5 Things Your Floor Says When It Squeaks

It’s the moment we’ve been waiting for since that first triple digit day – fall! That glorious time when there’s a nip in the air, we pull out the jackets, keep the coffee pot running, and use inordinate amounts of nutmeg and cloves in our treats.

As temperatures start to cool, the levels of humidity in the outside and inside environments are also shifting from balmy to dry. As soon as you turn your heater on, you’re removing even more of that precious moisture from the air. If it is not replaced, your floors will start to tell you about it in a very audible fashion.

So grab your pumpkin spice latte and let’s find out what your floors are telling you when they start squeaking.

Something is moving

The easiest fix for a squeaky floor is to stop walking on it. That isn’t realistic but it indicates the root problem with this issue is there is movement somewhere. Once you figure out where the movement is and is coming from, you will be able to quiet down your floors again. Find out why your floor is moving in this article.

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I need some attention

Squeaks are a normal part of having hardwood flooring. But when you notice that squeak, take a few moments to listen to what your floor is saying.

Start out by checking your RH levels. Gaps are also a symptom of decreased RH levels. If the problem persists for more than a season, figure out what type of movement is going on.

There are some easy fixes depending on what you’re dealing with, and if ever you need a second opinion with what your floor is trying to tell you, stop by one of our shops and we’ll be happy to help.

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The weather has changed and I’m not comfortable

If you are noticing the squeaking during the extreme points in summer or winter, then the movement is related to the environment. In the peak of winter, floors will naturally be drier – your home can be drier than the Sahara at times. 

And dry air = shrinking and gaps.

Download our Winter RH Guide to learn how to keep your floors from shrinking in the winter: Download PDF

Once the weather shifts, it will go away. The inverse is true for summer when wood swells. To keep this from being problematic, you should have a humidifier to add moisture back into the air and maintain the 35-55% RH that your floor needs to be happy.

So squeaks are a good reminder to turn on your humidifier and do any necessary maintenance to the unit. Don’t have a humidifier? Learn more about humidifiers here.

Board to Board

This happens when two boards are rubbing where they meet. This type of squeak is localized to one area or to only two boards. You will also be able to see movement with this type of squeak.

Subfloor

If you can take a step away from one squeaky area to another, your problem may be with the subfloor. These squeaks will cover a larger area than just two boards and if you were to see movement, it will be through a larger section of the floor.

There is something not right

If you have a squeak that is going on past a seasonal change, then it may be time to look into what else can be going on and call a professional. There are two different areas where these squeaks originate.

We would be happy to answer any questions you have about your floor as well. Find the nearest Master’s Craft location here.

Please fix me!

    • Screws from underneath to seat the flooring to the subfloor in problem areas.
    • Hollow spot repair: drilling a hole in the flooring and filling the void with epoxy is a possible solution: http://www.dritac.com/productsRS.php
    • Squeak No More: http://www.oberry-enterprises.com this method will allow for top screwing boards, but counter sinking the screws.
    • Squeak Ender: http://www.squeakender.com this cures the issue of voids between subfloor and flooring joists. (Shimming the voids can also help here, but might cause squeaks in other areas)
    • Lubricants: This may sound a little hokey, but talcum powder, graphite, and WD-40 are all solutions that have helped squeaking floors. This is usually somewhat temporary. One NWFA certified inspector swears by WD-40 as a solution. In these cases, the movement is causing friction between the flooring boards. When this is the case, lubricating the friction points will eliminate the sound.
Need more help? Check out our tutorial videos and learn how to silence your squeaky floors. Click here to see our full Youtube channel.

6 comments

  1. Nicola says:

    We are looking at buying a house built 22 years ago that has creaky hardwood in the hall. The floor looks looks great. Will we need to tear it up and replace? The hall leads into the kitchen which is Lino and this creaks badly, could the cause be the subfloor?

    • Caleb Unruh says:

      Hi Nicola, it is likely that the subfloor is the issue. There are a number of ways to tighten your subfloor and eliminate movement, which causes squeaks. It would be best to have a flooring professional give you a consultation to make sure you identify the source of the squeaks.

  2. Joanne says:

    We bought a house built in the 1950’s and t has hardwoods throughout. All the floors make noise! Not really a squeak, more like a crack. Almost every step sounds like a gunshot, but not as loud of course, but not squeaky. Any thoughts?

    • Caleb Unruh says:

      Hi Joanne,

      Movement is always what causes squeaks. It may be that the fasteners (nails) that hold your floor down have come loose and whenever you are stepping on the floor it is causing the loud noise you are hearing. You may want to have a flooring professional look at your floor, and figure out ways to tighten the floor. This could be done with screws from below the floor (if you have a basement). Hope this helps!

  3. Candace Tolson says:

    I’m very nervous on the entire top floor of my house. I can feel my husband when he walks on the floor in my bedroom while laying in bed. Is it possible to fall through a squeaky floor?

    • Caleb Unruh says:

      Hi Candace, I doubt anyone could fall through a squeaky floor. But, if it’s really bad you should probably get it checked out by a flooring professional. Good luck!

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