Why is my floor hissing?

rosysunnygirlDecember 29, 2008

In the last two days, the tiled floor in the small entry room of our 1929 tudor revival has started to hiss after we step off of it. Our home has had central heating since about 1997 (based on the age of the furnace -- there isn't even a radiator anywhere in our house); we've owned the house for four years and this is the first time this has ever happened.

The floor in this room has been settling for a while (there are gaps between the wood moulding and the floor and between the concrete door stoop and the floor) that were there when we bought it. The home inspector assured us that it was just settling that could be made prettier with wood putty, not a foundation issue. There's a storm door that seals out the cold and a glass door that leads into the foyer, but because the problem is so new, we don't think the pressure from the opening-closing is causing this.

We've looked for signs of ... reptilian unpleasantness ... but thankfully found nothing. It would be unlikely anyway, in the middle of the winter in Detroit (actual city of), Michigan.

Any ideas as to what might be causing the noise, and who we should call to fix it? Thanks very much.

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Do you feel any flexing when you walk on the floor? It sounds like there may be gaps between the tile and what's underneath, and when you walk you force air out and when you step off, it's getting sucked back in as the floor covering returns to it's original position. I think to really solve the problem, you'd have to remove the tile and use level best or some other leveling compound before re-tiling.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 9:54PM
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Michigan has been having some crazy weather recently with temps all over the place, rain, snow etc. That would make the wood expand and contract and cause little gaps that air can get it. In a wood floor, that could cause squeaking. With a solid surface like tile, the air moving in and out through tiny cracks could cause a hissing sound.

Is this area over a basement or crawlspace so you could
access it from below? If so, you could try putting a couple of screws in from below to hold the subfloor and whatever underlayment is there tight together. Just have someone stand on the area and then drive in some appropriately sized screws. That may be enough to stop the floor from moving and stop the hissing sound.

If not, I would just wait it out until for the winter and see if it goes away on its own when the wood expands in the warmer/wetter summer air. Tearing everything up would be my last resort.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 11:36AM
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