If you’ve ever had a creaky floor, you know that what seems like a minor issue can actually be a very pesky flaw that always seems to make itself known at the wrong time! Creaky floors can happen anywhere in your home. However, they have a way of showing up in high-traffic areas that can’t be avoided. What’s more, it’s also possible to have creaky stairs that make it impossible to avoid making a commotion. Many people are surprised to discover that even floors that are covered in soft carpeting can still be creaky floors. What causes creaky, squeaky floors? Those squeaks are usually caused by loose floorboards. In floors where carpeting is covering the floor, creaking is usually the result of plywood subfloor being loose. The good news is that you don’t have to live with creaky floors! Most creaking floors can be taken care of using a relatively inexpensive fix. Take a look at how to fix creaky floors in minutes!
Step 1: Identify the Cause of the Noise
The first step to quieting your squeaky floor is simply to figure out the source of the creaking. The best way to do this is to use two people. If you have a first floor, basement or crawl space beneath the area where you’re noticing the creak, have one person wait there. Next, the second person will walk across the floor several times until they “hit” the board that is causing the noise.
Step 2: Get Started
Once you have the location identified, you can usually visually pinpoint the exact origin spot of the creaking simply by looking for any spaces between the floor joist and bottom of your subfloor. Be prepared to use a flashlight and some tools that will allow you to safely tear away some insulation if you can’t get a good view with just a quick glance. The good news is that you’re in for a very quick fix if you do see a gap! You may be able to put a plug in the creaking just by applying some carpenter’s glue to the space before pushing in a sliver of a wood shim.
If it looks like a shim will do the job, make sure you’re being gentle when pushing it in because you could create a bulge in your subflooring if you’re too aggressive. You’ll also want to come back once you’re sure that your glue has dried to trim your shims right at the joists. This fix will take care of about 99 percent of squeaky floors.
What If You Don’t Have Access Under Your Floors? How to Fix Creaky Floors From Above
Slipping in a shim to fill in a gap may not be on the table if you don’t have a way to get under your creaking floor. However, you still have a fairly quick and inexpensive option for fixing the squeaky situation if this is the case. You may be able to stop the creaking by simply applying some dry lubricant. All that you’re doing with this technique is sprinkling your dry lubricant directly into the space between your boards. Next, you’ll want to place a cloth or towel directly over the area that you just sprinkled. This will allow you to step over the boards that are causing the creaking to really get that dry lubricant embedded. When you’re confident that you’ve done a thorough job, vacuum up any residue that remains. This technique is usually effective for minor creaks.
Another Option for How to Fix Creaky Floors: Drilling
This is a more complicated option because there is the potential to cause damage if it’s done incorrectly. However, many people find that driving screws through the bottom of the floorboard is effective for finally taking care of stubborn creaks that don’t respond to other quick fixes. As covered earlier, most floor creaks are caused by loose boards. The noise that you’re hearing is sometimes caused by boards coming into contact with the nails that are keeping your flooring in place. By driving screws in, you’re stabilizing those boards in a way that stops the movement that allows that noisy chaffing to take place. When applying screws, you’ll want to use short screws that are set in place at the bottom of your subfloor to reach into the bottom of you’re actual flooring boards. The risk here is that you could accidentally drive a nail all the way through the top of your finished flooring. That’s why it’s important to be very slow, intentional and cautious when using this approach. If possible, have someone viewing your work from the top to monitor that you’re not accidentally driving screws up too far.
Final Thoughts on How to Fix Creaky Floors
The good news is that a creaking floor is generally no big deal. The fact that you hear creaking doesn’t imply any sort of structural or underlying issue. It’s very common for subfloors and floorboards to simply shift out of place over time. However, you’ll want to bring in a floor contractor to help you fix a squeaky floor if you’re having trouble identifying the source of the noise. You may also simply prefer to have someone who understands how flooring and subflooring work come in to take care of your creaking problem.