Hillside home’s creaky floor a mystery

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Q: We had hardwood floors installed in our home in March after purchasing it a month earlier. Now the floors constantly crack and pop when you walk on them, to the point that it is very annoying and distracting. The contractor just pointed to the natural settling process of the property and changes in the weather. To make matters worse, he has departed the business and purchased a restaurant, and is claiming no responsibility. A: Our first instinct is to agree with the contractor. Normal settling and changes in weather certainly could cause the noise. But after asking our reader a number of questions and reading his responses, we're not so sure. This is what he wrote: "The previous floors, also hardwood, were top-nailed rather than the tongue-and-groove, and made no such noises -- and had been in place many years. If original, they date from the late '50s. The subfloor is plank, not plywood. "There has been some settling of the house since it was built. It sits atop a hill...