Hardwood floors are a great option for creating a warm and inviting interior, and few flooring options have the ability to last as long or look as beautiful as hardwood. But every type of flooring comes with its drawbacks and hardwood is no exception. We’ve already talked about the process of maintaining, cleaning, and refinishing hardwood floors. But what do you do when your high-quality hardwood floors start to squeak? Well first, you’ll want to gain an understanding of what’s causing your floors to squeak before you can find a solution to the problem.
What Causes Floors to Squeak?
There are several factors that can play a part in causing your hardwood floors to squeak. The first step in repairing them is to identify what’s causing it. If you are able to access the flooring from below - like in a basement or crawl space - then the process is much simpler for you. Go underneath the hardwood flooring that’s squeaking and have someone walk on it from above. This will allow you to identify the exact spot that is making noise and focus your efforts on the specific area from which the sound is emanating.
The most common causes of squeaky hardwood floors include wood shrinkage around the nails, warped boards that rub against one another when you walk on them, or loose subflooring. When you’re trying to pinpoint the cause of the squeaking, you should look for loose nails, loose floorboards, loose subflooring, warped floorboards, cracked floorboards, and wood floor that’s rubbing against the subflooring.
Fix #1: Install Screws
The most common cause of squeaking hardwood floors is boards that move when you walk on them, so installing screws to hold them in place makes it so that they move less and make less sound. If you can add screws to the underside of the floor - meaning you have access to the underside of the hardwood floor - it will be a much easier process than if you don’t. In the case of being unable to access the underside, you can insert snap-off screws (found at your local hardware store) into the wood and snap off the top so that you can no longer see or step on them.
Fix #2: Fill Gaps Between Wood
If you find that the floors are squeaking due to a gap between hardwood flooring and the joist below, you can simply fill the space with adhesive. When the adhesive dries, it will result in less movement and therefore no more squeaking. At a hardware store, purchase a construction-grade adhesive that comes in a plastic tube. Apply it lengthwise between the squeaking piece of hardwood and the joist underneath it. It’s a quick process but one that will definitely help to alleviate the problem.
Fix #3: Hire a Professional
If you are unable to pinpoint the specific place or cause of the squeaking and therefore can’t effectively fix it, hiring a carpenter or flooring professional to do the job for you is your best option. It will likely end up costing you more than your DIY project but repairing the flooring is still significantly more cost-effective than replacing them.