How to Fix Squeaky Floors
Are you tired of your home's squeaky floors? Squeaky floors are extremely common, but that doesn’t make them any less annoying. Luckily, most of them are relatively easy to fix. If you want to be able to walk across your house in peace again, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll teach you how to fix a squeaky hardwood or carpet floor in 20 minutes or less. Call America’s Floor Source or visit one of our locations if you need help from one of our experienced installation professionals.
Let’s get started!
What Causes Squeaky Floors?
Floors start creaking when your home has settled and your wooden floors dry out, warp and shrink. Your floor's top layer, subfloor and joists separate from one another ever so slightly, and they move when weight is applied to them. When you walk across a noisy floor, the nails squeak as they slide in and out of your floor’s joists. To fix a squeaky floor, you’ll need to give the subfloor more support and keep the individual parts of your floor from rubbing against each other.
How to Fix Squeaky Hardwood Floors from Below
Always fix a squeaky floor from below if possible. This way, you won’t have to risk damaging the top of your floor. Plus, it’s easier to fix when you have direct access to your subfloor and floor joists.
Step 1: Pinpoint the squeak
To pinpoint the problem area from below, have someone walk over the squeaky area above you. Look for gaps in-between the subfloor and the joists where the noise is occurring. You might even be able to see the subfloor move as the person walks over the area above you.
Step 2: Measure the gap
Once you’ve located the problem area, you’ll need to evaluate the size of the gap between the subfloor and the joist. The height and length of the gap will determine which material you need to fill it with.
Step 3: Fill in the gap
Fill the gap between the subfloor and the joist using one or more of these methods:
Insert a wooden shim
If the gap is small and isolated, you can just spread some carpenter’s glue onto a wooden shim and tap it into the gap with a hammer. Don’t force the shim in too far; you could create a hump in the floor above. The shim should be just snug enough to support the subfloor.
Use construction adhesive
If the gap between the subfloor and the joist is particularly long, you can fill the gap with construction adhesive. Use a caulk gun to force the adhesive in-between the joist and the subfloor. Long gaps usually only appear on one side of a joist, but you should check the other side just in case.
Support the joist with a length of 2X4
Another option is to drill or nail a short board along the side of the joist to give it extra support. Take a length of 2X4, hold it flat against the joist, and slide it up to meet the subfloor. Then, drill or nail the board to the side of the joist.
How to Fix Squeaky Hardwood Floors from Above
If you don’t have access to the area below your squeaky floor, you can also fix it from above. To fix your floor from above, you’ll need a stud sensor, a hammer, a nail set, finish nails, and some wood filler. If you’re nervous about driving nails into your floor, you can purchase a kit, like The Squeeeeek-No-More Kit, to make the job easier.
Step 1: Locate the joist
First, locate the joist directly below the squeaking area. You can do this by using a stud sensor or lightly tapping your hardwood floor with a hammer until you hear a dull sound.
Step 2: Finish nails
Next, drive a long finish nail into the floor so that it goes through the joist below.
Step 3: Fill the hole
Use a nail set to drive the nail below the surface of the floor. After you’re finished, use wood filler to fill the hole(s).
How to Fix Squeaky Carpet Floors
Fixing a squeaky carpeted floor requires a slightly different method. You’ll need a high-quality stud sensor, a utility knife, a drill, 3-inch drywall screws, and channel lock pliers or side cutters. If you’re nervous about drilling screws into your carpet floor, you can purchase a kit, like The Squeeeeek-No-More Kit, to make the job easier.
Step 1: Locate the joist
Locating the joist under a carpeted floor is a little harder than finding it under hardwood. You’ll need a high-quality electronic stud finder with a deep scanning option. Once you’ve found the joist, you can mark the spot with tape.
Step 2: Cut a small hole
Next, make a small hole in the carpet webbing directly above the joist with your utility knife. You can also use your screw to make a hole by pushing it into the webbing by hand and rotating it. You want the hole to be big enough so that the screw doesn’t “catch” the carpet as you drill it in.
Step 3: Drill the screw into the joist
Finally, drill the 3-inch drywall screw into the joist below your subfloor. Stop driving the screw when the head reaches the top of the carpet. Then, using a pair of channel lock pliers or side cutters, twist the screw head side to side until it pops off.
With these three methods, you’ll be able to fix your squeaky hardwood and carpet floors in no time. We always recommend fixing squeaky floors from below, but we realize this isn’t always an option. Always use caution when you’re working with power tools. If you need help fixing a squeaky floor, we have professionals that can safely fix your squeaky floors. Visit one of America’s Floor Source’s locations or schedule a Mobile Floor Source appointment today!