I live in a charming vintage house that was passed on to me by my grandma. My family and I still live here because it has a great location and we are mortgage free. On top of that, I have so many nice memories attached to this place.
The only drawback of living in a house this old is that the hardwood floors are squeaky. For years, I endured the sound. At times, my husband’s own footsteps gave me the creeps because I thought there was a ghost with all that extra noise.
He laughed and told me this was our beautiful home and not a haunted house. We decided to take matters into our own hands to address and finally shut up these damn squeaky hardwood floors once and for all. As it turns out, this problem is easy to solve and we could actually do it on our own…which we did!
We were able to address the noise coming from our hardwood floors , trying two methods–from above and below the floor. There’s no need to hire a professional or to spend tons of money. If we were able to do it, and we are not crafty any way, then you can easily do it too.
If you live in an old home or apartment building, you could be suffering from the same squeaky floor problem. You can stop enduring the annoying noise because it can be fixed easily. We’re here to show you how you can get it done without breaking the bank and without breaking into a lot of sweat (okay, maybe there’s only a little).
Honestly, you have nothing to be afraid of because these steps are super easy, so you won’t need a professional. There are many different ways to get this done that won’t require you to spend too much time nor money. Let’s us show you how to get that done below.
Materials and Tools You Will Need
Before you begin any sort of work, you have to make sure all these materials and tools are accessible to you. These supplies can be found in hardware stores and online in reputable sites like Amazon. The best part about doing the latter is that the materials come out cheaper with deals and coupon codes.
If you don’t feel like heading out, order these materials online and have them delivered right to your doorstep. This is what are the materials and tools will need to get this project done:
☛ An assistant to help out
☛ Hand work gloves
☛ Protective or old clothing
☛ Wood shims
☛ Construction adhesive
☛ Squeak No More screw kit
☛ Wood filler
☛ Screw driver
☛ Steel brads
☛ WD 40 lubricant spray
☛ Any powder: baby powder, talcum powder, powdered soapstone or powdered graphite
Reasons Your Floor Boards are Squeaky
If your floors are squeaky, your house most likely has a suspended ground floor. Majority of all suspended ground floors are constructed in the same manner. They have joists under the floorboards, which serve to hold the boards and handle their weight.
However, the passing of time promotes the formation of gaps in between the joists and the floorboards. For sure, this is where the source of your house’s squeaking is coming from. You footsteps reverberate through the space and create that annoying sound akin to a windpipe.
Another plausible reason is coming from the floorboards itself. The older they are, they become loose or tight due to wood expansion from the weather or due to regular wear and tear. You floorboards could actually be rubbing up against each other and it could be the culprit of the irritating squeaky noise.
Top Tips to Quickly Fix Your Squeaky Hardwood Floors
There are actually several methods to fix your squeaky floorboards depending on where the noise is coming from. Determine where the noise is, so you can address it efficiently.
If you have a basement or a crawlspace beneath your house, you can opt to fix this from below. But if you don’t have any there’s no other recourse but to fix the noise from above.
The two methods are actually both equally effective. You can expect great results whichever one you pick. It is up to you to figure out which solution offers the best remedy for your needs.
1. Fixing from Below the Ground
If you opt to fix the squeaky floors from below, you will need to access the crawlspace or basement area under the floorboards. The fist thing that you need to do is to make sure the area is completely safe. This is vital when it comes to the crawlspace because it is rarely accessed.
A crawlspace can be unsafe, especially if you never go down there. It can have asbestos, which is an element that’s highly toxic for the lungs. There could also be lingering chemical odors or excessive dirt.
On top of that, there could be rodents, snakes, or bugs. All of these may sound creepy, but if you bring your favorite flashlight, wear proper protective coating, and the right gear, you can still have a happy ending.
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Don’t worry because it may not even be as bad as you imagine! We just want to give you a heads up on what you ought to expect. You have to eliminate all of those first before you can begin addressing your squeaky floorboard issue.
Now that the space is safe, you need to get someone to help you. This will be a joint effort for you and the helper, so you can trace where the squeaking is coming from. You shall be in the basement or crawlspace while your helper will walk around the house.
As your helper takes those crucial steps, you will need your marker to draw an X-marking on the exact parts that emit the squeaks. These are the areas the need attention and fixing. Ask you helper do this twice, so you can re-check the marks.
Your next step is figuring out the joist that is the closest to the floorboard that made a lot of noise. We are pretty sure that you will see a gap right there. Now, all that needs to be done is for you to get a thin wood shim and place it carefully in between the gap.
You have to be extra careful not to push the shim too hard. If you are rough, it can make an even bigger gap. That is the last thing we want to happen because it will create more noise.
