Squeaky hardwood floors are obnoxious. Not only is the creaking a constant reminder that there’s a problem lurking, it’s downright creepy. Hardwood floors should not squeak. If yours is, it’s time to find the problem and the solution.
What’s the Problem?
To initially diagnose the cause of your squeaky floor, think about the activities that take place on it. Do the children play on it? Does the baby ride a toy on it? Maybe it’s the area of your home that gets the most traffic. Taking inventory of what stress your floor is under is helpful in figuring out its issues.
Not only do hardwood floors have to hold up to traffic, toys, pets, and other stresses on top of them, they also have to contend with the weather conditions. Cold weather makes wood contract while hot weather makes it expand. The back and forth of conditions can wreak havoc, not to mention how humidity effects flooring.
All of the above problems boil down to one thing…movement. Movement is the root of most evils when it comes to squeaky wood floors. To remedy this issue, you’ll need to do a little investigating to figure out what it is that’s allowing your floor to move around.
Some of the possibilities include:
- Fluctuations in temperature
- Joist issues
- Uneven subflooring
Once you have located the movement’s source, you can work on stabilizing your flooring in order to get rid of the noise.
Weather and Seasonal Problems
In order to diagnose and repair weather and seasonal issues with your wood flooring, when your floor is squeaky, note what the weather is like. Is it cold outside and maybe inside too? Maybe it’s humid or hot. Solid wood flooring is made of natural wood and therefore, they do what real wood and trees do – expand and contract.
While a little fluctuation in your wood flooring is to be expected, if you notice a lot of squeaking going on in the dead of winter, it’s a clue that the heat in your home and the dry winter air have initiated contraction of your wood flooring. That allows the floorboards to move which results in all sorts of creaking and squeaking.
The solution is a simple one. You can resolve the temperature issue the best you can by keeping the humidity in your home an even 40-60%. Another solution is even easier…wait for the weather to change and just turn up the music and try to ignore it. If you live in a climate like Texas where winters are short, you’re in luck but if you’re in Upstate New York, you may want to look into the humidity remedy.
Problems in the Joists
Even cleaning solutions that say they are safe for wood floors may not be and just because they may be safe doesn’t mean they are effective. If your floor looks milky or greasy after you have mopped it, the solution isn’t the proper type for your floor’s finish.
The solution is clear. Switch cleaning products to one that is appropriate for your type of floor finish. Be sure you aren’t using a product with chlorine bleach, ammonia, or undiluted vinegar. Harsh chemicals wreak havoc on wood flooring too.
While you are examining your joists, check out the subflooring. If it isn’t level, a space will be created between the subflooring and the floor which can make noises. In the event that your subflooring is older, you can almost bet the issue is arising from it. If your subflooring is loose, deteriorated, warped, or gapped, you’ll need to repair them or find someone else to do the work for you in order to stop your wood flooring from squeaking.
Thin wooden shims are often needed to fill gaps between the subflooring and the flooring. The process of placing them in sounds more complicated than it really is. However, if you aren’t handy, save yourself the trouble and hire someone to do the work for you.
Construction adhesive is also very useful when isolating gaps in joints and subflooring. If you located a gap, simply apply the adhesive by using a caulking gun. Allow it to dry completely and test the area.
Replace Warped Boards
If you find warped boards in the joists, subflooring, or even your wood planks, replace them with new ones. Blocks of wood can be installed in order to prevent two weak joists from giving way again if you find that was the issue.
Place Screws In
You can place screws underneath in the subflooring if it has loose spots. Screw from the underside so that it will hold to the top flooring, thus eliminating all that shifting, creaking and squeaking.
Wood flooring is gorgeous and timeless. When problems occur, such as squeaking, they are typically easily remedied and once you’ve got the issue solved, you can go back to enjoying them again.