Creaky and Squeaky Floorboards – Here’s How to Fix It?

How to fix loose creaking floorboards
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There can be a variety of different reasons why your floorboards might be creaking. It could be because the boards have become loose from their place, or there might be something stuck in-between the gaps.

No matter what, you will always want to get rid of those irritating noises. Here in this blog post, I will be discussing different ways to fix your creaky and squeaky floorboards.

What products can you use, and what methods should you use depending on your specific conditions?

But before we get into them, let’s get into what actually causes your floorboards to squeak in the first place.

Why do Floorboards Creak?

Well, as I said a minute before, there can be a few different reasons for this problem.

The most common reason is that the boards have become loose from where they are placed.

If you happen to live in a home that’s built between 1900 and 1950, they might have suspended ground floors normally made from timber floorboards.

These suspended timber floors are usually found in older homes where they are attached to the joists just above the slab of concrete stone or the foundation of a house.

Unlike ground-bearing concrete floors, which rarely squeak, the joists and the boards of the suspended ground floors are not tightly fitted together.

As time goes by, the gaps are formed; they become even looser and start to make that irritating noise every time you step on them.

The other reason for creaking floorboards can be something as small as a pebble or a coin that has fallen in-between the gaps and is now stuck.

This can also cause your floorboards to make that annoying noise every now and then.

The third reason why your floorboards turn squeaky is simply that they might be rubbing up against one another.

Depending on the reason, you might work above-ground or below (to a basement or crawlspace) to fix the problem.

few methods to fix loose floorboards

Fixing Loose Squeaking Floorboards

To stop your floor from squeaking, the first thing you need to do is identify whether the sound that is coming from the floorboards is too harsh to be ignored or is it something that can be let go.

If the problem is minor due to rubbing of the loose boards and there is not much sound that’s disturbing, you are in luck.

Method 1 – Greasing the Rubbing Floors

Sometimes it needs a bit of lubrication to fix the big issues!

But before you start to grease up your floorboards, point out the source of the sound.

You can do that by simply walking around the room and listening carefully to where the noise is the loudest.

Once you have found that spot, it’s time to take a look and see what’s going on.

If the boards have become loose from their place, you will be able to see it and fix the issue above ground by dusting a bit of baby powder or your regular talc powder.

You can even use something which is known as graphite lubricant or even your regular olive oil, petroleum jelly, paraffin wax, or WD 40 spray.

This should be applied between the boards to stop the friction, wear, and corrosion.

At the least, you can sometimes fix the issue simply by opening up the gaps between the hardwood flooring by running a thin blade of a utility knife between the planks.

When done carefully, this will separate the boards and/or reduce the friction.

When using a knife blade, apply very light pressure to avoid marking, scratching, or damaging the flooring. The best is to use several light strokes instead of one hard one.

Method 2 – Repairing Squeaky Floors with Screws

For this method, all you need is something to tighten the boards and fill the gaps in between the boards, so they don’t rub anymore.

The first step here is to secure the boards back in their place. You can do that by using a screw and washer or a flooring cleat.

Once that is done, you need to fill the gaps in between the boards, so they don’t rub against each other.

For that, you can use a few different things adhesive, caulk, or a filler.

Construction adhesive can be applied to the gaps using a putty knife and then smoothened out.

Alternatively, you can use a wood filler or a silicone caulk. These work in the same way as construction adhesive but are a little bit more difficult to apply.

Once you have applied the adhesive, caulk, or filler, you need to give it time to dry completely. Once dry, your floors should be squeak-free.

Method 3 – Repairing Squeaky Floors Underneath

If your floors are squeaking from the middle of the room and you can’t seem to find the source of the noise from the top, this will be the method you will need to follow.

But, to be frank, this method is a little more difficult as it involves going below the floor from your basement or crawlspace.

Start by finding the joists on your floor. The floor joists are the large wooden beams that support your floorboards.

They usually run vertically opposite to the boarding, and if you have wood floors, the nails on your floor can usually tell you where they are.

You can find them using a hammer if the floor is covered by carpet or vinyl – just tap around on the floorboards until you hear a dull smashing sound.

Once you have found them, you can try running screws from underneath that will tie up the loose, squeaky floorboards together.

These boards will usually be plywood and solid timber that runs anywhere from 3/4 inch to 5/8 of an inch thick.

So, for fixing the squeak, you will want to get the screws that can go about an inch past the plywood board into the joist or underlying layer beneath it.

This means screws about 1 3/4 inches will do the trick for a subfloor that is 3/4 of an inch thick.

And for a 5/8 of an inch thick plywood subfloor, you will need the screws that are about 1 5/8 inches long.

TIP: Since this method can be tricky to implement and you may need additional help from a friend or family member, it can be a good idea to take some pictures before you start so you can remember how everything was supposed to go back together.

Alternatively, it’s a good idea to get the help of an expert flooring professional or a skilled carpenter who will be able to quickly identify the source of the problem and fix it for you.

FAQs

How much does it cost to fix squeaky floors?

Depending on the cause, the time it takes, and the materials and tools used in the process, the average cost for fixing a squeaky floor can range between $250 and $1,200.

This will be comparatively much less than the cost of putting up a new floor which can start from $2,000 and can be as high as $5,000 depending on the area and the type of wood used.

Can you shim and screw below the squeaky subfloor?

Creaky floors under a wall, if they get separated from floor joists, can be fixed using wedge shims.

You can use a clawhammer to tap the wedge shims so that they get into place between the joist and subfloor.

Do not pound the shims to avoid raising the floorboards, which might cause more squeaking.

What type of screws can you put on the floor to stop squeaking?

Subfloor screws and fasteners that are galvanized or steel will perform best in plywood floorboards, roofing sheets, and even wall plates.

Make sure you pick the right brand that is compatible with the tools you will be using to avoid any stripping and rusting.

Some of the best screws for subfloors are manufactured by Senco, Simpson Strong-Tie, and the Hillman Group. You will not go wrong with any of these brands.

Final thoughts

There you have it, a few different methods that you can use to fix your squeaky floors upstairs.

Remember, if the problem is minor, you might be able to get away yourself with a quick fix from the top.

If the problem is more serious, you might need to take a look from underneath and use one of the methods described above.

If you are completely unsure about how to proceed or don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, it’s always a good idea to get the help of a professional flooring contractor who will be able to quickly identify the source of the problem and fix it for you.

This will save you time, money, and a lot of frustration in the long run.

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