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Q&A with Handy Mac: Bath and floor problem

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Linda's bath is damaged and Linda's floor is squeaking

Linda has a problem with her bath:

Q: I am attaching a photograph of the damage drain cleaner did to the surface of my bath. How can I fix this?

A: I am surprised drain cleaner has damaged your bath to this extent. Was there any warning on the packaging? If not, I would certainly have a go at the manufacturers and try to get them to pay to resurface or replace your bath.

Over the years I have had excellent work done for such work by these companies: Renu a Bath, Mend-A-Bath and Beta Baths.

Sue has a noisy floor:

Q: We have an old prefab house in Langebaan built on wooden piles. The floors are tongue-and-groove pine. About 30 years ago we extended the house by about 2m.

The builder threw a concrete slab, over which we extended the tongue-and-groove wooden floor.

However, the new floor developed a squeak which has grown worse over the years and is now really bad. It sounds like wood on wood rather than wood on concrete.

We presume the builder put down battens and then the floorboards on top without properly nailing down the floorboards.

The squeak is very irritating.

We want to do more improvements, and sand and seal the floors, but want to eliminate the squeak before doing so, with no real idea how. We will probably have to lift a corner to see what is going on underneath.

My husband’s idea is to nail the floorboards to the battens, but I am not keen to have rows of visible nails. Any ideas would be welcome.

A: The internet is full of ideas about how to silence squeaky floors, but usually you need access from underneath, which is not an option in your case. They also say the cause is usually age-related, and your floor has been down for 30 years.

My guess is that the battens have not been fixed correctly properly to the concrete. The correct method is to cast the battens into a screed, laid on top of the concrete.

I would also guess you do not have a vapour barrier under the timber and on top of the concrete, so over the years the battens especially, and maybe the bottom of the flooring, has rotted or warped. This would cause the battens and flooring to pull apart.

There is also a chance that the battens are not at the correct centres for the thickness of flooring used. They should not be more than 400mm apart.The concrete may have settled as well, loosening things.

I don’t believe there is anything you can do but lift the floor after you have checked the corner to see which of the above apply.

I would not try to screw from the top as it will look messy, although you could hide it with a rug. I am sorry to say I can’t see a quick fix here.

*Handy Mac, aka Don MacAlister, is our expert on household DIY issues. If you have a question for him, please send it to or SMS only to 082 446 3859. Find Don on FB:

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