Some complications can crop up as you are doing this project. What should you do next if the gap is too tiny or too lengthy? What is the next step if you really cannot trace where the noise is emanating from?
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This is where a construction adhesive will come to your rescue. Prepare your work gloves, so you don’t get this into your hands. Then you can apply this generously on the entire length of the joist where the sound is heard and then wait for this to dry.
It is important to note that drying this can last for a week. Set up barriers, based on your estimates, on top of your living area where you applied the adhesive, so you and your family can avoid this area as it dries. This is a critical step because if you step on the hardwood floors with we adhesive, it may not end up drying well at all, so the squeaking won’t stop.
2. Fixing from Above the Ground
If there is no crawl space or no basement under your floor, you are left with no choice but to fix things from above. There is also a way to get this done but it is a bit more complex than the first procedure.
The first thing that you have to do is, of course, to locate where the squeaking noise is coming from. You have to be absolutely, positively sure that you got the right floorboard that is making the noise. This has to be precise because you will be driving screws into the floor, so you can’t afford any mistakes and drive the metal into the wrong area.
You then need your dual pitch screws for your squeaky floors. This is actually very good solution that is especially crafted to really hold the joist and the floor together. The brand called ‘Squeak No More’ screws are the ones we used for our house, and we can vouch that they are indeed the best of the best.
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Once the spot has been identified, you have to drive in the screws with your trusty screwdriver into the joists through the floorboards. You have to be careful not to put them in too deep because you will need a part of screw exposed above the floor so you can snap them at their seams.
A small tiny hole will remain on your floor once this is done. But worry not because you can easily fix this will just a small amount of wood filler. Make sure that this filler is the exact same shade of your floorboards, or else, you’ll look like your sporting polka-dotted floors.
You can also use a different kind of nail for your issue called nail steel brads. These have been specifically made for all kinds of wood flooring. The damage inflicted on your wooden floors by these brads when you drive them in is very minimal.
The procedure is the same as the dual-pitch screws. Find out where the noise is coming from and then drive the nail into the joint. Hammer this until just the top of the steel nail brad stays above the floor boards.
Once that is done, you will have to snap it at the seam. This is akin to bending the top so it will act as a hook to keep the flooring in place. This sill create a hole on the floor and once again, you must fill this with the same tone wood filler.
3. Fixing the Floorboards
If the problem is coming from floorboards because they are rubbing against each other, you must follow a different method. Don’t worry because, when it comes to noisy floorboards, this is one of the best and easiest situations that is super easy to fix.
In order to find out if the floorboards are indeed rubbing against each other, you must look at the for the joists. There will be nail markings on your floor to signify where they are. If you can’t find these nails, you can use a hammer.
If your floorboards are squeaking while you are walking then it means the main culprit is your floorboards. You can use baby powder, talcum powder, powdered soapstone, or powdered graphite for this next step. We personally used baby powder because it is cheap and it feels safer because it is good enough for babies, it is good enough for us.
Put your chosen powder between the boards and voila, your problem is solved. You can also try spraying WD-40, an oily lubricant noted for eliminating squeaks, on your floorboards. If this is the method you will employ to silence your floorboards, make sure there isn’t any fire sources nearby because this lubricant is highly flammable.
It is best to spray this in a well-ventilated area with no heat source. Open your windows before you press the squeeze button. When doing projects like this, it is always for the best to err on the side of caution so no untoward incidents will happen.
What to Do if None of These Steps Work on Your Floorboards?
Once you have tried all the tips that we have given you and your floorboards are still making their squeaking noises, then you honestly may have a bigger problem that needs the assessment of a professional. Your joists could be defective and this is a task that you must not even try to do on your own.
This can happen if your house is super old or if the construction project did not use quality materials. But in general, joists are made to possess awesome strength powers because of the weight they carry. Typically, they even last for a long time.
Once your joist problem is fixed, it is highly likely that the same issue will not appear again. So don’t hesitate in calling a professional to ask for his help because investing in the fixing of your floorboards will make them even more durable. On top of that, this will give you one thing you’ve been carving, which is the reason you embarked on this project…and that is the sound of silence.
Final Word on this Squeaky Issue
As you can see, squeaky floorboards are a problem that you can address easily, so you don’t have to endure the annoying sound in your home for all of eternity. With just a few key fixes from either above or below your floorboards, you can cut the noise in no time.
Thankfully, all of these products use in fixing the floorboards are available in Amazon, so you don’t even have to leave your house to get this done. With a little bit of time and patience, you will be proud of yourself and how effectively you have managed to fix your problem.