Stop a floor squeak

Stop a floor squeak

That pesky floor squeak keeps me from sneaking to the fridge for a snack!

Do you have a floor squeak that just drives you nuts?

These little annoyances are very easy to get rid of and all you really need is some screws and a driver/drill.

You may need some stiffening boards or a special tool but chances are that screws are all you’ll need for this little project.

If there are squeaks on your stairs or on the floor itself and you would like to stop them now, break out the power driver and a box of screws or a hammer and some nails and hunt those babies down.

The number one reason a floor squeaks is the floor boards have separated from the joists or the steps have separated from the risers.

The flexing of the wood when you walk on them causes them to squeak so all you have to do is reattach them to the support so they don’t flex anymore. Simple, right? It really is a simple fix, trust me.

TOOLS NEEDED

  • Screwdriver or driver/drill
  • Pair of locking (vise grip) pliers
  • Small head finish nails,a number 6d finish should work well
  • Duct tape
  • A flashlight
  • Tube of construction adhesive
  • A helper to help you locate the squeak while you’re in the basement looking from the bottom

First you need to find the floor squeak.

If it’s on the stairs and you have carpet. that’s okay. The stairs are built like a box with a front piece, the riser and two side pieces, the supports. The step is attached to all of these so you will have to determine where the separation is.

Isolate the squeak and separate the carpet fibers as much as possible then put a piece of duct tape over the area to prevent the screw from grabbing the fibers.

If you don’t have carpet then all you have to do is put in a new screw where the squeak is.

You should countersink (to set the screw below the surface of the wood) the screw and fill in the hole with wood putty for a nice finished look.

Now take your screw and driver and screw one in near the edge of the step until you feel it grab the wood underneath.

Stop a floor squeak

If it doesn’t grab something you will have to use trial and error to find the riser or support. A good idea would be to use a stud finder or a nail to locate the supports or the riser. They are near the front edge and the far sides of the step.

Once you do find the «meat» of the wood, drive in your screw but leave about 1/2″ out. Now take your locking pliers and lock on to the screw as close as you can to the step. Rock your pliers back and forth until the screw breaks off.

You have to get as close to the step wood as possible so that you don’t have a spike sticking out after you break off the screw. There are special screws that have break points if you are unsure of your ability to make a clean break.

Remove the tape, fluff up the carpet and rest assured that your squeak is gone forever.

The tile or wood floor squeak is a bit more of a challenge to quiet.

First locate the squeak and mark it with tape.

If you have a wood floor, you can put in a nail right through the floor. You’ll want to have wood putty or a filler pencil that matches the finish of your floor to hide the repair. It’s probably a good idea to use a small head nail so you can set it below the surface.

The same holds true for carpeted floors but you’ll need to follow the steps outlined in the stair example above.

Stone or tile floors are even more work. You have to remove thea tile to get the screw or nail in and then you have to replace the tile.

Now don’t get frustrated yet. You can always fix it from below and you don’t have to do anything to the carpet, tile or wood. Whew! This second method means you have to go in the basement or crawlspace and put in a screw or two. Not too bad if you don’t have a finished ceiling in your basement.

If you do have a finished ceiling, then you have to remove the ceiling where the squeak is. This is decision time for you.

Now that you made the decision to go into the basement and repair from below, just follow these simple steps.

Go into the basement and locate the floor squeak from below, you’ll need your helper to walk on the floor squeak so you can see the movement. The floor construction is basically a a bunch of boards turned on their sides and pieces of plywood laid on top of them. The carpenter just nails or screws the plywood to the boards and sometimes after either bad construction or just use, the floor separates from the boards and you get floor squeaks.

Once you have located the squeak, you can toenail

Toenail, no, not that kind, is when you put a nail or screw into the edge of the board going from one face through to the adjoining face. Think pocket screws

a screw through the board and into the floor. Measure the thickness of the floor by removing a heat register and measuring the entire floor depth or you can drill a small hole in a corner and use a nail to measure. Be careful not to penetrate the floor because that pointed screw or nail will really hurt when you step on it. The helper can tell you if the screw came through so you can try again.

Another option is to glue it. You’ll need construction adhesive and a 2×4. Once you’ve found the floor squeak, squeeze a good sized bead into the gap. Now squeeze some onto your piece of wood and push it into the corner where the gap is. Screw the wood to the joist making sure it is very tight against the joist and foor.

These two methods should fix any foor squeak for many years to come. Woohoo, you just fixed that floor squeak all by yourself!

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