Hardwood floor tips from National Floors Direct

How to Stop Hardwood Floors From Squeaking

Hardwood flooring is a beautiful addition to any home, and with a lifespan of 30 to 100 years is well worth the investment. But nothing diminishes that investment like a squeaky floorboard. 

There are many reasons hardwood floors become squeaky to include loose floorboards, inappropriate nails, or improper nail spacing. In these instances, the floorboard can rub against joists, nails, or other boards. 

While squeaky floorboards may seem like an inevitability, they don't have to be. And they certainly don't have to be tolerated unless you spend vast amounts of money. 

Keep reading to discover how to stop hardwood floors from squeaking and help protect your home investment. 

Identify the Squeak

It's important to know how the squeaking occurs and where the squeaking is located. Two floorboards rubbing together is only one source of squeaky hardwood floors. 

Most creaks can be traced back to nails or staples rubbing through the holes in the floorboards. While squeaks could also be caused by subfloor fasteners pulling in and out of the joist, and the joists themselves being bowed or uneven. 

Once the type of squeak is identified it is time to locate where the squeak or creak is located. You should be able to see the boards move when they rub against each other causing a squeak.

But, if the squeaking seems to travel across the room as you walk then it is located in the subflooring. 

How to Stop Hardwood Floors from Squeaking

 Determining the location and cause of squeaks or creaks will help determine how best to stop hardwood floors from squeaking. Problems with the subflooring require repair work underneath the flooring. Whereas loose floorboards and nails can be repaired above the flooring. 

Repairs from Underneath

A quick and easy way to fix bowed or uneven joists is to shim the floorboard. Tap a wood shim between the floorboard and the joist. It would be best to have someone helping you above to test if the squeaking stopped or not. 

If the squeaking stops you'll need to make the shim permanent. Do this by removing the shim and coating it in wood glue. Put the shim back in place but only far enough to stop the squeaking. 

For bent or twisted joists, you will need a 2x4 to but up against the joist or subflooring. This will re-enforce the joist and subflooring stopping the squeak. 

It may be worth also investing in a Squeak-Ender. A Squeak-Ender is a piece of hardware that works by pulling floorboards together. This can help with any new bows created by shimming. 

Repairs from Above

Sometimes it may be necessary to repair a squeak from above. This may be because that particular section of your floor is inaccessible from underneath. 

Luckily the repair method is incredibly straightforward. For this type of repair, you will need a hammer, finishing nails, a stud finder, a nail punch, and a wood filler.

Use the stud finder to locate the joist closest to the squeak. Drive a nail through the floorboard and into the joist below. Use the nail punch to ensure the nail is below the surface of the floor. 

Finally fill in the hole with the wood filler and enjoy blissful peace and quiet. 

Squeaky Staircases

Staircases are the squeakiest things on earth next to old doors in haunted houses. But this shouldn't be a surprise. Staircases are made out of many pieces of wood all expanding and contracting with the weather. 

Not to mention the near-constant abuse staircases receive. Luckily staircases are relatively easy to fix if you can access them underneath or behind them. 

Often access to behind staircases can be found in closets or basements. If you can get behind the staircase the best and easiest option is to glue wooden shims in place.

Similar to stopping hardwood floors from squeaking, tap a shim into the stair until the squeaking stops, and then glue the shim in place.

Another option is to fasten wooden blocks where the risers meet the treads.

Prevention Tips Before Installation

While squeaky hardwood floors almost seem like an inevitability, there are ways to help prevent squeaks before their time. 

Before installing your new hardwood floors, evaluate your subflooring. Even the best quality flooring will suffer if the subflooring is in poor condition. 

If the subflooring isn't level then the flooring will not fit properly. Squeaking will occur almost immediately, especially as the flooring contracts and expands with the weather.

Because your hardwood floors are affected by the weather it would be a good idea to acclimate your floorboards before installing them. Allowing your new flooring to acclimate prior to installation will help keep them from shifting later on down the road once installed.

Silencing the Squeak

While annoying, squeaking hardwood floors are not the end of the world and do not require costly major repairs. Knowing how to stop hardwood floors from squeaking can keep your floors lasting closer to the 100-year mark.

Squeaking hardwood floors can be caused by loose boards or nails, or bowed or bent joists. Knowing the cause determines if a shim is needed underneath the squeak or nail through the floorboard above the squeak.

Knowing the proper repair needed will save time and money. As well as prevent further problems that may arise from unnecessary repairs. 

To learn more about stopping squeaky hardwood floors get in touch with one of our hardwood flooring expert team members today!