Squeaks, creaks, and floor noise can be a continuous nuisance if you have hardwood flooring. If you’re wondering how to fix creaky wood floors in your home, you’ll first have to get to the bottom of the squeak!
We’ll teach you how to find the source of the squeak, how to determine what’s causing your squeaky wood floor, and how to stop wood floors from creaking.
Here’s our guide to hardwood floor squeak repair for no more squeaks and creaks!
Why do floors squeak?
Floors squeak for one reason, and that is movement of the planks, subfloor or floor joists. Floor creaking means that either floor planks or subfloor boards are shifting as you put pressure on them.
This movement in the floor can be in one of several parts of the floor, and are easiest to fix when the subfloor is accessible from beneath. Floors sometimes creak because the floorboards have swollen and returned to normal size because of humidity. Other times, the subfloor may have shifted away from the floor joists, or become warped after water exposure.
No matter the location of the squeak, the solution is almost always to eliminate the movement within the floor. Floors that have sustained water damage through the subfloor usually require replacement. Otherwise, immobilizing the floorboards and subfloor are an easy fix that you and a partner can tackle together.
What will I need to repair squeaky hardwood floors?
Squeaky hardwood floor repair requires a few materials, including wood floor screws, flooring shims or a bracing kit, a tape measure, pencil, and a 2x4 plank of wood, or similar size. You’ll need a table saw or another appropriate wood cutting tool, and as mentioned, a partner to help locate the squeak.
To remedy your squeaking floor, you may also want a flashlight or headlamp, sharpie or pencil, power drill, or hammer and nails. Be mindful of any other challenges you might encounter in reaching the subfloor in your house.
If the subfloor can not be reached from beneath, a hammer and nails or power drill and wood screws are all you need. Note that if you need to stop creaking floors from above, it will be more difficult to hide the damage to wood flooring. You may want to use some wood putty or other finishing product to fill in divots left by nails or screws.
How to fix squeaky hardwood floors
Fixing squeaky wood floors is a fairly straightforward process, whether you address the squeak from above or below. First, you’ll need to locate the squeak,
If you’re fixing hardwood floors from below (which is preferred), have your partner walk across the entire floor while you listen for squeaks from below. Use your sharpie or pencil (and potentially the headlamp, if you’re in a crawl space) to mark off precise locations of squeaks and creaks as you hear them.
Whether you’re addressing the squeak from above or below, you’ll need to apply pressure to the squeaky spot and determine whether the movement is in the floorboards, the subfloor, or the joists.
Squeaky joists can be corrected in a similar way. Joist movement or a warped joist should be inspected and handled by a professional, but you can immobilize or brace joists with carefully measured pieces of your wood plank. Measure and cut your plank to fit snugly between two joists, and use a drill and wood screws or hammer and nails to secure the bracing block to both the joist and the subfloor.
If your subfloor has separated from the floor joists and its movement is causing the squeak, you can measure the space between the joists, cut your wood plank to the appropriate length, and use wood screws drilled at an upward angle to re-brace the subfloor.
Do not drill the screws so deep that they penetrate the surface of your hardwood floor. Be sure to counter-rotate the screws slightly to keep the floor surface safe from the screw ends.
You can also use a wood shim and wood glue to fill the space between a subfloor and joist. Be careful not to use too much pressure or to cram the wood shim into place, as it can put unnecessary pressure on the wood flooring above.
If the subfloor is secure and the floorboards are the source of your squeak, use a similar method to reaffix the floorboards to the subfloor with an upwardly-angled screw or nail. Keep in mind that the top layer of your finished floor is less than an inch thick. Most natural hardwood floors are 3/4-inch or 5/16-inch thick, but different wood types and materials have different dimensions.
If you’re working from above the floor, try to locate the movement within your squeaky floors as precisely as possible and use a nail or screw to secure the wood as discreetly as possible. Remember wood putty can be used to fill in drill or nail holes,or to cover the visible screw head.
Fix creaking floors and more with help from our team of experts
Strong Hardwood Floors is your local industry expert and we’re happy to help you repair squeaky hardwood floors, refinish or restore your existing flooring, or install hardwood floors for the first time. If your squeaky floor fix isn’t going as planned, reach out to us today for your free estimate.