Fixing a floor squeak can be one of the best repairs you can do for yourself at home. An area of the floor that squeaks noisily each time you walk across it can be annoying and disturbing to your family (especially while they are asleep!). Whether you have a wood floor or carpeted floor, there are ways to address a squeaky floor problem. It may take a little bit of work, but it’s not difficult and the payoff will be a QUIET floor.
Why a floor squeaks
Floors squeak when floorboards rub against each other or against the nails securing them to the wood subfloor. The fact is, floors in your home are generally made of wood and wood materials can change over time. This can lead to the inevitable squeaking you can either repair or live with. While noisy, squeaky floors are a common household annoyance, they sometimes indicate serious structural problems. If an area of the floor is soft, dips, gives with weight or is excessively squeaky, inspect the framing and the foundation supporting the floor.
Fixing a squeaky floor
Figuring out how to fix floor squeaks depends on the type of flooring your home has. It also depends greatly on whether or not you can access the framing joists below your floor. This is important because you’ll want to work on floor squeak remedies from below whenever possible. First, it makes it much easier to identify exactly where the squeak is coming from. You can stand below, such as in an unfinished basement, and have someone else walk across and push on spots above. You can also use a tape measure to plot the squeaky spots from above, i.e. measure distances from walls above and below to target the exact troubled spot. In many cases, you’re not so lucky to have access to an unfinished ceiling below the squeaking floor. This means you’re forced to make repairs from above.
Carpeted floor squeaks
You can try to fix a squeaky floor covered by carpet similar to way you would for hardwood floors. Fortunately, there is a much easier way to do so that fixes the squeaks for good AND lets you do so from above, so it doesn’t matter if the ceiling below is finished. What you need is a floor squeak repair kit. It comes with a device and special screws. A “tripod” device helps guide a screw down through the floor from above, controlling its depth perfectly. At the top of the screw’s shank, there is a score (weak point), that allows you to break the screw head off once it’s in place. The device does the breaking off, so it’s easy! The broken screw portion that’s left is just below the surface of your carpet pad and embedded into the wood subfloor where it needs to, so you never know it’s there!
The Squeeek No More kit shown here and can be purchased at Amazon.com. Check out the video below from the manufacturer. It’ll be worth the few minutes to see how this is done, and how easy it is.
Hardwood floor squeaks
Your hardwood flooring can become noisy and squeak if it hasn’t been properly nailed or the nails have loosened over the years and boards have pulled away from the subflooring. If you can access the joists from under your floor, drive wood screws up through the subfloor and into the hardwood planks, drawing them together tightly. Drill small pilot holes to prevent the wood from splitting, and make sure the screws aren’t so long that they come through the top of the finished floorboards. Figure out the combined thickness of the floor and subfloor by measuring at cutouts where pipes or vents come through.
When you can’t reach the floor from underneath, you’ll need to surface-nail the floor boards to the subfloor with ring-shank flooring nails. Drill small pilot holes close to the tongue-side edge of the board, and drive the nails at a slight angle to increase their holding power. If possible, always try and drive these nails through to the joists. When done, countersink the nail heads and fill the holes with wood putty.