminate, 50 year warrenty), it should have had constrution adhesive on top of the floor joist before it even went in. I even go so far as screwing it down not nailing it. I've bought a stand up screw gun just for this, nails tend to pull out.
Foam is never ever going to stop any squecks. It 's just going to compress when steped on.
The whole floor still looks like a patch work quilt, why all the cut up pieces.
He's used the wrong materials and installed it wrong.
No it would not hurt the floor joist below to rip out what he did, he's blowing smoke again.
It's been asked several times, did someone pull a permit for this job? If there is one then have the building inspector do an inspection. All he's going to do is inspect for min. code and may not have much to say unless he has been for warned as to what your concerns are.
If this guy even has a contractor licence, which I doubt, you can go to the board of contractors and file a complant and they may send someone out to look at it.

johnnymnemonic 11-27-2011 08:42 PM

I understand your point about Advantec, but since we didn't mention it in the contract he doesn't necessarily have to use it. He only needs to do what's standard. I think he used CDX plywood.

Can you tell from the pictures that the plywood he used isn't good enough? I don't want to bust the guy's chops if it's not entirely sure.

Yes, there are permits for this job.

We'll try to get the building inspector to stop sending in my engineer and start doing his job.

Yes, the contractor has a license; it's the only way he could have pulled the permits. We'll look into this board of contractors thing; thanks for the tip.

joecaption 11-27-2011 09:20 PM

The building inspector is trying to do a cya, (cover your a**)
Even your architect should have known to spec, T&G for a sub floor.
I have not seen someone use anything but T&G for many many years. Advantec would have been cheaper then Plywood so there is no good reason not to have used it.
Every part of the building process is important, If the foundation is poor then everything above it will suffer.
What do you plan on laying for a finised floor? If it's tile then just reguler plywood is going to fail because the grout and the tiles will crack. I'm sure he's going to try and tell you it does not matter because he's going to go over it with something to stop it from moving. BS not going to happen.

joecaption 11-28-2011 07:14 AM

You may want to take a look and even sign on to this web site. It's nothing but questions like your asking.
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johnnymnemonic 11-29-2011 05:42 AM

We're putting hardwood flooring (oak) in the whole apartment, with the exception of the bathroom, where we'll put tile.

joecaption 11-29-2011 07:01 AM

One other thing for you to worry about.
I've yet to see an old building like yours have wide enough floor joist for the span there carrying. There's little options since there's ceiling below to add any sort of center support to shorten the spans being carryed, so sistering to what's there would have been an option.
Without it that floors going to bounce, the wood floors will squeck and the grout or tiles going to crack.
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johnnymnemonic 06-28-2012 09:30 PM

We eventually had our contractor put a second subfloor layer purchased by us. It was higher quality plywood. We had them screw the subfloor in with screws purchased by us.

As mentioned on a different thread ( ), at least two squeaks are still there. There's also a noise sometimes in the bathroom when stepping on a certain tile.

That's about it. Floor job was a joke, we had the floors resanded by a third party.

joecaption 06-29-2012 06:56 AM

I also wonder if he's the same guy that worked on a house down the street from me.
It was an old farm house some bought from out of state to live in when he retired and fix up.
Over the years he rented it out to people that all told them they would "fix" it up for lower rent.
One guy installed new siding and messed up every single piece of it, no joke he never over lapped the butt joints, he installed the siding and instead of using outside corners he tryed to make his own out of 1 X's and just screwed them through the siding.

He gets booted out and another guy moves in, he installed the new kitchen cabinets with framing nails, and must mot have had a level because they looked like he had measured from the floor up to mark the line for setting the upper cabinets, keep in mind it's a 100 plus year old house. The cabinets where never screw together through the face frames so there was gaps between everyone.
He gets booted out.
The next guy that moves in build a porch on the back side of the house that 10 X 16 ft. wide using 2 X 6's for the 16' run with no center support and puts the door right in the middle of the outside wall plus nailed the ledgers right through the vinyl siding and unlocked the siding where the roof met the siding and tryed sliding the shingles up under the siding instead of using flashing.
The floor was not level so he added 5, layers of 3/8 plywood to level it.
Still not level, but it sure is thick.
A kitchen cabinet fell off the wall and hit his girl friend in the head so she sues the owner for a $1,000,000 for pain and suffering.

joecaption 06-29-2012 07:06 AM

If I had of cought anyone trying to inject foam to fix a floor squeek that would have been it for me, he would be out of there.
It should have been no less then 3/4" thick and T & G and constrution adhesive on top of the joist and nailed or better yet screwed in place every 8".
Than a layer of subfloor rated at least 3/8 plywood making sure the seams did not line up with the seams below, not fastened to the floor joist and attached every 4" on the edges and every 6 to 8" in the field.

One reason for the thicker underlayment even if it's not going to be tiled in your house is it's an old building with long spans spaced far apart.

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