How to silence a squeaking floor

Be sure to contact a flooring company for your squeaky floor repairs.

Be sure to contact a flooring company for your squeaky floor repairs.

Dear Angie: We need help with our squeaking floors. Our house is about 29 years old and has carpeting over all of the floors except the kitchen, foyer and some bathroom areas. The first and second floors have areas that squeak and there seem to be more squeaks every day. What can I do about this problem? – Mary Jane P., Overland Park, Kan.

Dear Mary Jane: I would recommend contacting a flooring company to help with this repair. The squeaking you hear is likely sections of subfloor rubbing against each other, or the floor joists, where nails have come loose. These squeaks, creaks or groans occur over time because the wooden subfloor naturally swells, warps and dries with humidity.

There are 4-inch screws available on the market for the purpose of fixing squeaky floors. These can be screwed right through the carpet to secure the subfloor to the joists without having to pull the carpet up. That will usually eliminate the squeak, but it can be a bit of a process, which is why you might consider bringing in a professional for the job.

For noisy hardwood floors, the process is similar. The more intrusive method is taking up the floorboards, locating the joists, and screwing in the floorboards more tightly. A less intrusive method is to drive screws directly through the floorboards lower than the walking surface; then, cover the holes with wood filler. Since both methods disturb the floor's appearance, consider having floors refinished after the repair to produce the most attractive results.

Squeaking stairs are a different scenario. In that event, you have to get to the backside of the stairs, using a wood shim to fill the gaps between the stair tread and riser.

If a major repair is involved and the carpet needs to be removed, you’ll want to talk to your service professional about the best options for reinstalling or replacing the carpet. It could impact the overall cost of the project.


More Like This

Tighten floorboards to quiet aging home

As wooden subfloors naturally swell and warp over time, nails can come loose and cause the floors to squeak and groan.

Comments

I have lino on my floor, and it squeaks really bad!! I only have partial access from underneath. How can I fix the squeaks????

It is also possible that the squeaks are generated at the butt ends of the floor joists, where they attach to the frame or ledger board. In newer construction the joists are often attached using metal hangers, u shaped straps of metal which are secured with nails or screws. When the house is new the joists fit tight, so there is no space between the end of each joist and the ledger it hangs from. Over time the lumber dries and shrinks a tiny bit, leaving a very small space at the end because now the joist is a little bit shorter. When you walk on the floor, your weight depresses the joist a little bit, and that movement means the end of the joist can rub ever so slightly against the ledger, making it squeak. You can determine that this is the problem if you have space under the floor and are able to get close to the area while someone walks around the floor where it makes the squeaking noise. If this is the issue, use a hammer to drive a thin shim into the space between the end of the joist and the ledger. You're looking to put it at the bottom edge of the joist.It may take a very thin shim but as soon as you do this the squeaking will stop, if this is the issue.

Would Gorilla glue help? between floor joist and sub floor??? Then try sprinkling baby power into the seams a couple hrs. later????

My dad gave me some advice when I put some new oak flooring down, when all flooring is up and your down to the sub floor, in my case 1x10 planks, buy 4 inch deck screws and put them about every 5 inches in the joists. I dont ever foresee squeaks in this house ever again.

you may want to check on the bridging between the joists....perhaps it was forgotten and not installed at all. Or maybe there isnt enough bridging.....that is what happened to us. My husband built the house and forgot to install all the bridging on the floor joists and we have major squeeks. I guess he will have to get under the house and install it now.....that is not gonna be easy.

I get underneith the floor and use and artists palette knife (very thin blade) to work Gorilla glue into the gapbetween the floor and the joist. This glue expands/foams as it sets and is incredibly strong. Might give issues if you need to tear up the floor in the future but if your leaving it in place it works like a charm.

You are telling people to fix their squeaks the wrong way. You do not have to screw down into the hardwood floors into the subfloor / joists. That will leave giant screw holes and will unnecessarily ruin the look of your floors. Instead, go underneath the house or floor and screw shorter screws through the subfloor into the hardwood. Pick screws that will not protrude through the floor, and you will never know the area even needed repair.

