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>Home >Basement construction >How to fix squeaky floors

How to fix squeaky floors

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How to fix floor squeaks

Squeaky floors and squeaky floor boards can be a real annoyance for any homeowner. Unfortunately, just about every home has them- even brand new homes. And they're guaranteed to get worse over time. There are several products on the market promise to remedy this problem, but here's a method that's easier- and cheaper than most of those options.

nails missing joistsWhat causes floor squeaks?

Most floor squeaks are caused by the nails that hold the floorboards in place. The problem is that over time, the wood shrinks and expands causing the hole the nail has made to shrink and expand along with it. Eventually the nail no longer fits as 'tightly' as it once did. As you walk across the floor, the squeaks you hear are actually made as the wooden floor boards slide up and down on the nails. In some cases, the builder may miss the joists completely! This causes the nail to squeak as it rubs up and down on the edge of the joist.

Using wood screws to stop squeaks

Fixing squeaky floors from above

fix squeaky floors after removing carpetingThe best time to fix floor squeaks is when you get new carpeting or other flooring. You'll be stripping the room down to the floorboards (or subfloor if you're replacing tile). This is the time it is easiest- and most effective. You can tell exactly where the squeaks are coming from, and the room is empty of all furniture which will make your work much easier. (Of course, you can't use this method to repair squeaky hardwood floors. To do that, see "fixing squeaky floors from below" at the bottom of this page.)

If you're not replacing carpeting you have two options:

1. Carefully pull back the carpet & pad from the room at a time. The downside of this is that unless you have a way to stretch the carpet back into place, you may end up with gaps along the baseboard. Also, if you have cheap padding under your carpet, it may not pull up easily (without shredding).

2. Buy a kit that such as the O'Berry Squeak No More Kit that includes everything you need (screws, drill guide, etc.) to repair the floor through the existing carpeting.

What you need to fix squeaky floors

  • 1 " or 2" wood screws (depending on the room, plan on about 50 screws per room)
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • Yardstick
  • Stud finder (optional)

Fixing squeaky floors

Here's a simple way to fix squeaky floors when you replace your carpeting:

  • After you remove the old carpeting, take a walk around the room and listen carefully for squeaks.
  • Make an "X" or a circle on the area of the floor that is squeaking. After you've identified all the squeaks, it's time to fix the floor.
  • To fix the floors, you'll need to add wood screws to the area of the floor that is squeaking. This will prevent the floor boards from moving up and down on the nails as you walk.
  • To fix the squeaks, you'll need to identify the direction of the joists. Look for rows of nails along the floor. If your house is like mine, you'll also see them marked after the builder identified their location in order to put in the original floor. You may find it easier to use a stud finder to locate the joists.
  • After locating the nails holding the floorboards to the joists, add additional screws along the same line as the squeaks you've identified and marked during your walk-around. Use 2-3 screws a few inches apart in each location.

Voila! Your squeaky floors are no more!

Fixing squeaky floors from below

The "Squeak Ender" from O'berry EnterprisesIf your squeaky floors are on the first floor, and if you have an unfinished basement (or a drop ceiling that allows you easy access to the floor above), or if your house is built on a crawlspace, you may be able to fix the floor squeaks from below.

A product called "Squeak-Ender" from O'berry Enterprises is a simple, inexpensive solution to fix squeaky floors from below. The Squeak-Ender works by pulling the subfloor securely to the joist.

The device consists of two parts. The first part includes the hanger bolt and is fastened to the underside of the subfloor against the joist using four screws. The second part is a bracket that slips over the joist and the hanger bolt. To repair the squeak, you install the washer and tighten the nut with a wrench. Tighten until the squeaking stops- being careful not to overtighten.

There's no need to live with annoying floor squeaks. Use one of the methods above depending on your circumstances, and begin leading a quieter 'squeak-free' life today!


Construction Topics

Tools you'll need

The 3-4-5 rule

How to frame a wall

How to attach walls

How to install insulation

Drywall estimating

How to hang drywall: Step-by-step

How to cut drywall

How to cut around outlets and openings

Drywall installation tips

How to frame a door

How to trim a door to fit

How to finish a door

How to frame around poles

How to finish drywall

How to sand drywall

Tips for buying, finishing, & installing baseboard molding

How to fix squeaky floors

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