Fix Squeaky Wood Floors

Fix Squeaky Wood Floors

Sqeaky Wood Floor Repair

Do you have floors that squeak so bad that its embarrassing? I can relate. Even if you are only trying to eliminate a single annoying squeak, youve found the right place.

I moved into a 40 year-old home last year with floors from hell. My wife and I were willing to take a risk on the shrieking floors, hoping we could silence the racket with a little hard work. Well, after hours and hours of trial and error, the floors are significantly improved.

Heres what worked for me:

1) The first thing you need to check is your room humidity and temperature. The house I moved into was very dry in the winter and very humid in the spring/summer. It is this factor that led to warped joists and loose flooring nails these are the causes for the squeaking of the floor. So, before you start tinkering, its important that you maintain a humidity level of 45-50 at all times. For us this involved buying a humidifier for the winter months.

In addition to the humidity, its important to keep a steady temperature if you have floors prone to being noisy.

2) So when you hear a squeak, what is happening? Generally you are hearing a loose nail sliding in and out of its hole. Over time, swelling and shrinking of the wood causes these nails to become loose.

To eliminate these squeaks, all we have to do is stop the give in the floor.

3) So, time to fix the problem. Using the diagram above, try to understand that the floor you walk on is a sandwichof three layers that are nailed together. The sublfloor is nailed to the floor joists and the finished floor is stapled to the subfloor.

If any of these nails are loose, you get a squeak.

In my house, the loudest squeaks were the result of loose nails in connecting the subfloor and joist. This is caused by a warping of the joist. As said earlier, to eliminate the squeak you must eliminate the movement.

For most of these squeaks, simply toe nailing the joist to the subfloor using long screws did the trick. I purchased a product for sale online called, Squeak Relief. As you will see, its a bracket that allows you to effectively toenail the joist to the subfloor.

In my opinion, these brackets seemed unnecessary and too expensive for something I could accomplish with a handful of 3 inch screws.

***Sometimes the joist may have warped significantly. In areas where I could actually see a 1/8 inch or more gap between the subfloor and joist, I used shims. Its important that you use a good wood glue where shims are needed.

Fix Squeaky Wood Floors

Simply coat the shim with wood glue before using it to fill the gap. If you do not apply glue to the shims, they will wiggle out over time and the squeak will reappear.***

4) After I eliminated the loud, subfloor/joist squeaks my floor was much improved, but I still had some popping caused by individual boards not being secured to the subfloor. When your finished floor was installed, the wood boards were nailed snugly to the subfloor. Over time, these nails or staples can come loose.

Loose boards can result in squeaks or rubbing sounds as they shift.

So, to eliminate this problem, one must re-attach the finished floor to the subfloor. This can be done with nailing from above (countersinking nails and patching with wood putty), but in my case I chose to work from below. In order to reattach the subfloor to the finished floor, I used 1 1/2 inch screws and screwed directly through the subfloor and into the floorboards.

I made sure the size screw I selected would grab the finished floor but not pierce all the way through it.

5) So, by maintaining a consistent humidity level, and making the different layers of the floor snug again, my floor is significantly less noisy. Hopefully this helped you in your flooring journey.

Also, I found this Bob Vila video quite helpful. I spent hours scouring the web looking for solutions and this video was the best resource I found.

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