Imagine tiptoeing around your house all day because the floor makes squeaky sounds. Doing it all day can get quite stressful. The sound would worsen at night when it’s as quiet as it gets. You don’t want to wake your family up with that annoying sound, right?
While this problem may seem overwhelming, fixing the issue can be painless and easy. The process is as simple as tracing the sound, finding the cause, and repairing it.
Finding the cause is the most often overlooked, as many go straight to trying to fix the problem without determining the root cause. Most of the issues will be minor problems that can be resolved quickly, while a few may show more substantial damage, which would require extensive repairs.
Many factors cause our wood floors to squeak with the correct solution, dependent on the specific cause. This guide will show how to identify and fix the problem using the best solution. But first, let’s see why wood floors squeak.
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Why Wood Floors Squeak?
The wood floor is gentle under the feet, making the room feel homely. But it can make some rather annoying sounds, with the sounds in the form of squeaky noises resulting from issues underneath. The floors squeak due to moisture, a change in temperature, or humidity of the environment, among other factors.
General wear and tear on old floors is among the leading reasons squeaks emerge. But even new wood floors sometimes make those annoying sounds when the flooring is incorrectly installed. Other times, the squeak may indicate a more extensive problem involving a movement in the ground or the floor joists.
The squeaking sound comes from the friction between two inadequately aligned floor components. It can happen when two metal fasteners touch each other or from rubbing a loose metal fastener and wood. Two wooden parts touching against each other will also make a squeaky sound.
Even the floor moving on the subfloor or the subfloor on the joist may generate that sound. Generally, when floor components that are supposed to be immovable start to move, squeaky sounds usually follow. You may have to go underneath the floor or remove some of the flooring wood to find the root cause.
How to Fix Squeaking Wood Floor?
If you must tiptoe around your house to prevent squeaky sounds from your wood floor, you should pay attention to this section. We’ll see different ways to fix that uncomfortable sound depending on the cause. Most of the solutions are easy to replicate and require little experience.
1. Spray Wood-Safe Dry Lubricant
Dry lubricants can stop the squeaking sounds from your floor as they are effective at higher temperatures than liquid lubricants. However, not all dry lubricants are effective on your wood floor, so select only wood-safe lubricants.
Spray-on lubricants are easy to apply, but it is always best to test them on scrap wood from the floor material to see if they stain the wood. You’ll find this method helpful when the sound is coming from joints.
- Locate the squeaky joint through careful observation. It may require two persons, one walking on the floor and the other underneath, to find the joint.
- Spray the joint using wood-safe dry lubricant while working it into the corners using your fingers.
- Use a cloth to clean off the excess lubricants from around the area.
2. Increase Humidity
Some wood floor groans are caused by the dry atmosphere. When wood dries, it reduces in size, creating around the components. It is typical around the winter when the air becomes dry. You can fix this by increasing the humidity in your home. A simple humidifier in the room will improve the moisture content in the air and stop wood from shrinking.
3. Use Shims
If you can access the space under the floor, you can quickly identify the cause of the groan and fix it. One solution that is effective for fixing squeakiness caused by a gap between the floor joist and subfloor is the use of shims. To identify this space, you may have to remove some insulation materials and get a torchlight.
- Get a slim piece of wood that just about fits the space between the subfloor and the joist. You may need to carve out the correct size from the shim. Getting a size that fits the hole and does not need to be forced in is also important.
- Cover the shim with glue and insert it into the space. Do this for all the gaps between the subfloor and joists while checking either side of the beam.
4. Nail Wooden Block on Warped Joist
Sometimes, the joist is damaged and no longer supports the floor as it should, causing squeaky sounds. The wood can be warped, rotted, or soaked, which weakens the support. In this case, adding a wooden block to the joist will stop the groans.
- Cut out the block that fits the size of the damaged area. You’ll need to measure the joist area and add a little on either side. An extra two feet to the length of the damaged part is perfect for the block.
- Attach the support block to the joist and subfloor using 2 ½” screws and wood glue. You’ll need to apply the glue to the side and top of the block before pressing it firmly to the subfloor and joist. Ensure you have about 1 foot on either side of the damaged area.
5. Use Construction Adhesive
Construction adhesive is an excellent solution if the space between the joist and subfloor is tiny but stretches over an extended area. Rather than installing several shims, construction glue will provide a more stable solution.
You’ll need a caulking gun and a fast-setting construction adhesive to fill these cracks and gaps. The caulk gun helps push the bond deep into the crack to fill it. Fill the notches on either side of the joist and allow it to set. It shouldn’t take too long if you use a quick-setting glue.
6. Install Blocks Between Joists
Noise from the joists alone, not involving the subfloor, will require a different approach. Typically, the sound from only the beams shows they are loose and require some stability.
Installing blocks between the joists will stabilize them and remove the annoying sounds.
- Measure the distance between the joists you want to stabilize and cut the exact dimensions off the block. You want to choose a similar material and wood size for making the joists.
- Rub glue to the top end of the blocks, which will be touching the subfloor
- Snugly fix the blocks between the joists regularly while the part with glue is attached to the subfloor.
- Fasten with screws through the joists’ sides and into the block ends.
7. Use Squeeeeek No More
It can be challenging if you don’t have access to your wooden floor’s underside. Finding the cause of the squeak and fixing it becomes a problem. Thankfully, Squeeeeek No More’s easy-to-use product can stop those sounds without reaching the underside.
Squeeeeek No More is a kit that contains a stud finder, a driver bit, special counter-snap screws, and a tripod tool. The screws are called special counter-snap screws because they come coated in wax, making it easy to pass through the carpet without pulling strands.
- Find the spot making the noise by manually walking over the floor and then use a stud sensor to locate the joist below.
- Secure using the special screws through the tripod tool and into the floor covering, subfloor, and the joist. With the correct screw size, the screw will remain just below the joist surface while securing the components.
After installation, the screws are typically 1 inch from the top of the flooring giving you enough space to cover the hole using wood filler and get a smooth surface. You can also use furniture or a rug to cover the area.
8. Using Floorcovering Lubricants
Using floorboard lubricants is another simple way to stop squeaking without going underneath the floor. It’s effective when the sound is caused by friction between two wooden components or a combination of fasteners and wood.
- Locate the area making the noise, which usually has a crack for this method to work.
- Apply dry lubricants like talcum powder, lock lubricant, and powdered graphite into the cracks.
- Place a towel over the cracks and apply pressure till the lubricants enter the crevices. The dry lubricant inside the gaps is enough to top minor squeaks.
While most solutions to fixing squeaky wooden floors are straightforward, their application is more challenging.
Here is a collection of the most commonly asked questions about fixing squeaks on floors and their answers.
Ans: Sprinkling powdered graphite, baby powder, or baking soda over the cracks is one of the most affordable ways to stop the noise. Remember, this method is effective for minor squeaks, where the sound comes from the friction between two surfaces visible from the floorboard.
Ans: Powdered graphite is the best dry lubricant to stop annoying noises from your floor. It reduces friction between the surfaces and is easy to use.
Ans: Spray foam can stop squeaky noises from your floor. It strengthens the floorboard and reduces bounce, which can loosen floor components and cause squeaks.
After reading this guide, you no longer have to tiptoe around your house, trying to avoid the squeaky parts of your floor. With the methods mentioned here, you can solve the issue in minutes, depending on its severity.
That said, you need to first identify the spot and the cause of the squeak to determine the most effective solution.
However, it’s always advisable to take the help of professionals for severe joist or foundational damage, especially if you don’t have much experience.