I am not talking about laminate planks, but actual subfloor sections. My entire room consists of tongue-and-groove boards. I was under the impression that the point of this was so you didn't have to fasten them to joists with nails or screws, but all of mine are nailed in. Pulling up the nails is not a problem, but being able to lift up a section of floor without damaging the tongue (which I have done prior to figuring this out the hard way).

Are the tongues necessary? Can I just take my circular saw right between the boards, cut them way, and then screw them back down afterward?

I am doing remodeling and think I have a squeaky joist. I want to tend to it before putting an underlayment over it. If someone can tell me how to secure a potentially squeaky joist through the top of the subfloor and not from below then I will change the title of this question and mark you as the answer.

  • Possible duplicate - diy.stackexchange.com/questions/9478/…
    – ChrisF
    Nov 4, 2011 at 16:54
  • 2
    @ChrisF : maybe by the title, but the last paragraph makes me think it's an XY problem (asking a question that they think will solve the problem, but they should be asking about the problem itself). I'd instead look at : diy.stackexchange.com/questions/8047 ; diy.stackexchange.com/questions/392 ; or even though it's about new construction, some of the answers apply in diy.stackexchange.com/questions/4323
    – Joe
    Nov 4, 2011 at 17:23
  • @Joe - that's why I didn't close immediately - I wanted some feedback first.
    – ChrisF
    Nov 4, 2011 at 17:25
  • 1
    And now that I look at it -- as it's subfloor tongue & groove, you might be able to just screw it right down to the joists then put your new floor over top, as you won't have the issues with hiding screw heads.
    – Joe
    Nov 4, 2011 at 17:26
  • 1
    How about asking the question you want answered? I think in this case it is "How can I fix a squeaky joist without damaging too much of my flooring?"? Nov 4, 2011 at 20:03

1 Answer 1


Are the tongues necessary? Can I just take my circular saw right between the boards, cut them way, and then screw them back down afterward?

You've been misinformed. The point of tongue-in-groove planking is to keep the floor boards from twisting, slipping and sliding against each other and squeaking (or squeaking more in your case). You still need to secure a tongue-in-groove floor to the subfloor or joists.

Joists almost never squeak on their own. Squeaking comes from two pieces of wood rubbing against each other - usually because a floor hasn't been adequately secured.

Now if you DO need to cut away the flooring, then you should cut along the seams, and then buy Hardwood Floor Spline and rout out the old tongue so you end up with two grooves facing each other, and use the spline to rejoin the flooring when you reattach it.

But BEFORE you do that, I'd get a bunch of 2" coated screws and drop them through the subfloor into the joists below and see if that fixes the squeak. It's subfloor so you don't care about the face, and if it doesn't work, they're easily removed.

*Tip - use a hammerdrill when putting in the screws

  • +1 for bringing up wood and wood causing squeaks, something I hadn't thought about. I was only considering wood against nail. I will inspect better with wood/wood under consideration when I get home. I've screwed that floorboard down so tight, though, that I have no idea how anything could be moving. Nov 4, 2011 at 19:15
  • I think I am going to be going the spline route this weekend. I can straddle the joist in question and rock to the left and right and the entire floorboard moves up and down. I actually put a laser light pointer right on the joist and pointed it at the wall perpendicular to it and the pointer moved up and down about 1/4 inch. I think this tells me that there could be something wrong with one of the joists on either side of the center joist. Any pointers or am I just going to have to play this one out on my own? Nov 10, 2011 at 13:43
  • What are the joist dimensions and how long is the span the joist is covering? Do the other joists also move? Best solution here might be sistering another joist in - but that's by no means an easy task when you're working from above and are trying to protect the floor. Nov 10, 2011 at 14:43
  • Thanks for posting this solution, first thing I found from google and exactly what I needed to read before heading to the lumber yard today. Jun 18, 2012 at 14:38

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