How To Fix Squeaky Hardwood Floors

by Jennifer Porterfield | Last Updated: November 1, 2021
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While hardwood floors can be a stunning feature of your home, they can also be one of the most annoying if they squeak with every step you take.

How To Fix Squeaky Hardwood Floors

You may have thought that there is nothing you can do about this problem without getting a builder to come in, rip up the floors, and start again. 

Well, we’re here to tell you that this isn’t necessary and that you can actually fix this issue easily and with minimal effort or destruction to your home.

But first, you need to know why your floors are squeaking, as once you know where the issue is coming from and what’s causing it, you will be able to fix the issue properly. 

Why Your Floor May Squeak

Seasonal Issues 

If you notice that your floors only squeak at certain times of year then it could be a seasonal issue. Real natural wood is used in this flooring, which can expand and contract when the weather changes.

This is a normal feature of hardwood floors. If your floors start to creak in the middle of winter, it means that your wood floor has contracted as a result of the dry winter air and your home’s heating.

Your planks are more likely to rub against one other or the bolts holding them in place since your floorboards have more flexibility to move because of this contraction.

Seasonal squeaks are common, and they generally disappear when the temperature and humidity rise, allowing your floor to expand once again.

Joist Problems 

Joists are the structure beneath your floor and subfloor. The structure of your floor is supported by these horizontal bars. In a normal room, the joists stabilize your subfloor and prevent it from shifting.

This means that any joist problems will likely result in drooping flooring and annoying noise. Joist issues include loose or warped joists, as well as gaps between your joists and your flooring.

If you suspect joists are to blame for your squeaky floors, you’ll need access to the basement or a room under the floor to check the joints safely. 

Subfloor Problems

Sometimes the issue is with the subfloor rather than the top floor or joists. An uneven subfloor is one of the most common causes of a loud floor.

There will be a gap between your subfloor and the top floor if it isn’t level. The top-level can move about due to this gap, resulting in noise. A misalignment or void between the subfloor and the joists might also be the cause. 

The condition of your subfloor might be also an issue. If your subfloor is old or has been damaged by water, it will be unable to hold nails and other fasteners.

This causes a noisy subfloor or a squeaky top floor, both of which can shift and cause squeaks and creaks.

How To Fix Squeaky Floors

Stabilize Warped Or Noisy Joists

Joists may flex and twist over time. As a result, the subfloor construction is uneven, resulting in gaps and unwanted noise. Fortunately, there are methods for stabilizing skewed joists.

If your boards are bending, use planks and put them along the joist to secure them. Attach the plank to both the joist and the subfloor above it to keep it secure.

For added stability wooden blocks can also be placed between two joists. These woodblocks will prevent movement and stop squeaking. 

Install Shims 

Access to the joists and subfloor is required for many squeaky floor repairs. This isn’t necessary with this method, though you may have to make a small hole in your floor.

Find out where on the floor the noise is coming from and the gap that will be there. Then once you find a gap between the joists and the subfloor beneath your floor, fill it with a little wooden shim to mute the noise.

You can use carpenter glue to keep the shim in place. When shimming your joists and subfloor, be careful not to over-press the piece in, as this might result in a wider gap between the two, and cause even more squeaking. 

Use Construction Adhesive 

A shim can only be used to close a precise and isolated gap in your joists and flooring. If the gap is too big for this method then construction adhesive can be used instead. 

Longer gaps, cracks, and other empty spaces between your joists and flooring can be filled with construction-grade adhesive and fastened.

A caulking gun is an ideal tool for applying glue directly into the gap. If you use this method, make sure to check both sides of your joist and fill up any gaps you find.

Screw From Underneath 

If your joists are in good shape but your subfloor is sagging, one of the best remedies is to secure the subfloor to your top floor. This can be done by screwing from the underside of the subfloor to the bottom of your top floor.

This will hold your subfloor and top floor together, preventing creaking and shifting. If you choose this method, be extra careful not to drill too deeply into your finished top floor.

Screw From The Top 

Some homeowners are unable to access the area underneath their loud flooring. If this is the case you can still fix the problem by fastening or connecting the top floor to the subfloor or joists.

However, this method makes it more difficult to hide your repairs. If you’re putting your floors down from the top, make sure the screws or nails are countersunk to eliminate any sharp edges.

Cover any leftover holes with wood filler or scratch concealer to make the repair seem as clean as possible once you’re done.

Takeaway

Not that you know how to repair your floors, you shouldn’t have to put up with squeaky floors any longer.

Just make sure that before you do the repairs you know what you’re doing and that you are doing it correctly, or you may end up causing more damage to your flooring and make the problem worse.