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I (well, a contractor) added a new addition to my house, and the floor creaks when I walk on it. I crawled under the addition and identified the problem.

On each footing, there is a steel bracket that connects the footing to the beam it supports. The bracket is connected tightly with screws. At the site of the noise, there is a small gap (~3/8 in.) between the footing and the beam. In other words, the beam is floating slightly above the footing. Thus, this particular bracket makes a creaking noise when the beam moves.

The bracket doesn't move visibly... it just creaks.

I tried to fix the problem by stuffing shims into the gap, but it didn't really work. Depending on the temperature, the noise gets better or worse sometimes.

Any suggestions? Is it safe for me to DIY this? If I remove or replace the bracket, will the resulting beam movement cause damage to walls or windows?

Thanks!

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    You should be able to deal with this yourself. Please post a clear photo so the situation is more clear. – isherwood Feb 13 at 15:18
  • I will try to get a photo this afternoon. Here's an image of a similar connector: bayarearetrofit.com/wp-content/uploads/… Incidentally, I found that photo on a website that says the brackets are not actually necessary (bayarearetrofit.com/post-beam-connection). – Peter Feb 13 at 15:21
  • Brackets are necessary to isolate untreated "white" wood from concrete (to prevent moisture transfer), and some means of attachment is required, but that could be a hidden steel pin. I suspect that a liberal application of heavy duty construction adhesive would help your situation, but I'd like to see it. – isherwood Feb 13 at 15:28
  • @Peter Yes, brackets ARE REQUIRED by current code standards and I hope I have time today to prove it. If not today, tomorrow for sure. – Lee Sam Feb 13 at 16:45
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    Did you drive shims in from each side? If only pushed in by hand or only one side they may still allow some give. I will usually smack them with a hammer a time or so add to the other side and make sure both are tight before checking, I have a 1930 farm house on pier blocks and have to adjust different areas every year or so to eliminate the creaking. – Ed Beal Feb 13 at 16:52
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Like Ed Beal suggested in a comment, you mostly need to drive your shims in more assertively. However, I'd use plenty of construction adhesive as well.

  1. Remove the shims now in place if they'll come out with a little effort.
  2. Blow or vacuum out all dust and debris.
  3. Inject plenty of heavy-duty construction adhesive into all gaps.
  4. Firmly drive pressure-treated wood or synthetic shims into any gap, above or below the metal brackets.
  5. Add more adhesive around the shims to lock them in place.

24 hours later everything should be really well stabilized and silent.

  • Thanks! I'll try this. It's an 18 inch crawlspace so it's difficult to swing a hammer. Also, because the gap is thin, the tips of the shims keep breaking off. Are there stronger shims I could be using? – Peter Feb 14 at 20:47
  • You could run a bunch of corrosion-resistant screws into the gaps, along with the construction glue. You could also make shims out of a harder wood. – isherwood Feb 14 at 21:03
  • yeah, and keep driving those shim wedges until the floor rises slightly, perhaps you could run a string line or laser level to help you know when. – Jasen Feb 15 at 5:34
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Hmmm...so many issues. I’ll start with two: 1) why you experience a squeaking noise, and 2) why I hate those pre-cast footing supports.

1) The footing is pre-cast...not poured in place. Some have metal clips cast into them...this one does not. This one probably has a hole for a metal connector to fit in, like this one.

Unfortunately, this type of connector CAN move up and down in the pre-cast hole. The joists, beam, post, etc. can dry out and shrink. When this happens, the footing connector will move slightly up in the hole. Then, when you walk across the floor your weight will cause the metal post to scrape as it moves down in the pre-cast hole...and likewise it will scrape when you pass and the extra load is removed. (Have I mentioned how much I hate these connectors and pre-cast footings yet?)

2) Seismic loads come 2 ways: side-to-side AND up-and-down. Seismic design is intended to keep everything together no matter which way the loading occurs.

Your seismic loading comes primarily from side-to-side (I’m guessing you’re from Southern California.) When this happens you can see that there’s a good chance the wood floors will be moving in one direction and the concrete is moving in the opposite direction. When this happens the footing will tip over and the connector can slip out of the hole in the pre-cast footing and you have no support for your floors.

(Have I mentioned how much I hate these types of connectors and pre-cast footings yet?)

The fix: replace the pre-cast footings with poured in place AND install connectors in the footing during the pour. (If you try to epoxy the existing metal base support into the existing pre-cast footing there’s no guarantee it will withstand the additional load of you walking on it and not continue to squeak. Remember, the lumber will continue to shrink.)

  • Thanks, Lee. That photo shows a pre-cast footing, but my footing is actually cast-in-place. The bracket in question is between the top of my post and the beam it supports. The noise occurs because of a small gap there. Sorry for the confusion -- any suggestions? – Peter Feb 14 at 17:21

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