If you’ve ever had to deal with old wooden floors, then squeaky floors probably drive you absolutely crazy. Luckily, there are numerous different ways to fix a squeaky floor so that you can finally walk in peace and quiet. Here’s how to fix squeaky floors.
1. Identify the Squeaky Areas
This first step may seem a little ridiculous, but in order to fix a squeaky floor, you must first know exactly where the noise is coming from. You may have just one spot on the ground that makes a sound each time you press it, or your entire floor may squeak incessantly all day long. No matter how much squeaky floor there is, you must know exactly where each spot squeaks before you can fix the problem.
The best way to find all of the squeaks is to simply walk all over the floor and mark each place that makes noise. You can put a piece of tape on the ground, or place some other sort of marker on top of the floor so you know where the squeaks came from. Sticky notes or painters tape are a great resource to use, since they will stay where you put them, but also easily removable without causing any damage to your flooring.
2. Determine if You Can Get Underneath the Floor
When we say “get underneath the floor,” we mean if you have some sort of a basement or crawlspace underneath the floor that you have access to. Not all houses or buildings have space under the floor that is easily accessible.
If you do have access to a basement or crawlspace under the flooring, then you have a few different options to fix the squeaking.
3. Get Rid of the Give in the Floor from Below
Most squeaking is caused by the floor shifting downward when you step on it. Because of this, you can fix the squeaks by raising that area of the flooring and securing it so that it will no longer shift when stepped on.
You can get rid of the “give” in the floor by inserting some sort of shim in between the subflooring and the support beams, or joist. This will stop the floor from sinking and will support it when it is stepped on.
Assistance with Floor Repair
You will need a friend to help you accomplish this step. You have already marked where each of the squeaks are, but unfortunately, you won’t be able to see those markers when you are underneath the floor. Your friend will have to step on the floor so that you can hear where the squeaks are. If you are having trouble determining the squeaky area, your friend can knock against the floor right where the squeaks are. Then you should be able to tell where the sound is coming from.
When inserting the shim/wedge, you need to make sure it won’t move over time. You can coat the shim with carpenter’s glue before tapping it into the space between the subfloor and the support beams. The glue will help to secure the shim in place so that it will not shift over time.
How To Fix Squeaky Floor and Avoid Bumpy Floor
Be careful not to raise the floor too high. You only want the shim to fill the already existing empty space. If the shim is too big, it will raise the floor higher than it should be, and then you will have bumps in your floor. Learning how to fix squeaky floors is enough without a bumpy floor repair on your hands!
Another way to lift the flooring and prevent it from shifting down when stepped on is to install a Squeak-ender. The Squeak-Ender works by attaching the flooring to the joist and tightening the device until the floor is secure.
- You will only need a Phillips head screwdriver and an adjustable wrench to install it
- Pulls the sub-floor so that it is tight against the joist.
- It will not damage floor coverings such as carpet or vinyl.
- It will work on any thickness of sub-flooring
- Will work on most sub-floors supported by a joist up to 2 x 10’s.
Watch the video below on how to install the Squeak-Ender.
4. Get Rid of the Give in the Floor from Above
If you do not have access to the subfloor or the joists, then you will need to address the issue from above. This can be challenging if you have any sort of covering on your floors, such as carpet or vinyl.
According to Showcase Interiors Flooring America, you will first need to remove the covering from the floor. Once the subfloor is exposed, you can easily determine where the source of the squeaking is.
At the places of squeaking, use a drill to drill grabber screws into the flooring. They suggest that you screw in quite a few grabber screws all around the area. The screws will secure the floor to the joists, keeping it from shifting when stepped on. Once the screws are all in place, you can cover the floor back up with any carpet, vinyl, etc. The grabber screws should not protrude out of the floor.
Alternate Squeaky Floor Fix
You can also use the Counter-Snap Kit if you are dealing with hardwood flooring that you can’t get underneath. The Counter-Snap Kit is great because the head of the screw automatically comes off once it has been drilled into the flooring so that you don’t have a screw head in your beautiful hardwood.
To use the Counter-Snap Kit, you first need to pinpoint the source of the noise. Next, you can drill a 3/32-inch pilot hole into your hardwood flooring. During this step, you don’t have to hit a joist to be successful.
Next, insert a screw through the Counter-Snap and into the pilot hole. Drill in the screw until it breaks off below the surface of the wood. Once the screw has been inserted, you just need to cover it up by filling the pilot hole with wood putty. Once it has dried, you can sand it down and enjoy a smooth, squeak-free surface.
5. Hire a Professional
When in doubt, it is always best to hire a professional. If you have tried to fix your squeaky floors yourself and nothing has worked, then it may be time to call in backup. Remember, the best floor tradesperson may not be available right away since they are in demand. Patience may pay off with quality work if you can wait for the top flooring expert in your area.