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OSB subfloor noises

dt4's picture

We have ripped out the carpets in our 2nd floor bedrooms, exposing the osb subfloors. Before we have new carpets installed, I did want to address an ongoing "popping" noise that is particularily bad in one of the bedrooms. (note, home built in early 80's with 2x10 joists spaced 16oc, finished ceiling below so only access is from above).

When I enter the room, there is all sorts of popping that occurs as you walk across the osb. The popping seems to occur several feet away from where you are walking. I have used decking screws to screw next to each existing nail into the joists below but still get the popping sounds when walking across it. Driving me crazy. Now I'm wondering if the T&G subfloor is rubbing against itself and that is causing the popping noises?

Before I install any new flooring, I wanted to try and resolve these annoying pops.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


dt (post #207435, reply #1 of 8)

Is the subfloor buckled in any way?

Could it be heat ducts pressed up too tight to the subfloor?


If screwing it down don't silence it (as it should), you might be best to cut out the offending area and redoing it-this time glueing, screwing after you've added blocks along the newly cut seams.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


check at the walls (post #207435, reply #2 of 8)

Some of the worst squeaks I have tried to track down were not a case of the subfloor squeaking against the nails - although I wouldn't hesitate to screw it back down.

Usually I find that it is the nails through the bottom plate into the sublfloor that is causing the most noise. For first floor situations it is as simple as going in the basement and screwing up through the subfloor into the bottom plate.

With your case of it being the second floor, try removing the base board and toe screw through the drywall, through the bottom plate and into the subfloor. Not as positive as through the bottom up, but doesn't sound like an option for you.



popping noise at walls (post #207435, reply #8 of 8)

Terry, thank you a ton.   Was about to cut up osb subfloor and then found this.


Popping sound was eminating from edge of floor near interior wall, even when walking on other side of the room.  I could feel the popping on my hands as i shuffled closer to the wall. 

Since reading your post, i used 3" deck screws angled thru drywall into bottom pate and tried to the joists as well.... bingo, noise is gone. 

Basement was finished so i couldn't do it from the bottom.  I guess the other thing to do would be to snug a few pieces of shim under the base plate, for any filler that would be needed...


ThX again...

The floors in this home were (post #207435, reply #3 of 8)

The floors in this home were poorly done -- mostly 2 layers of OSB, nailed occasionally -- and they squeaked pretty badly in places.  Over the years I've eliminated most of the squeaks, though, using a variety of techniques.

Most common was the OSB going up and down on the nail shaft, and well-placed screws fixed this.  (Note that you can get special break-off screws you can drive through carpet.)  I also had, though, some cases where edges of adjacent sheets were rubbing against each other, and a little glue in the joint did the trick.  (A large hypodermic works well here.)

My late aunt had a problem in her apartment where the floor would rise and fall while the central partition wall was firmly fastened to the overhead trusses and stayed put.  So you got squeaks all along the bottom of the wall.  Never did fix that, as it would have required crawling under there and reenforcing the floor.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Thanks to everyone for the (post #207435, reply #4 of 8)

Thanks to everyone for the advice. I don't think its ductwork as there is only one duct in the room and the popping seems to occur all over the place. when you walk on the subfloor, you have pops that occur beneath you as well as 10 feet away. Very frustrating.

I never thought about the base plates before? Some of the pops do seem to go under walls (into the closet) and I'm wondering if the base plates needs to be secured further. Will try toe-nailing (screws) base plates to see it that doesn't eliminate some of the noises.

I will also try glue (construction adhesive) in the seems of the subfloor panels as I do think some of them are rubbing against each other.

I will also use a whole lot more screws to ensure the panels are tight against the joists.

Thanks again for all or your advice!!!

dt (post #207435, reply #5 of 8)

I know you mentioned it, but is the subfloor in fact T&G?

Does it cross a beam anywhere along its path?  If so, is there a change in joist layout (side by side-overlap) that they have cut the tongues off to but against the newly layed out area (other side of a beam)?

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


Thanks for your comments. (post #207435, reply #6 of 8)

Thanks for your comments. Yes, the osb subfloor panels are T&G. The room is a large square directly above a same sized room below. It could be possible that some of the osb panels might be missing the tongue. I will have to look closer, but I do know it appears the majority are T&G.

I may try talcom powder in the subfloor seams to see if that makes the sound go away. If it does, I will then use glue in the seams for a more permenant fix. This is really frustrating, I've installed a ton of screws and the popping subsided briefly until I walked on the other side of the floor, then they seem to come back from the area I just screwed down.....

Thanks again

dt4, since the home was (post #207435, reply #7 of 8)


since the home was built in the early 80's  there's a good chance they used metal bridging,

which if it wasn't nailed carefully, would allow some fairly loud (and annoying ) popping noises when walked across,

just likeyou described. Since even if you screw the sub-floor from above there's still the underside attachment

point that can cause some noises, and that is inaccesible except by either opening the subfloor or screwing up

through the finish ceiling of the room below, which would then require re-mudding and re-priming/ painting.

It sounds like(no pun intended) no easy solution to this problem.