Hardwood floors are a very durable and long-lasting choice for your house. Their classic, old-world charm also looks great in any home. Unfortunately, given that they are a natural material, they can sometimes develop problems over time. If you notice any squeaks or creaking sounds, then you should take action immediately.
Luckily it is often a simple fix, so read on below for our guide on how to fix squeaky hardwood floors.
There are several reasons why hardwood floors might squeak. It is usually because a floorboard has become loose, and it is moving around whilst rubbing against the other boards.
If you have noticed a squeak, it’s important to determine whether the problem is with your flooring or something else. Here are some tips on how to fix squeaky hardwood floors.
Why Do Floors Creak?
There are many reasons why your home’s floor might be making a squeaking noise. Some common causes include:
- Moisture trapped beneath the floorboards (which is why we recommend steam cleaning hardwood floors)
- Dirt and debris accumulating under the floorboards
- Loose floorboards
If you think you may have one of these issues, contact a professional who specializes in fixing squeaky floors.
You’ll need to determine which problem caused the noise first. Then, you’ll need to address each issue separately.
If you suspect your floorboards are loose, you’ll need to tighten them down. To do this, simply slide a screwdriver between the top and bottom layers of floorboards. Make sure not to force the screw too far into the board; otherwise, you could damage the floorboard.
Once you’ve tightened all the loose boards, you’ll need to reseal any cracks or holes in the floor.
If you find that water is trapping itself under your floorboards, you’ll need to get rid of the excess moisture. The easiest way to do this is by using a dehumidifier.
Finally, if you suspect that your floorboards aren’t properly secured, you’ll need to reattach them. You may need to hire a professional to do the job, or you can follow our guide below.
How Do You Prevent Hardwood Floors From Squeaking?
Water staining is one of the most common causes of squeaking floors.
When water gets trapped beneath the floorboards, it creates pressure and eventually causes the floor to squeak. Fortunately, it’s easy to stop this from happening.
Here are some tips on preventing water stains from forming in the first place:
Keep Your House Dry
Make sure that your home stays as dry as possible. This means keeping windows closed and doors shut during rainstorms. Also, try to keep the basement and crawl space dry by sealing cracks around pipes and drains.
Clean Spills Quickly
If you spill something on the floor, clean it up immediately. Don’t let water sit on the floor for long periods of time.
Check For Leaks
Most homes have small holes in their roofs. These holes allow water to enter the attic. Check your roof regularly to make sure there aren’t any leaks.
Even a small leak can bring in enough moisture to cause a squeaky floor.
Squeaky Floor Repair
A creaky floor can be very annoying. However, with a little bit of elbow grease, you can easily get rid of those annoying noises. Here are some quick fixes that you can use to fix squeaky floors:
Use Wood Varnish Or Wax
Wood varnishes and waxes can help reduce the amount of noise coming from your floor. Apply a coat of either product to all of the floorboards.
Allow the varnish or wax to dry completely before moving anything else. This also prevents moisture from getting soaked into the wood.
Fill Cracks With Caulk
Crack filler is a great way to fill small gaps in your floor. Simply apply caulk or crack filler to the area where the noise is occurring.
Let the filler dry completely before adding another layer.
Change The Floorboard Material
You may want to consider changing the type of material used in your floorboards. For example, if you’re using oak boards, switch to pine boards.
Pine boards tend to be less noisy than oak boards because they are more flexible.
Install New Flooring
Installing new flooring can also help eliminate squeaks. If you’ve already tried everything on your old, worn-out floor, replace it with a brand new floor.
Fixing Creaks Under Carpeting
Carpeting is often installed over wood flooring. Unfortunately, carpeting tends to trap moisture underneath the floor. This moisture can lead to problems such as squeaking and warping.
Finally, seal any cracks or holes in your carpet with caulk.
How To Fix Squeaking Stairs
Stair squeaks are annoying at best. They can also pose a safety hazard. That’s because they often indicate a potential problem with your stairs.
Here are some things you can do to keep your stairway quiet:
- Replace worn treads
- Install non-skidding mats
- Use soft rugs
- Add carpet padding
If you notice any of these problems, call a professional. A qualified installer can assess the situation and provide advice on what needs to be done
How To Fix Squeaky Hardwood Floors
Squeaky floors are frustrating. Not only that, they can be so noisy that they might wake up family members or your significant other.
Luckily, there are steps we can take to address the problem.
First, you must locate where the squeaking boards are. Follow the steps below to help eliminate these squeaking floorboards once and for all!
Shim The Subfloor
The first step in fixing squeaky floors is to shim the subfloor. You’ll first need to find out where the squeaking is located. Take a close look at the subfloor.
Look for any gaps or crevices. This could be the source of the noise.
Once you’ve found the location of the squeaking, you should then shim the subfloor where possible. The squeaking floorboards usually happen when the subfloor is separated from the floor joists.
Shimming the subfloor with some wedge shims between the joist and the subfloor should resolve this issue. Use a claw hammer to gently tap these wedges into place.
Cleat The Subfloor
After filling the gap, you’ll need to clear the subfloor. Cleating involves securing the boards in the subfloor with a piece of wood, preventing them from moving around.
This sometimes works better than shimming individual boards. Try nailing a piece of 1 by 4 to the joist as it is wedging against the subfloor.
You should cut the piece of wood to fit tight against the joist. You can secure the wood using drywall screws. Repeat this step in several areas if necessary.
If you’re hearing squeaking boards across a significant area of the floor, this is an indication that the joists below the floorboards are moving around slightly and not supporting the subfloor adequately.
In this case, some steel bridging between the joists may be necessary to stabilize the subfloor.
Install New Treads
Once you’ve finished cleaning the subfloor, you’ll want to install new treads. Installing new treads is fairly simple. Just nail down the new treads. Then, cut off any excess material.
Finally, apply caulk around the edges of the treads. This will create a seal between the treads and the subfloor.
Drives Screws From Below
Now that you’ve installed new treads, you’ll probably want to add screws to hold the floorboards in place.
Sometimes the squeaking you hear is actually caused by the nails rubbing against the floorboards.
Using short nails through the bottom of the subfloor can help prevent this from happening. You must use a power drill to drill a pilot hole in the subfloor, and then a smaller hole into the finished floor.
It’s helpful to get someone to stand on the floorboards as you screw them tight.
Drive Nail From Above
If you don’t have access to the subfloor, another option is to drive nails through the top surface of the floorboards to secure them in place.
You must locate the floor joists first locate the floor joists in order to nail directly into them.
That Was It – The Soffa Mag Guide To Squeaky Floor Repair
Squeaky hardwood floors aren’t fun. They can also cause damage to your home.
If you’ve tried everything else, and still cannot stop the squeak, you might consider having your hardwood floors replaced.
A professional installation team can make sure that you get the best results.
Fixing squeaky hardwood floors isn’t always easy. But, it’s certainly worth the effort. By following the steps outlined above, you’ll be able to get rid of those annoying squeaks once and for all.
With all of these fixes, you should see a noticeable improvement in your squeaky floors. Your home should now be quieter than ever before.
Once you’re finished with the repairs, don’t forget to keep up the appearance of your hardwood floors by applying some kind of sealant.
For those readers who prefer a visual explanation, check out this video below on how to fix squeaky hardwood floors from our friends over at This Old House.