I own a 4-plex with squeaky upstairs floors. I solved the problem when replacing the carpet. I used deck screws (the ones with the six-pointed "star" pattern) to screw the subflooring to the joists. It was easy to see from the nailing pattern where the screws went. I put in a lot of screws, 4 inches apart for the edges of the subfloor 4 by 8 plywood panels, and about 8 inches apart in the middle of the panels. Problem solved. I expect the solution to be permanent, since the deck screws really hold down tight and went slightly below the surface of the subflooring. Do NOT use sheetrock screws -- they don't stop the squeek and they are slow to screw in. Took a weekend. Get yourself some good knee pads and a kneeling bench (it is a lot easier to get up from the floor by pushing on the handles of the kneeling bench). Take a hammer, too. You can hammer in the tips of a line of screws, then come back and screw a line of them in all at once.

On one side of the bedroom the floor sweekys loudy and I noticed two screws coming from the ceiling in the dining area underneath that room. How should I proceed with repair?

Mike Holmes of HG TV has a magazine. The latest issue has something about floors in it.

I believe they are referring to shaker shingles

The baby powder method works great. I first used this idea several years ago in my 100 year old home on both the oak and pine floors.

What about squeaky laminate wood floors? I get squeaks at certain times of the year due to weather changes. Will the powder work for these floors?

the baby powder trick worked for me, i learned it by accident, my son was a baby and we had a squeaky rocking chair next to the changing table, spilled baby powder on it on day, couple days later, i noticed the squeak was gone! i tried it on my unfinished wood floors on my 2nd story townhouse and within a few days the squeak was barely noticeable. but do be careful for several days, talc is VERY slippery on surfaces, but i guess that's why it works.

if you can get underneath the floor have someone walk above to find the sqeaks,take a square toothpick drive it between the boards at the sqeak cut off the excess with wire cutters,works great and is cheap.

I used the "Squeak No More" kit at our old condo - new construction, plywood floor under carpet, engineered I beams. It was useless - and I knew exactly where the beams were. I must have driven 40 of those into one beam and it never fixed the squeaking.

Talc applied to floors is an Rx for a fall for the over-50 crowd. Don't do it! (friendly nurse)

"Dries with humidity"??? Is she kidding???

That's a lot of work for a creaky floor. I'd let it creak.

I saw a feature on diy about repairing squeaks in floors. 1) sprinkle baby powder into the cracks. Let it work in and re-apply as needed. 2)have someone stand on the squeaking area. Another person is in the basement locating the squeak. When located, place a shim between the joist and subflooring. I resolves, slim can be screwed into place and excess trimmed off.

How to fix a squeaking floor: Don't. Call someone else to do it. Not too helpful...

Tom Macedo, What kind of singles? Wood, etc. Please let me know and I will try them and report back. Thanks

I agree with Tom Macedo: top-down is a horrible, kludgy way to fix squeaks on plank floors, or if there is good/refinishable hardwood under carpet. The original white oak in my 1920s house is in great shape, so I would definitely not want a bunch of wood-filler spots in it. Although I've had some success puffing talc into squeaky spots FROM UNDERNEATH, there are some recalcitrant places I will hire a professional wood-floor specialist to fix. The only way I would make holes from the top is if the construction is too cheap to matter, or the subfloor completely inaccessible.

Please BEWARE...I had very squeaky floors when I moved into my 35 yo townhome, and I hired a contractor to screw down squeaky locations on my first and second floors. For some time after that (but not before) I noticed a creaking sound at night in the loft area. Then after around a year or two I heard a colossal creak...like something snapped in two. I didn't hear the creaking anymore after that, but I did have a shift between the floors that shows on my wall.

Another thing you can try on uncarpeted floors is talc powder along the seams. Works in and reduces or eliminates a lot of noise. Of course if the floorboards need to be screwed down, this is not the answer.

I just used spiral nails, drove then through the floor to the sub-floor, and it worked just fine. Total cost: 75 cents.

Get some short drywall screws. Go to the basement and drive the screws up through the subfloor into the hardwood flooring. Just make sure the screw are shorter than the thickness of the flooring and subflooring.

