Living Upstairs, Video Games, and Squeaky Floors?

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An LA reader wrote in with a question dear to our own nerdy, gaming hearts:

My girlfriend and I live in a multi-story unit building, where we reside in one of the upper units. We're avid Dance Dance Revolution players, but we've noted that our enthusiastic moves create a lot of floor squeaking. We don't want to bother the neighbors below, but we also don't want to give up one of our favourite exercise pastimes in our small apartment. Any ideas?
-aspectratio

As a fellow gamer and upstairs resident, I relate to this very same dilemma. In fact, to the chagrin of my better half, I initially got rid of our original Dance Dance Revolution dance pads because I worried about bothering our neighbor downstairs  when we moved into our current unit. With a few easy adjustments, we're now able to enjoy DDR again.

Let's consider the first and easiest problem. Whether you're playing DDR or doing your favourite workout, we recommend using a rug and/or pad underneath. We purchased padded DDR pads and place our area rug underneath when playing. It dampened the sound so much, our neighbor below said he didn't even know we were dancing above (we also try to avoid high flights of fanciful footwork). This goes the same for when we're playing Nintendo Wii/Xbox Kinect games or doing other traditional workouts. A yoga mat or workout pad available at Target or any sporting goods store do equally great jobs of dampening the sound.

Squeaky floors are a whole other issue. Normally creaky floors are caused by loose subflooring. In older buildings, the plywood subflooring was nailed to the joist framework without an industrial adhesive, so over time the nail can dislodge and loosen. What you're hearing is flexing plywood underneath with each step of pressure. If you're willing to take out a hammer and a few 8d finishing nails, you might be able to kill that squeak according to these directions from DoItYourself.com:

To do this re-nailing job, you must make sure the nails are driven home into the floor joists. To locate the floor joists and the direction they run, peel back a bit of the carpet and pad at one wall and look for nail heads. If you don't see any, do the same on a perpendicular wall.

Once you have found the nailing pattern on the subfloor, determine the distance between floor joists, which will usually be 16 or 24 inches. Then affix a piece of 1-inch masking tape to the carpet to mark the location of each joist.

Finally, nail through the tape with a finishing nail every 6 inches, making sure to completely set the nails. This should eliminate the creaks in the floor.

(Image: Gregory Han)

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