The squeaks and creaks that you hear, every time someone walks by, can drive you crazy. But don’t worry. It is possible to get rid of this annoying sound. Although completely eliminating the source of this noise can be a difficult job, there are several simple methods that require a minimal investment in buying the necessary equipment.
Fixing Squeaky Floors
The key to getting rid of squeaky floors, is to identify the root cause of the noise, and to get rid of it permanently. There can be several reasons that can cause this. Over a period of time, the wood dries out and shrinks, generating small gaps between the hardwood boards. These gaps are a common cause of the problem. Most wooden-flooring options in modern houses are made up of several layers of wood. The lowest layer, known as the floor joist, can also cause squeaking due to sagging, over time. The nature of the sound, as well as the method used to fix the floor, depends on which layer is responsible for the noise and what type of finishing the floor has.
Fix the Floors from Underneath
The first and the most important thing to do is to locate the exact source of the noise. For those of you who have floorboards that are not placed over concrete, you can ask someone to walk across the floor, while you examine the floor joists from below. Look for any movement that could indicate a loose joist or gap in between. If you find either, you can fix it, using the options given below:
If you find a gap between the layers, it is simple to deal with. Apply construction adhesive on a tapered shim and carefully tap it into the gap. Do not force it inside, as it may widen the gap and worsen its condition.
If the floorboards are warped or the bracing is loose, you may have to re-attach it, using wooden screws. Be careful not to tighten the screws so hard, that they strip the wood.
Another option would be to install an extra bracing between the floor joints. Make sure to screw the bracing firmly into the subfloor.
Fix the Floors from Above
In case you find it difficult to get to the underside of the floor, as it may be situated on the second story or there may be a finished ceiling below the squeaky floor, you can work on it from the top, too. These are some simple techniques on how to fix these floors from above the ground.
Powdered graphite or talcum powder
An easy option would be to sprinkle some talcum powder or graphite, along the seams of the boards. Cover the powder with a cloth or the paper towels, and step on the floorboards to let the powder seep into the seam. The powder coats the surface of the boards and stops them from rubbing against each other. This method works well for small cracks or gaps.
If the floor is still squeaky, you will have to nail the floorboard into the subfloor. You could also use small screws to join the boards together, as they hold better than ordinary nails. Do not forget to patch the holes with a wood filler.