Before spending any large amount of money, simply try sprinkling baby powder over the noisey area & let it seep in over the next week. Seems to work 50% of the time

Another thing you can try on uncarpeted floors is talc powder along the seams. Works in and reduces or eliminates a lot of noise. Of course if the floorboards need to be screwed down, this is not the answer.

If the floors are bare you can sprinkle baby power into the spaces. It will help the squeak of board against board.

Growing up in New England hardwood floors always squeeked. If there are gaps in the joints, sprinkle some baby powder into the gaps and after a while the squeek will go away

If its a two story house and the prolem is on the 2nd story the first information is right on...

i have wood floors put on a concrete slab that squeek what is the solution for that?

The methods cited work very well - but only if the problem is as described. We have large joists on 24" centers. Some of the subfloor joints are not on the joists; it is these that squeak and the only possible fix would be to install either new subflooring or metal 'binder plates' to join the squeaking subfloor 4x8's.

For a quick, albeit temporary, fix, sprinkle baby powder onto the offending area and then sweep into the cracks. It works and you don't have to mar the surface or refinish your floors.

I would have to agree with Mr. Tom M. A lot of Home Imp. Ctrs sell wood shims, for among other things handling squeaky floors, just tap with a rubber mallet between the floor joist and sub floor, gently and definitely not forcing the shim. After that just cut with a utility knife but do be careful utility knifes are razor sharp. The important thing to keep in mind is not to force the shim...

But what options do you have when the entire 2nd floor bedroom squeaks because not enough bracing was used on the floor joists. The entire floor is apparently slightly moving when walking on. I've had people tell me to pull up carpet and flooring and reinforce joists and I have others tell me to take off the drywall from underneath, install plywood to the underside of the floor, then redrywall the ceiling.

Use talcom powder in the cracks. Works 98% of the time. Rub it down in the cracks and sweep off the rest...

Shingles are for roofs, not joists.

An earlier posting by "Tom" suggested using shingles as a wedge between the top of the joist and the bottom of the sub-floor. I prefer to use "shims" instead. You can buy a bunch for very little money; they come tapered and are not as wide as shingles making them easier to drive than wider shingles. It really helps to have a helper on the carpet side of the floor while the worker is underneath. Easier to pinpoint the suspect areas. Use your cell phones or intercom on your wired phone to communicate with each other. This method assumes one has access via a crawl space or basement.

What if you have a squeaky floor covered with carpet, but it is over a basement? Is there an option for coming in from below? My house is from 1964.

I've heard that the break away screws work really well on the right applications but like an above statement said it's a hit or miss with getting into the floor joists.

As a temporary fix for carpeted stairs and other limited areas, a little baby powder will drift down into the spaces and lubricate to stop squeeks and is easily vacuumed.

My husband used the above mentioned product and it did NO good at all. After using about 70 of the screws, it was time to call it quits and just live with the squeak!!

How about some tips on squeaky hardwood floors? We rent and can't do any screwing or real work on it.

Steve-- I want to work on my stairs from underneath--what kind of glue do you recommend?

Steve, Would appreciate more info on the stair fix. Just completed a renovation, but my General Contractor wouldn't touch the stair squeaks (recommended replacement...gee thanks).

The $1.99 option is a liberal sprinkling of baby powder over the squeaky area. As you sweep it up, the powder gets between the noisy boards and acts as a dry lubricant.

The recommendation to install the screws right through the carpet is disturbing - I cringe at the thought of a baby crawling along the carpet, only to snag it's kneecap on a screw head.

One simple solution is to sprinkle talcolm (list would not allow me to spell this correctly) powder where the squeak is--usually helps for minor squeaks.

Pages

Add comment

Anonymous reviews are Internet graffiti.  Angie's List has real reviews from real people.

What is Angie's List?

Angie’s List is the trusted site where more than 2 million households go to get ratings and reviews on everything from home repair to health care. Stop guessing when it comes to hiring! Check Angie’s List to find out who does the best work in town.

Local Discounts

Daily deals up to 70% off popular home improvement projects from top-rated contractors on Angie’s List!