Over time, floorboards tend to dry out and shrink. This may be caused by many factors, including increased humidity or a settling foundation. Squeaky floorboards can be irritating, but are easy to fix. In fact, there are a few methods for fixing squeaky floorboards that don’t require the help of a handyman or any complicated tools.
Repair the Floorboards from Below
Some squeaks come from the sub-floor; if this is the case, it’s important to make repairs from below. To check for faulty spots, enter the crawlspace or basement and stand beneath the floor. Have a friend walk across the floor above and listen for squeaks. Once the spot has been located, put carpenter’s glue on a shim, which is a thin piece of wood. Place this between the sub-floor and the joist to fill in the gap that is causing the squeak.
Install a wood screw to connect the sub-floor and floor more securely together as a permanent solution. It’s a good idea to keep the floorboard weighted during this process; weight will press the joist closer to the sub-floor, which will minimise the squeaks. Place a heavy object on the floor, or have someone stand on it while the two floors are screwed together.
Fix Squeaky Floorboards from Above
If there is no crawlspace or basement available, it may be necessary to make repairs to the flooring from above. In this case, once you find the squeak, use a stud-finder to locate the closest joist. Then use a drill to attach the loose floorboards to the joist with a wood screw.
If owners are fixing a squeaky floorboard underneath carpet, they can buy some breakaway screws from a site like eBay; these can be pushed through carpet without anyone seeing them once the job is done. For hardwood floors, add wood putty around the wood screws to conceal them during everyday use. Sand the wood putty down to further hide the repaired area.
Another way to fix squeaky floorboards involves sprinkling powder around the nails and in between floorboards. Use cornstarch, talcum powder, or flour, making sure to spread it evenly enough to fill in any gaps that could be causing the squeaking sound. This reduces friction, which causes the floorboards to make the bothersome noise. If there is any excess powder visible on the surface once finished, just carefully wipe it up with a cloth or broom.
Most people notice a few squeaky floorboards in their home at some point. Whether they have carpet or hardwood flooring, these tips can help solve the problem without a professional’s help. Plus, each step involves minimal tools, making it easy for the average homeowner to fix their own squeaky floorboards.