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FAF Blog

Silencing a Squeaky Floor

By FAF Staff Writer, (530 words) Posted in Care And Maintenance on September 26, 2008
There are (48) comments permalink

Other than the annoying sounds they create, squeaky hardwood floors can indicate more serious problems. Floor squeaking is a sign that gapping has occurred between the hardwood boards as a result of the wood drying out and shrinking over time. When the dried-out floorboards are walked on, they rub against one another and a squeaking noise is produced. While the damage from contracted hardwood floors may not be visually apparent, that telltale squeak will surely give it away!

It's important you tend to your squeaky hardwood floors, because to NOT do so may cause your home to depreciate in value. Now that you just got an earful, I'm ready to tell you how you can shut your floors up!


Try one of these methods:

Lubrication:
Sprinkle talcum powder or powdered graphite (available at hardware stores or on the Internet) along the seams of the floorboards. Cover the powder with cloth and step on the boards to allow the powder to work into the seams. The powder should provide enough lubrication to keep the boards from rubbing against each other.


If You Can Access the Underside of the Floor
:
Check the cross bracing between your floor joists; if loose, reattach it using screws. Place shims on top of the floor joists directly under the floorboards. Firmly, but carefully, push the shims in. You can also fasten the floor joists with screws driven at an angle through the floor joist into the subfloor.

* Cross bracing is when boards are nailed diagonally across studs or other boards to make a framework more rigid.


If You Can't Access the Underside of the Floor
:
Install 2" or 2 ½" flooring nails at least ½ inch from the edge of the floorboard and drive them in at an angle. Pre-drill holes slightly smaller than the nail shanks through the floorboards (not through the subfloor). This ensures a good hold and prevents the floorboards from splitting. Use a nail set to drive the nail heads below the floor surface and fill the holes with color-matched wood filler. You may also use screws instead of nails to fasten the boards; over time, screws hold better than nails. Countersink* the screws and patch the holes with wood filler.

* Countersinking is the practice of making the head of a screw, bolt etc. sink into a prepared depression so as to be flush with or below the surface of the floor.


If You Have Carpet Over Your Hardwood Floor
:
Roll the carpet back to access the floorboards. If that isn't an option, you can hold the boards together by nailing through the carpet. A stud finder will help you locate underlying joists to drive the nails through. Don't try this with screws, as they will get tangled up in the carpet.

A squeaky floor is no match for a gang of nails and screws! But any of the above methods will squash the squeak. Of course, you should consult a professional for advice on the gapping occurring in your floor.

Let us know in a comment if these tips helped silence your squeaks, or if you know of other techniques.

 

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Comments (48)

Charles posted on: September 27, 2008

Thanks for the tips. I had some slight squeaking and talcum powder seems to do the trick. I still get an occasional squeak, but for a quick fix, it works pretty well.

padden posted on: September 30, 2008

Just a note that talcum powder is usually just a temporary fix. If this is the method that you choose, keep extra on hand because eventually you will need to reapply.

Donald posted on: May 18, 2009

Ya the talcum powder trick definitely works on squeaky hardwood floors or any type of flooring for that matter but yes it is only a temporary flooring fix. I had to consult a professional to come into my home because I didn't want to rip up my floors and not be able to do anything about it after I was done examining the annoying squeaks... Thankfully I didn't removing my flooring because it would have been impossible for me to put back together... hardwood flooring underneath my carpet squeaking for ages finally fixed. Get a pro if you aren't the home improvement, do it yourself, Mr.FixIt type!

Harry posted on: June 9, 2009

Talcum powder does work, for a bit then it will need to be re applied... I did what it told me to do above (I have carpeting over my hardwood floors) and it worked great! Thanks for the flooring information, it was really helpful. I thought I was going to go crazy with my floor squeaking like it was.

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