Floor creaking

salbwilNovember 30, 2012

Hello tile experts,
My nightmare problems continue in this bathroom.
My floor is creaking quite loudly since the tile went in. The carpenter installed a layer of plywood over the plywood that was there . It appeared solid and was screwed down. The tile person then installed 1/4 cement board and supposedly nailed and thinset this down and then installed the tile . Now, we have a loud creak when one steps on the floor next to the tub. The carpenter is calling the tile person tonight to see what he says.
Do I need him to take out the floor tile ? I am afraid of it cracking at this point. He also has grouted all the changes of plane in my tub surround instead of caulking them and is reluctant to remove this grout and replace it with caulk.

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Can you identify the lcoation? Tub? or from actually within the floor structure?

Cast iron tub or "plastic"?

It's very common for acrylic tubs to squeak if they are not detailed correctly. Could be friction movement between the tub flange and the wall, or a tub foot and the subfloor.

If the noise is from the floor and you have access to the underside of the floor (from the basement, for example), you can inspect the underside of the floor and see if a fastener came through the subfloor and is rubbing against the side of a joist.

If it's a cast iron tub, I've never ever had an issue with them.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 12:26AM
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Thanks for the reply.
It is a plastic tub and there was no noise till the final tiling to the edge of the tub. Could the tile be causing the tub to creak , but it sounds as though it is coming from the floor .

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 10:45AM
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Sorry to not answer completely.....there is no access to the floor from below. This bath is on the second floor and there is a finished bath/laundry below with a " nice" ceiling that we obviously don't want to disturb. As I stated, the floor did not creak till the final course of tile next to the tub was in and grouted. It is the floor that appears to be creaking, but we are wondering if the sound is transferring from the acrylic tub . It is a very loud sound. Do I need to remove this last course of tile and grout ?
Thank you,

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 11:50AM
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It's hard to offer advice without being there.

Get a partner. Step on the floor to make the sound.

Have the partner get into the tub. Try to make the sound again. Sometimes loading the tub can eliminate the movement. If you can't find a helper, you can fill the tub with water.

If the squeak remains with the partner in the tub, have the partner put pressure on the bottom course of tile. Try to step on the spot on the floor that make the sound. Have the partner move from tile to tile. Repeat. That may or may not work, because with it all being thinset, tile, and grout, you may not be able to deflect the wall with pressure from your hand.

If the tub was installed, the floor tiled, the wall backer board installed and everything tiled but the bottom course of tile? And no squeak?

Then the bottom course if tile installed and the tub/tile joint grouted instead of caulked...then it squeaked?

Yeah, it sounds like a friction issue with thinset/grout/tile and the tub flange.

If you get nowhere with your squeak-searching two-step, then I'd recommend removing the grout from between the bottom course of tile and the tub.

If the sound goes away, then caulk that joint.

If the sound remains, I'd pop off some or all of the bottom course of wall tiles. Clear away thinset from the flange. Check the screws/nails that attach the tub flange to the wall studs.

The put it all back together!

Sorry for your troubles.

Now, sometimes these friction squeaks rectify themselves. So if it's not driving you completely bonkers, you could see if the sound disappears over time.

If the sound is definitely coming from under the floor, I had one issue a few years back where someone used the wrong pipe hanger for a PVC tub waste pipe that ran through a joist bay under the bathroom floor. Friction squeak.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 6:43PM
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Thank you, Mongoct,
I wasn't plain in my description of the tile. The creaking started when the last row of floor tiles next to the tub was installed and the floor grouted. I understand what you are saying about the tub and the wall tile there, but that is not the case here. The corners of the tub and where the tub meets the wall do indeed need to be caulked, but , as I stated, it is the floor tiles or maybe the grout itself next to the tub , or maybe even the tub itself that is causing this . The sound is very loud. Ido appreciate your help and suggestions. Will talk to the tile installer on Monday and see what he thinks. He is sick of me by now.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 8:32PM
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Gotcha. The good news? That's even easier! lol

If it is a friction noise between the grout and the tub, then removing the grout and caulking that joint will probably take care of the issue.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 8:58PM
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Hi salbwil,
How did you fix the creaking bathroom floor? Did you caulk the joint? We are having the same issue after my contractor grouted the last row of tile next to our acryllic bathtub. Our bathroom is on the second floor too.
Thank you very much.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2015 at 7:45PM
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You finally got to doing the other bathroom! Shoulda called me. :-)

    Bookmark   January 29, 2015 at 10:33PM
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