How to Silence Squeaky Floors

How to Silence Squeaky Floors

Sometimes, squeaky flooring is beneficial, for example, if your teenager is trying to sneak into the house after curfew. Unfortunately, this is about the only thing they have going for them. 

Dealing with annoying floor squeaks can be challenging. However, since they are common in many homes, it's good to learn what to do. 

Usually, you will notice squeaks after the house has settled and the lumber has had time to dry out and shrink. As you move across the floorboards, they will rub up against one another or slide against the nail shafts, creating audible creaks and squeaks

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Tips to Eliminate Squeaks and Creaks

High-pitched squeaks are created by loose subflooring. This includes both plywood and solid board styles. The type of flooring most susceptible to squeaking is traditional hardwood strip flooring. While this is true, no type of flooring is immune to it

Below, you can find some of the top options to find and eliminate the squeak from your flooring. 

Carpenter's Glue

You can go under the floor to make repairs if your house has a basement.

Have someone walk across the floor where the squeak is coming from. You will want to be under that area and listen for the sound. When you hear it, have the person above knock on the floor, which will help you find the source of the problem

The next step is to take a wood shim covered in carpenter's glue and tap it into the space between the subfloor and joist. Don't push it in too far, or it will raise the floor. 

Make sure to fill the gap over the joist and remove the "give" in the floor. If you need more support, use a 1.25" drywall screw. Insert it at an angle through the shim and joist and into the subfloor. 

Use Squeak-Enders 

Another option for eliminating squeaks in your floor from under it is with something called a "Squeak-Ender." These are affordable and made of a threaded rod attached to a flat mounting plate. There's also a steel bracket with a squared hook on the end. 

To install, use the screws to attach the mounting plate to your subfloor. Be sure it is positioned directly under the squeak. After that, you will attach the bracket by sliding it over the threaded. Once in place, hook it onto the joist. Add the nut, then use a wrench to tighten it until the subfloor is snug against the joist. 

Do you need some help figuring out where a squeak may be coming from? If so, getting a layout of your entire home may be beneficial. Contact us for help with this. 

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Nail Wood Along the Warped Joist

construction worker nailing wood down

The floor joist will decay, warp, or shrink in some houses. If this happens, the subfloor will separate from the joist, which creates a big gap. You can fix this problem by nailing a 2x6 or 2x4 piece of wood on the troubled joist. 

You can use a quality construction adhesive at the top of the wood, which will attach to the subfloor. Be sure to secure the wood using nails, as well. The additional wood will support the subfloor so that it doesn't move when someone walks over it. 

Add Wood Blocks

You can also put wood blocks in between the joists. Be sure to use wood that matches your current joists.

If you have joists that are 2x8, cut the blocks out of a 2x8 piece of wood. Depending on how much support is needed, you can add two to three blocks. You want these to be snug but not too tight. 

Add construction adhesive where the top of the blocks contacts the subfloor and add the blocks at even intervals along the joist. Slide each block up so the adhesive touches the subfloor, and secure the blocks with screws. 

Use Construction Adhesive 

Shims are effective for small areas; however, if there's a long gap in your floor joist, the shim may not be the best option. 

A better way to fix this is by taking out your caulking gun and adding floor adhesive into the gap. It will eliminate movement in that part of the floor as it hardens. 

Usually, gaps like this will appear on the side of the joist. Make sure you check it on both sides to fill it all in. If there is a gap on both sides of the joist, add adhesive to them both. 

Use Screws 

Is the squeak you hear caused by flooring that separates your subfloor? If so, you can use a short screw to refasten the floor and subfloor together. 

Be sure to put the screw in from the underside of the subfloor and into the bottom part of the finished floor. You want to use screws that are short since ones that are too long will poke through your finished flooring. 

Floorboard Lubricants 

While lubricants may sound like a weird fix, they can eliminate squeaks caused by friction. This solution is effective when the area under the floor is not easy to access. 

You can add some dry lubricant, such as talcum powder, into each floorboard's joints. Put a towel or cloth over the boards and walk over them several times to ensure the lubricant gets down into the cracks. 

With the powder added, friction is reduced between the boards, which should help eliminate squeaks.


Getting Rid of Squeaky Flooring

woman putting on shoes near dog on floor

As you can see, there are several methods you can do to eliminate a squeaky floor. Be sure to keep the information here in mind, which will help you get that "silent night" you have been hoping for. 

You can also call for professional help if you can't find the squeak or can't seem to get rid of it. 

Do you know your house? Maybe not as well as you think you do. Let us help. We can create a custom site plan that gives you a bird’s eye view of what you have. 

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FAQs Answers
What are the signs that the squeak in my floor is due to warped joists? Signs of warped joists include visible gaps between the subfloor and the joist, uneven flooring, and pronounced squeaks when walking over specific areas. These conditions suggest that the joist may have decayed, shrunk, or otherwise deformed, leading to a lack of support for the subfloor.
Can floor squeaks cause long-term damage to a home if not addressed? Yes, floor squeaks themselves are not damaging but can be indicative of underlying issues such as loose subflooring or structural weakness in joists. Over time, ignoring these signs can lead to worsening conditions, potentially resulting in costly repairs.
Are there any preventive measures to stop floor squeaks before they start? Preventive measures include ensuring that all flooring and subflooring installations are done properly, using high-quality materials and construction adhesives during installation to minimize movement. Regular maintenance checks to tighten any loose screws or nails can also prevent squeaks.
How effective are floorboard lubricants compared to other methods? Floorboard lubricants, like talcum powder, are effective for reducing friction between floorboards, which is a common cause of squeaks. This method is best for quick fixes when the area beneath the floor is inaccessible. However, for long-lasting solutions, mechanical fixes like screws or Squeak-Enders are more reliable.
Is it necessary to hire a professional to eliminate floor squeaks? While many squeaks can be addressed with DIY methods, hiring a professional might be necessary for complex cases involving structural issues or when the squeak's origin is difficult to determine or access. Professionals can provide a more thorough examination and lasting repairs.

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  • Ryan Crownholm