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Question: I had my bathroom gut renovated. Beautiful job, but now the new wall squeaks when you step on the floor close to the wall. Then when you step away from the wall it squeaks again. The wall didn’t squeak before I paid for the renovation. What steps should I take with the contractor?

— Squeaked in Lenox Hill

Dear Squeaked:

This is pretty deep in the renovation/construction realm, and, surprisingly, not that unusual. I did my research, and you followed up with your contractor, who offered to let you keep the last 10 percent of the overall cost of the project or to fix it by going through the other side of the wall.

Choice 1 leaves the squeak squeaking; choice two requires temporarily taking out your kitchen cabinets. I vote for No. 2.

The squeak is most likely a result of improper framing of the wall — perhaps something as simple as failure to nail down the bottom plate (the two-by-four that sits on the sub-flooring). In any room but a tiled bathroom, that would be a fairly simple fix: Take off the baseboard and place shims between the plate and subfloor, and close it back up.

That’s essentially what your contractor is proposing to do in your kitchen. It’s a lot easier to take down cabinets and go through the drywall than to take out tiling or, worse still, to take out a shower or tub if the problem is back there. Go for it. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of days, max.

One last thought: Take pictures of the cabinets before they’re taken down and put back up. The contractor should fix any damage or new surface blemishes.

David Crook is a veteran journalist and author of The Complete Wall Street Journal Real-Estate Investing and Homeowner’s Guidebooks. Do you have a question about anything real estate-related in NYC? Write him at For verification purposes, please include your name and a phone number; neither will be published. Note: Nothing in this column should be considered professional legal advice. If you have a legal issue, consult an attorney.