Having peace and quiet around the home interrupted by the squeaky sounds of creaking floorboards can be annoying. Even worse, the sudden sounds can wake the family up in the middle of the night. There are reasons for squeaky floorboards and in this article, we’ll explain how to fix creaky floorboards so you can finally silence the squeaks.
Why Are My Floorboards Creaking?
Let’s face it, squeaky floorboards are a nightmare. In a hallway or front room you can probably see the carpet wear from where you’ve avoided treading on them – you know where they are but you routinely walk around them to prevent those irritating creaks and squeaks.
If you’re wondering why your floorboards are creaking, then here are some likely reasons:
- Floorboards can work loose from their fittings if they are old or dried out. Fixing nails can become loose and the board isn’t firmly attached anymore. Every time pressure is put on the board, the wood is going to move and creak.
- Floorboards can split, or through wear and tear can become shrunk, warped or broken.
- The floorboard could have been lifted to access cables or pipes below and not replaced properly. It may have been put back under a carpet without checking it was securely fastened.
- The wrong nails could have been used to fix them in the first place. Some squeaky floorboards don’t develop squeaks – they’ve simply always been there because they were never properly fixed.
- Too few nails could have been used to ensure the board is firmly down.
- The floor joists aren’t solid or the timber used isn’t straight and the floorboards are rubbing together. The creaks aren’t always caused by pressure from above, they can also be caused by the sideways movement of floorboards.
How to Fix Creaky Floorboards – 7 Best Methods
1. Replace the Floorboards
Complete replacement is the most obvious solution. Lift any covering carpets or rugs and walk around to ascertain the problem area. Mark with chalk the floorboards in need of attention and replace them, making sure they are securely fastened.
2. Replace the Nails
For ill-fitting floorboards, replace the nails by removing them from their original nail holes. If these holes have become damaged during the removal process or if they are already worn or deteriorated, it’s ideal to make new holes with a drill.
Take any existing nails out with pincers and then remove the floorboards first to prevent the risk of drilling through pipes or cables underneath. New nails or screws will enable you to give the floorboards their original firm fixing and stop them creaking.
3. Fill the Gaps
Sometimes the issue isn’t the floorboards themselves, but movement between the boards and walls which creates friction and a squeaking noise. This can be infuriating as it’s hard to pin down the exact spot on the floor that is causing the noise. A remedy here is to drive a couple of small wedge-shaped bits of wood between the wall and floor which will stop any movement.
4. Use Strong Adhesives
Use construction adhesive to fill gaps between joists and the floorboards. Run it along the length of the squeaky floorboards where it meets the joist and wait for it to dry.
5. Use Talcum Powder
If the boards appear firmly attached to the joists there is help at hand in the bathroom cabinet. Talcum powder isn’t just for making skin soft or helping you put your swimming cap on – it can be used as an excellent and cheap way of stopping under foot squeaking.
- Take a piece of paper or card and fold it in half.
- Open it up again and sprinkle on a liberal covering of talc.
- Fold the paper again and use it as a funnel to get the talcum powder into the area between the offending floorboards.
- Use a small sharp knife to direct it more accurately if needed.
This method isn’t foolproof – if it doesn’t work, it means they might need the nails replacing, but for minor squeaks you could find the problem solved in seconds, simply by going to the bathroom cabinet.
6. Provide Extra Support
A warped joist can deteriorate to the extent that a gap opens up between it and the floor. This can be remedied by nailing another piece of wood alongside the problem joist to give it extra strength and support. It’ll help take the weight off of the offending joist and potentially silence the squeaks.
7. Form a Barrier
Another method which works similar to using construction adhesive is to melt candle wax and pour on the tongue and groove joints. Once it hardens it will fill any gaps between the floorboards and form a barrier to stop further movement.
Final Tips | How to Fix Creaky Floorboards
Hopefully using these methods will eliminate the creaking and squeaking. Maintain your floorboards and prevent them creaking by using carpet or rugs to stop scratches and use proper floor wax or oil to clean them.
Prevent further squeaks by evenly spreading furniture in rooms – if it’s all at one end, particularly upstairs, it stands to reason that the floor could become slightly bowed and prone to squeaking.
Avoid heavy wear and pressure such as jumping on beds or even doing indoor exercises – they will all add unnecessary wear and tear to floorboards, especially if you are jumping up and down on the same spot in front of an exercise DVD.