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Best Way to Fix Squeaky Floors

Woman sitting crossed legged on hardwood floors leaning against a white brick wall with her fingers in her ears.

It is not a mouse when you take a step on your hardwood floor, and you hear a squeak. It is not coming from a mouse who has invaded your home. That squeak means that you have a loose floorboard or subflooring.

The longer you let it go, the worse it will get. Take the right steps and fix the squeak before it drives you crazy. In order to fix the squeak, just continue to read our article. It has the information you need to know about so you can get the repair done quickly and inexpensively.

How to Fix a Squeaky Floor

Toddler walking down a hallway with hardwood floors

There are two directions that you can use to approach this problem. You can either choose to do the repair from beneath the upper floor or from on top of it. The former option is best when your lower floor does not have a finished ceiling.

Here are the steps for both methods so you can make the best choice for your squeaky floor situation:

1. Fixing the Squeak from Below the Floor

View of the underneath of hardwood floors as seen from a basement.
  1. Find the Squeak– You can either go down to the lower floor and listen while someone walks on the floor above you. Or you can do the walking and let the other person find it. Either way, you need to find where the squeak is in order to fix it.
  2. Weight the Floor- Once you find the location of the noise, put some weight on the loose floorboards. This will help you do a better repair job.
  3. Add a Brace– This repair option works when the joist and sub-floor are loose. The brace will tighten them up.
  4. Add a Shim– If the joist is tight but the sub-flooring is loose, then place a shim between the two flooring components. The shim will fill the gap space and stop the floor from squeaking.
  5. Use Screws– This is an old tried and true method of stopping squeaks. The screws will suck the sub-flooring, the floorboards, and the joist together removing any gaps and loose fits.

2. Repairing from Above

A pair of fee wearing jeans and socks walking across hardwood floors.
  1. Identify the Squeak– This may take a little more effort as you may have to remove carpets, rugs, furniture to find the exact location of the squeak. A bare hardwood floor will allow you to skip part of this step.
  2. Walk on the Floor– This will help you locate the squeak and make sure you find the exact floorboard that is the problem. Mark the board so you can find it with ease after getting your tools.
  3. Use Your Drill– This is one of the best ways to solve the squeaking problem. Drill a nice hole first, then drill a countersink hole in order to have the screw head sit beneath the surface of the floor, protecting your feet. Once that is done, use a wood screw to tighten the floorboard, sub-flooring, and the joist together.
  4. Cover With Wood Putty– Once the screw is in place, cover the head and the hole with some matching wood putty. That way no one will notice the repair. Sand the wood putty once it dries to have it blend in with the coloring of the rest of the floorboards.
  5. Stain– If needed and this is optional, use a little wood stain the color of the flooring to hide the wood putty even further.
  6. Put any carpeting or furniture back in place if you had to remove it for this repair.

Keeping Squeaks Away

a slat of wood covered in a squiggle of wood glue laying on top of more wood slats

One of the best ways to ensure that any squeaks do not happen for a very long time, there is a little technique you can use during the construction of your home. Before the flooring contractor starts securing the floor to the joists, with nails or screws, have him put wood glue on the edge of the joist that will hold the sub-flooring.

Once all the joists are for that section have the glue on them, secure the sub-flooring to the joist. The glue will provide extra hold and prevent squeaks from taking place for a very long time.

This technique does not delay the construction of your floor.

Some Final Words

Squeaks can be very annoying when they start entering your floor. While they help alert you to someone sneaking around your home, that benefit does not overshadow the annoying feeling you get when you hear it.

Stop the squeak before it becomes a major problem. If you wait, it could cost you a lot more to fix.

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