By Mary Ellen Polson
Part of the charm of an old wood floor lies in its minor imperfections: the familiar creak of a floorboard; a gentle undulation in the hall; the gouge mark so ancient that the scar has a patina. Any older log home can be expected to have floors that squeak, sag or slope, and, in most cases, these flaws aren’t structural. With a little know-how, you can easily silence faulty floorboards and repair minor damage. We’ll also give you tips on what to do about those pesky cracks that open up as the seasons change.
When flooring problems are the result of old age, it’s a pretty good bet that conditions have stabilized. (In other words, they probably won’t get worse — at least not while you live there.) You can troubleshoot your floors by talking a walk around the room.
You’re likely to hear problem spots before you see them. A squeak usually means a floorboard isn’t making adequate contact with the supporting joist below. A deeper-sounding creak is probably an indication that the joist is inadequate. Spongy spots can result from either condition. The solution is to reattach loosened boards using a pair of nails driven into the heart of the squeak or by anchoring them with screws.