Millions of homeowners prefer hardwood floors, thanks to their endless beauty and excellent durability. Yet, there are chances of squeaky floors that may occur. It is a pity because hardwood floors have become the main option for those who want a natural and aesthetic look in a room.
Are squeaky floors a structural problem? The answer is no. There is no need to worry because there is a solution to this problem. Homeowners should find out the cause to solve the problem.
Repairing squeaky floors may cost too much when it is left untreated. There are some home remedy choices when the damage is not too severe. Home kits can be helpful when homeowners are experienced in home improvement.
A creak or squeak isn’t a big deal meaning they don’t signal structural damage like termites that could collapse your floor or joist.
It is important to notice that fixing squeaky floors is easier when homeowners have access to the underneath.
Why Do Wood Floors Creak?
Wood flooring may squeak due to several reasons. First, it can be due to weather changes or gaps in the planks. Floor shifting can also be the cause of squeaky wood flooring. Of course, there are solutions to this problem.
Keep in mind that not all squeaky wood flooring reveals signs of a problem in its structure. But of course, it needs repair. Many wood floors are made to shift and move due to the changes in climate and moisture within a house.
Humidity is one of the main causes of squeaky flooring. In winter, combining the cold weather and the heat temperature from the central heating unit can dry a house. The dryness may shrink the wood.
The humidity will rise when the weather warms up. Then, the floorboards will begin to increase again. This development can make the connection of the floorboard to the joists loosen.
It lets the boards expand more than they should. There are many common causes of squeaky floors, but the most common cause is loose floorboards.
This factor occurs more likely when there are merely squeaks in some parts of wood flooring instead of the whole floor.
When the floorboard was too short when it was cut, then it didn’t reach the joist below when the floor was laid. It means the board doesn’t have any underneath support.
It can move more freely and rub against another floorboard, which causes the squeak. It is important to pay attention to joists. All joists should be equal so that it supports all kinds of floorboards.
When one or more of the joists is positioned lower than others, the floorboard is hard to be nailed securely.
An uneven floor timber is another cause of squeaky flooring. Timbers won’t fit together tightly when they aren’t cut into similar squared-off shapes. It is harder to fit when the floor timber isn’t fit.
The result is that the timbers have more room to move. Then, they will begin to rub against one another.
Other Causes of Squeaky Floors
When timbers are damp during Installation, they can be saturated and swollen up. This is especially on countries with lots of rain. Installing timbers during the rainy season can cause the floorboards to dry.
Dried floorboards will shrink in which the gaps between them will turn bigger. Uneven timbers will rub and begin squeaking.
The same thing applies when the floorboards are not nailed down properly. It causes the movement of floorboards to be too much in they can rub against another floorboard and screw as they move.
It is not possible to say in general terms why a wooden floor squeaks; there can be various reasons, such as:
- floorboards rubbing against each other
- floorboards rubbing on the substructure
- rubbing nails in the wood
- insufficient edge joints in a parquet floor
- The floor rubs against a heating pipe
- too long door frame
How To Fix Squeaky Wooden Floors
Yet, when you experience such an annoying problem, there are several recommended steps to fix them. First, you can fill in each gap. Try using carpenters glue to seal each gap on your wooden flooring. It can reduce any problems that relate to squeaky problems.
Another recommended repair is driving nails in from above at 45-degree angles into the floor joists. It can lock the flooring right in place to reduce the squeaking problem. All in all, you should prepare some equipment like nails, glue, or lubricant.
Try checking your plumbing as well. Leaks in the plumbing system can cause squeaky flooring. Sometimes, a leaking sink trap can cause squeaky flooring. Besides, your sink needs regular checkups.
Most of the time, water pipes run beneath the floor during the installation process in which builders should ensure that the floorboards don’t press on the pipes.
However, it requires a professional when you think your squeaky floors are getting worse. It is recommended that you don’t fix it yourself when you consider that there is serious damage.
So, calling a reputable contractor is the best idea because you won’t spend too much time and extra money to reinstall your wooden flooring.
