September 05, 2016
Some homeowners think that the occasional squeak as people walk across a floor adds personality to the house. Since you don’t happen to be among that crowd, you want the squeaking gone as quickly as possible. Fortunately, learning how to stop squeaking is not as hard as you may think. Here are some suggestions on how to make your flooring squeak-free in no time.
Before you do anything, check the joists supporting the floor. Are they still straight or have they warped slightly? That small amount of give between the flooring and the joists is what’s causing the squeaking. Adding a board to each side of the warped area will help stabilize the floor and prevent the up and down movement resulting in the squeak. Use screws or nails to secure the boards in place and the problem will be eliminated for years.
Shims are thin pieces of wood that you can cut to fill in tiny gaps in between the joists and the flooring. Use a mallet to gently work the shim into the space and it will take care of the problem easily. With the shim in place, the pressure placed on the floor when someone walks over the space will prevent the movement that causes the squeaking.
The problem may be that some of the nails or screws holding the flooring to the joists have worked loose over the years. When that’s the case, try using a hammer or a screwdriver to tighten everything. Keep in mind that if the holes are stripped out, you will need to use some type of filler to strengthen the hold.
Construction adhesive helps to create a tight bond between the boards and the joists. The squeaking may be cause by one or more boards that are grinding together. If you use the adhesive to fill in the gaps, that rubbing or grinding will not occur any longer. Keep in mind that you may need to do some cosmetic work to the floor once the adhesive is set.
Creating a support network between the joists will also reduce the squeaking. Start along the middle of the expanse supporting by the joists and run blocks perpendicular to them. Use construction adhesive to create a bond with the sub floor, and add nails or screws to attach each block to the joists.
The problem may have nothing to do with the joists. The squeaking you hear is because of gaps between the top flooring and the sub floor. Run screws through the sub floor and into the underside of the top floor. Make sure that the screws are not long enough to go all the way to the surface.
There’s no reason to put up with squeaking floors. While there are times when you’ll need a pro to come out and make some structural changes, try these approaches first. Most of them will only take a few minutes to complete, and the change will be noticeable immediately. In fact, you may not have to worry about the floors squeaking again for years.