Do you find the constant squeaking of your hardwood floors and stairs to be a nuisance?
Or maybe, you wish to sell your property but are worried that the constant creaking of the floor could turn away potential buyers.
Well, there’s several strategies you could pursue to fix this issue. Below, we'll take you through everything you need to know about squeaky hardwood floors.
Things to Think About
Are squeaky floors safe?
Yes, squeaky wooden floors don’t present any safety risks and shouldn’t be considered a structural issue.
In older homes, squeaky wooden floors and stairs are even considered to be part of their throwback aesthetic.
There’s no need, therefore, to turn such a minor home issue into a major renovation project. At most, you’ll simply need to identify where the squeaking is occurring and seal the gaps to prevent squeaking.
So, next time you hear your floor squeaking, don’t panic!
Should I worry about squeaky stairs?
Yes, you should, but for comfort reasons — not safety reasons. Having squeaky stairs doesn’t mean that your staircase is about to collapse.
However, all that squeaking can be quite irritating to the ear especially if you’ve got kids in the house constantly running up and down the staircase.
Wooden stairs tend to loosen up over time, resulting in the grinding of the wooden treads against the fasteners that hold them in place.
Constant human foot pressure and contraction-expansion phases due to seasonal changes also exacerbate the loosening of the joints, consequently worsening the squeaking.
A simple process for tightening up the loose spaces in your wooden stairs using glue to supplement the nail and screw fastening can help eliminate the squeaks in your stairs.
What are the reasons for squeaky wood floors?
If your hardwood floor is squeaking, the key takeaway should be that there’s movement occurring between the wooden floor parts.
This normally happens due to the floor being constantly stepped on by the house’s occupants. Various factors could coincide to facilitate this movement, as discussed below:
- An out-of-level subfloor: When your subfloor is out of level, it is an indicator of the presence of a void below the wood floor. Voids can occur at various areas of the subfloor including the higher and lower areas in the subfloor seams.
- Voids occurring between the subfloor and the joists: This is caused by inefficient contractor work whereby no measures are taken to seal the spacing between the subfloor and the joists.
- Poor choice of fastener size: For instance, smaller fasteners cannot sustain the strength required to hold down the flooring in the subfloor. Overtime, these fasteners loosen, resulting in squeaking.
How to Fix Squeaky Hardwood Floors
There are several ways to get rid of the squeaking sound on your wooden floor.
We'll go through a few of the most effective ones below:
- Inserting shims into voids: This is especially simple if you can access the space underneath your floor. You should then identify the parts that are squeaking. These are the parts with gaps between the upper side of the joists and beneath the subfloor that need to be filled up. You can therefore proceed to insert glued-up shims to fill up the gaps, while making sure not to hammer the shim in too far.
- Filling up the spaces with construction adhesive: This is especially effective for longer gaps that run the entire lengths of floor joists, and where inserting shims wouldn’t exactly get the job done. A caulking gun can also be used to coerce the glue into the void between the joist and the subfloor. Once the glue dries up, it’ll prevent floor movement, thus getting rid of the creaking.
- Attaching a board along a joist: This method is especially useful if the squeaking is being caused by a given joist becoming warped or twisted over time, resulting in gaps between the wooden subfloor and the joist itself. This issue can be fixed by nailing a sizeable wooden board (preferably 2×4 or 2×6) along the length of the joist in question. Before nailing the board onto the joist, make sure to apply construction adhesive onto the side that’ll come into contact with the joist for reinforced attachment.
How to Fix Squeaky Floors under Carpet
If your squeaky wood floors are under carpet, the challenge is to find a way to reattach the subfloor back to its framing without having to damage your wall-to-wall-carpet.
You can follow the steps below to fix your home’s squeaky wooden floor without having to pull any of your carpeting:
- First off, you’ll need to locate and mark off where the joists are beneath your subfloor. To do this without damaging your carpet, you can use a drill with a six-eighth inch piece of wire cut out from a coat hanger attached to it.
- If you drill for about 16 inches without successfully locating any joists, you could be drilling parallel to them. You should therefore turn your drilling direction about 90 degrees.
- Once you’ve located a joist, hand-turn your screw to create a hole in the carpet.
- Firmly hold the joist down in place using one knee to avoid leaving behind any gaps, as you drill the screw into place
- You can then stop drilling once the screw head levels up with the top of the carpet. After that, you can now use a pair of pliers to force the screw to pop off.
How much does it Cost to Fix Squeaky Wood Floors?
If you don’t fancy the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) approach to fixing squeaky wooden floors, you can always get the job professionally done for you at reasonable prices.
The exact price, however, depends on the underlying issue causing the floor to squeak and just how accessible the location of the squeaking wood is.
According to homeadvisor.com, homeowners may be forced to part with anything between $200-$1000, depending on how much work it takes to penetrate through the subfloor and fix the squeaking wooden parts.