Solution for a floating floor
When a floating floor squeaks, it could be due to an installation error. The edge joints are frequently left too small, and because wood moves, it does not have enough room to expand. In this case, you must shorten the areas that are too long. To do this, proceed as follows:
- first, remove the baseboards, if any
- check exactly where the parquet or laminate is too long
- saw off the piece in question with an oscillating vibratory saw
- reattach the baseboards
Solution for a screwed floor
Fasteners that have become loose over time are among the most common causes of squeaking and creaking floorboards. It’s also possible that they’ve become rusted, causing play.
Rusted nails and screws must be removed, and new nails should be hammered in at an angle.
Special floorboard screws, on the other hand, are best suited because they are so thin and have such small heads they can easily sink into the floorboard.
When removing old screws and nails, pay attention to their diameter and replace them with slightly larger screws. A few simple steps frequently solve the problem with a screwed or nailed floor.
For example, a single nail or screw can fix a cracked plank causing the squeaking.
Screws, in particular, have proven their worth because you can control the pressure the screw exerts on the wood. Use two screws per damaged area, however.
Another solution to fix a creaking floor
If the floorboards are not nailed or screwed but rather interlocking tongue and groove, a weak connection may cause the creaking.
When you apply warm linseed oil to the affected areas, the wood swells, and the connection between the planks stabilizes.
You also can use liquid wax to fix squeaky laminate floors, but If the above suggestions do not work, the floor must be rebuilt. First, the old floorboards must be removed.
Then, for example, you can use gypsum fiber boards or another insulating material to prevent the floorboards from resting directly on the wooden beams.
In the worst case: impact sound insulation required
Impact sound insulation is now standard practice when installing a wooden floor.
However, this was not always the case, so the floor in an old building could have been laid directly on top of the screed.
This may cause squeaking; remove the floor covering and install footfall sound insulation.
Do squeaky floors need to be replaced?
The first squeaking and creaking may still seem comfortable, but the noise becomes increasingly annoying.
Especially when no footstep goes unnoticed at night and disturbs the night sleep of others, it is time to replace creaking floorboards or squeaky steps. This can often be done without replacing the entire floor or staircase.
The easiest way to replace creaking floorboards is to use click laminate and click vinyl. Although these must be removed at least up to the squeaky spot, they can be reinstalled afterward without incurring material costs.
It is best to mark the individual planks that have been removed and lay them again in such a way that they were moved.
If it creaks under carpeting or linoleum floors, these must be replaced, as the subfloor is probably generating the squeaking.
Especially in old buildings, the old floors were often left unchanged and covered with new floors such as carpet, linoleum, or laminate.
Is there an alternative to the wooden floor that doesn’t creak?
If you do not want to reinstall the parquet floor but instead want a completely different floor, then vinyl flooring is an alternative. This is available in parquet finish to keep your desired design. Vinyl flooring is made of plastic, is soft, robust, and very easy to care for.
You don’t have to use special cleaning products like with parquet, and you don’t have to worry about scratches. The cost is much lower; if you want a different pattern after a while, that’s a quick fix.
Another option is laminate, which looks like wood but is made of melamine resin. Here, too, the costs are lower, and many patterns are available. Laying is easy, and maintenance is possible with floor cleaning products.
There is usually already a layer of insulation in the laminate, so the noise when walking is quieter. Thus, there are some good alternatives to wooden floors to avoid future creaking.
Who to hire to fix squeaky floors?
Real solutions are only available from professionals, so if the plank clutter persists despite all efforts, more complex solutions, such as an additional structure beneath the floor covering, are required.
It is also recommended to consider an impact noise underlay, compensating for unevenness in the floor and silencing the annoying noises because it can prevent the floorboards from springing too much and creaking.
Other modernization measures, such as installing underfloor heating, are also possible if the floor is exposed. As a result, it is prudent to seek the advice of an expert.
Because otherwise, secondary damage can occur quickly, which is far more dangerous than squeaking and creaking floorboards.
Squeaks are most common on hardwood floors. This is due to changes in humidity, nail and screw loosening, and other factors.
Subfloors can shrink or expand as a result of extreme weather conditions. This results in squeaky floors. To repair a squeaky floor, follow the DIY steps outlined above.
This article about squeaky floors as a structural issue was written to explain how to deal with squeaky floors and to provide you with preventive measures and solutions to squeaky floors.