Bouncy squeaky chipboard floor replaced with structural ply

The problem of bouncy squeaky chipboard flooring is well documented and a constant issue that I come across and have come across on a regular basis over the past 17 years. We recently got commissioned to solve this problem in a Manchester City Centre apartment, namely phase III of the Tobacco Factory conversions, prior to the installation of a brand new laminate floor covering.

Most don’t deal with a noisy bouncy chipboard floor and simply live with this ever present nuisance. In our recent project my client was adamant that he wouldn’t put up with this and decided to make a positive decision to rectify the issue before he moved in.

We offered him a solution of removing the chipboard and replacing it with 18 mm structural spruce ply which was to be both glued and screwed to the joists.

This solution would completely remove any squeaking or bouncing of the sub-floor as plyboard is a thousand times better, stronger, and more resilient material than chipboard.

As there was other work that needed carrying out in adjoining rooms before replacement of the sub-floor, we opted for changing only the lounge and open plan kitchen  chipboard sub-floor with a view to replacing the rest when and as the project required.

Laminate removalThe area covered approximately twenty eight square metres. The first order of business was to rip up the existing horrid laminate floor and underlay. A pretty easy and straight forward process as the laminate came up quickly and without a fight, taking around twenty minutes to remove.

Chipboard removal 1Next was to carefully lift a section of the chipboard and have a good look beneath the rest of it as far as the eye could see. This primarily was to assess the joist structure, any pipe placements, and wires. As the apartment was on the first floor, we were also very conscious of the apartment below and making sure not to disturb the ceiling during the project. Surprisingly and pleasantly there was a four foot void between the joists and below apartments ceiling. Ideal!

Start of plyboard installationAfter carrying out our safety checks, we carried on the arduous task of removing the chipboard. Removing the chipboard was relatively easy. Simply using a large and small crow bar, we drove these in between the chipboard and joists to loosen the fixing nails. We then dropped the chipboard back in place and the fixing nails stay sat proud and can then be pulled out using a claw hammer. We decided to remove the chipboard in stages for safety reasons. In other words, we removed an initial section of the chipboard and immediately replaced that section with the new plyboard sheets. This is by far a better method than to simply lift all the chipboard sheets as moving around a large room with only the joists to walk on can be very dangerous and something I’d certainly not recommend.

Chipboard removal 3As the dividing metal stud walls had been built on top of the chipboard, we decided to cut as close as possible to the edge of the walls using a circular saw and leave the small sections of chipboard around the edges. Where required we added packing material to keep adequate support for the metal studding. Cutting close and not removing the chipboard beneath the dividing walls also prevented any potential dropping and cracking of the wall and plaster etc. As there was only a maximum two inch of chipboard left in, this had no baring on the overall project.

Chipboard removal 4Once the section of chipboard was removed, we cut to size and installed the 18 mm structural plyboard. Prior to installing the plyboard, we applied a 3 to 4 mm bead of Sikaflex EBT adhesive along all the relevant joists beneath the ply sheet we were installing. We then dropped the ply sheets in place and screwed 40 mm turbo screws every 250 mm, making sure to sink them 2 mm below the surface of the plyboard. This process resulted in a super firm, solid sounding, none squeaky sub-floor.

Additional supportWe did need to use some additional support (noggins) during the installation using 4 by 2 inch timber and hangers. Although this was minimal and mainly in areas where we couldn’t fix the ply sheets to as the main joists in them areas were hidden beneath partition walls. We also added some additional support at the main entrance to the room. Not strictly required but we had spare hangers and timber, so why not!

On all adjoining plyboard sheets we made sure to leave a 2 mm expansion gap between each sheet. Doing this will ensure that any slight expansion of the ply sheets wont result in compression issues and/or creaking.

Rinse and repeat!

The desired outcome was accomplished and at only £ 880 including Contact Us here..  

Alternatively, we now have a dedicated website dealing with squeaky floors nationwide. Call over and take a look at our example video’s to see what you can expect to receive…THE solution!
© Copyright 2014 Wes, All rights Reserved. Written For: Fitmywoodfloor

I am a Pergo trained professional installer of 20 years. I've been up close and personal with lots of floors and have the knobbly knees to show for it...Should you have any questions or comments please feel free to add them below. Thanks for taking the time to call by and I hope the information you've found has given you some insight!........................................................................................................................................................................“When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in the site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network,,,,,,, affiliate window network.” This statement is to comply with current internet regulations regarding transparency to consumers.

Posted in How To's, Installation and project guides, Problem floors and poor installations, Sub-Floor preparation, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , ,
  • Lindsay

    Hi Wes, thanks for your articles here, really useful. Do you happen to have any contacts in London that you would recommend for the bouncy/squeaky floor problem? Many thanks in advance.

  • Hi Lindsay,

    Thanks! Glad it’s been of some use 🙂

    Unfortunately we don’t have contacts in London for such work. However, we can travel. The only issue would be the added cost for the distance and potential over night stay/s.

    If you send me over an email (contact us page) with some measurements, and I can prepare a cost for you.

    If it’s not in the ball park, you could always look for competent joiners nearer you.

    We also now have a specific website ‘’ where you can see some example video’s of our results.