If you've ever been woken up in the middle of the night by noisy floorboards, you know how frustrating it can be. But just thinking about how much money it would cost to fix the problem frustrates you. Luckily, you can do a few things to fix the issue without calling in a professional. In this blog post, we'll outline underlying causes and long-term solutions for those pesky squeaky floors so you can get some peace and quiet back in your home. Let's get started!
Causes of Squeaky Floors
The presence of a creaky floor in an older home is simply part and parcel of charm, but new construction homes can be frustrating when the time comes. By identifying the root cause of your squeaky flooring, you can accurately fix your wood floor.
Too Cold for Your Hardwood Floors
As the temperature outside begins to drop, you may notice that your hardwood floors start to squeak more. This is because wood contracts when it gets cold, causing the boards to pull away and rub together.
The dry winter air, combined with the heat from your home's furnace, can cause your wood floor to contract. The combination of the heat and dry, cool air causes your floorboards to shrink and move, resulting in the squeaking noise when they rub against each other.
Keeping a consistent, humid temperature at your home is key to preventing the problem of seasonal squeaks on wood floors. You can also invest in some natural remedies like installing humidifiers and keeping them running throughout the winter months to reduce any chances you'll have shrinking panels emitting pesky sounds when temperatures drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 Celsius).
Loose Floor Joist
You may be familiar with the occasional squeak if you have hardwood floors. These squeaks are nothing to worry about and are easily fixed. However, if your hardwood floors are consistently squeaking, it may signify a more serious issue with your floor joists.
Your joists can be warped, loose, or full of gaps separating them from your subfloor. You need to check the bottom side of your flooring through a basement or a room beneath the problem area to find out. Once you have located the problem, you can then take steps to repair it and prevent further damage to your hardwood floors.
When your subfloor isn't level, do you know it creates a gap between the hardwood floor and itself? This space allows your wood flooring to move, which then creates noise. Another subfloor issue is that the nails or other fasteners holding down your flooring are loose. This can happen over time as the house settles, or it may result from poor craftsmanship during the installation process.
Finally, you might have quality issues with your subfloor. For instance, you have an old home with old subfloors, or perhaps, your flooring has gone through floods or water damage. As a result, the fasteners or nails might not be able to hold your whole flooring together properly anymore.
Full-Proof Ways on How to Fix Squeaky Wood Floors Yourself
No matter what the cause, there are a few simple techniques that you can use to repair a squeaky wood floor without tearing up the entire area and starting from scratch. With a little time and patience, you can repair your squeaky wood floor and enjoy a squeak-free home.
What You'll Need
- Cordless drill
- Painter's tape
- Nail set
- Utility knife
- Construction adhesive
- Wood boards 2x4"
- Wood putty
- Wood shims
- Wood glue
How to Fix Squeaky Floors Underneath
When working in your crawlspace or basement, access to the underside of flooring is a big plus. This will make repairs easier and often invisible. On the other hand, if your squeaky hardwood floors are finished and a ceiling covers its underside, you may need to look for a manhole to climb into.
- Find the Squeaky Spot: The first step in repairing a squeaky floor is to locate the noise source. Let someone walk over the flooring while you stay below and listen. Once you find the squeaky area, mark it with a piece of painter's tape.
- Shim Your Solid Wood Floor: One possible fix is to tap and glue a wood shim with wood glue between the joist and the floorboard or subfloor if you're dealing with a squeaky floor. Wood shims are tapered wedges you use to fill in gaps to level uneven flooring that causes your floors to squeak.
- Use Squeak Enders: Squeak-Ender is a product that fixes squeaky floors quickly and easily. The product, which comes in metal brackets and screws, is designed to pull flooring layers together, eliminating the gaps that cause squeaks.
- Sister Deformed Joists: If your joists are bent, twisted, or otherwise malformed, they may be putting stress on the floorboards and causing them to squeak. You can solve this by sistering a 2x4 board along the joist. Place the end of the board on the subfloor or floorboards to distribute the load more evenly and prevent the boards from squeaking.
- Stick the Wood Floorboards Together: Use a strong adhesive to glue the seams of your floorboards and joists or subfloor. The adhesive will act as a buffer, absorbing any movement and preventing the boards from coming into contact and making noise. For best results, use a heavy-duty construction adhesive designed for bonding wood.
How to Fix Squeaky Floors From Above
If repairing your wood floors from below is proving to be tedious, we have a few solutions you can do on the top side of your hardwood flooring.
- Use powder: Try sprinkling baby powder, baking soda, or graphite powder. The powder will help keep the wood wet and smooth so that it doesn't rub together and squeak.
- Reattach Subfloor: If your flooring is carpeted, floating, or edge-stapled, you can pull it back without damaging the carpet as it is only attached minimally to your subfloor. Be sure to use 1-inch nails or screws to nail your subfloor to your joist so that you don't accidentally hit any electrical wires or plumbing.
- Nail Your Hardwood Floor: How to fix squeaky hardwood floors if you have engineered or solid hardwood floors? You have to nail it directly onto your hardwood floor. Then tuck away the nail with a nail set to avoid seeing or feeling your repair.
A squeaky floor is more than just noise. It's a symbol of an older home with spaces that need your attention. Even established homeowners may find that enough is enough and that the problem has gone on for too long.
While creaky floors may form the fabric of our home's character, in order to enjoy a serene time at home, it's important to address the issue of squeaky floors. Otherwise, we'll be left with a constant reminder of the hidden problems within our homes.
Squeaky floors are a common problem, but they don't have to be headaches. Whether your floor is squeaking from the joists or the boards themselves, we've got you covered with solutions that will work for you. Read more of our helpful articles on everything flooring so you can get your home – and peace of mind – back. Thanks for reading!