Quick Tip #7 How to Silence Squeaky Floor Boards Apartment Therapy

Quick Tip #7 How to Silence Squeaky Floor Boards Apartment Therapy

Quick Tip #7: How to Silence Squeaky Floor Boards

Every well-run home is teeming with tricks and shortcuts to keep it humming along. We’re sharing our best quick tips — for cleaning, organizing and repairing stuff at home — to save you time and money. Click through for today’s helpful hint, and links to tons more.

Sarah Rae Trover


This is marvelous! (Our home is 80 years old.)


I’ve tried this in my last two apartments, and I ended up with squeaky floorboards covered with powder :-P

We tried this and it didn’t work. Our hallway floor was so loud it would scare the cats when we walked on it! We ended up pulling up the floorboards and using 5 lbs of deck screws on the subfloor to tighten it up. Now, it’s nice and quiet. -)

What if the squeakiness is under carpet?

Nope. This only applies in those rare situations where the boards rub together. Most of us with squeaks have them because the nails holding the sub floor to the rafters or joists have popped a little loose and slide up and down when you walk on them. You would need to lift the flooring and reattach the subfloor with screws, then replace the flooring to really solve it. (In my house this happened, I’m pretty sure, from settling. Newish house built on fill.)

I have heard about some kind of two headed nails that can be used with carpeting, assuming you can locate the right spot to use them. I guess you hammer the top head into the floor through the carpet then somehow cut or snap off the top leaving the smaller lower head to hold the wood down — apparently the carpeting can be tugged around this to cover it. Have never tried it though.

Quick Tip #7 How to Silence Squeaky Floor Boards Apartment Therapy

We did two things to get rid of squeaks — screwed the subfloor down tighter, and put an extra sustaining beam between the joists.

Yup, the powder trick only works on the slightest of creaks. My entire floor squeaks — because when the house was built they didn’t bother with pesky things like insulation! Wood floors, wood subfloor, wood joists, wood ceiling on the carport below — that’s a lot of wood that expands and contracts with temperature and moisture. The floor and subfloor bow and bend as the temperatures change, and then squeak against the nails and screws. If I had understood all of these things when I bought the house, I would have had the old floor taken up, including the subfloor, added a ton of insulation, then screwed a new subfloor, topped with fresh hardwood. That would have cost a fortune, but I would pay it to have silence!

I hope this information is helpful to other new home buyers who notice a few squeaky floorboards in their house shopping. The reasons for squeaky floors are complex. My floors, subfloor, joists etc. are completely solid and in very good condition, but wood is a natural material that expands and contracts. So more than powder or even screws, you need to mitigate fluctuations in temperature.

On the other hand, the only real problem with squeaky floors in walking around when some people are still sleeping, and the sleepers in my house have adjusted. So perhaps it’s just as well that I saved that extra $15k.

Installing joist tape during construction or renovation will help prevent your floors from developing a squeak over time, but not a lot of builders use it — and people don’t tend to consider it until it’s a problem.

I am glad I read the comments before I took the advice! I have heard of this before but was always hesitant to try. Since I live in an apartment, I’ll probably just live with it. I am sure it bothers my downstairs neighbor more than me ;)

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