We had a loft conversion when we first moved into the bungalow. The builder used nails to keep the plywood floor in place. More in the last few years or so, there has been more obvious movement of the plywood when one moves about the flooring.
How can I fix this?
It should have been glued too and I would have used deck screws. You could use screws now and just countersink and fill the holes to match the wood. Hard for me to really know as I cannot see it.
You will have to determine why the building is moving.
Start in the basement first and examine the foundation. Look for cracks in the floor and/or foundation. Exam the outside ground -- can you see a line of old dirt that is higher than the actual soil? Or is it the reverse?
The next step is to look on the main floor for stress cracks. Check the walls, corners, floors for any cracking, shifting, buckling. Look inside closets, cupboards and so on.
The next question is where is the loft located? How was it structured? Was the loft a brand new addition to the house? Was there added structural support? Or is the loft supported with a wall underneath it?
From these examinations and questions, you can determine the next steps. If there are cracks (especially wide and large ones), you must contact a building profession to come and look. These would indicate that the structure of the building has been compromised.
If there are stress cracks on the main floor, then there is shifting in the building. These are normal.
The loft could be moving due to the above reasons, or just because the plywood is drying out, which causes a shift between them. In this case, you can remove the floor covering (carpet, hardwood, tile, lino) then proceed to remove the nails and replacing with screws. I suggest you hire someone who has professional training to do this. It sounds easy, but there is a method to ensure that the old boards will still "fit" properly when it is all completed.
When you refer to movement of the plywood, does it squeak? The squeaking sound is caused by the shrinking of the plywood as it dries, and it is rubbing on the nails. If this is the case, then you can add baby powder into the nails and it will stop the squeaking. This will not stop the plywood from "popping" or moving when you walk on it. Another simple solution would be to take a mallet and gently strike the nails back down into their original position.
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