Squeaky floors can be a blessing in disguise but also a pain in the butt. Nothing feels more rewarding than the floor being a snitch for kids sneaking in past curfew, but it isn’t all that desirable when a sharp squeak alerts the entire household of an intruder heading for the fridge for some late-night snacks.
As regards how to stop floors from creaking, evening out the subfloor, leaving out an expansion gap, covering long gaps on the floor joist and adding blocks to noisy joists are a few of the methods you can use to combat creaking floors.
If your floors start creaking all of a sudden, chances are it was due to the house settling or the shrinkage of the flooring lumber, but do not worry, as this is a common occurrence in most homes.
Depending on the severity of the squeaking, you may only need to lift the floor planks and adjust them closer to cover up any gap; you can also install some shims for balance. You can find out how to stop floors from creaking, keep reading.
How to Stop Floors From Creaking
Table of Contents
- 1 How to Stop Floors From Creaking
- 2 Why Does My Laminate Floor Creak
- 3 Conclusion
1. Even Out The Subfloor
If you have an uneven subfloor, you’ll have to uninstall the floor and rectify the issue. You can request the services of a flooring professional to help assess your subfloor and rectify uneven areas. If you have laminate flooring, you should be able to uninstall and refit the boards as long as it’s of high quality.
But if there aren’t exactly top-tier quality, you should uninstall the laminate boards with utmost care. You might want to keep some adhesive handy to help refit the locking mechanism that may come off as you lift most low-quality laminate flooring planks.
2. Leave Out an Expansion Gap
Failure to leave an expansion gap leaves no room for the floor to expand, which causes it to swell over time, and the boards are pressed against each other and your walls, beading, or door frames. Such floors are sure to produce a creaky sound when you apply pressure to them.
If your floor lacks room for expansion, you need to create some. Chip away some floorboard material using a sharp chisel and hammer or a multi-tool; use the tool to create breathing room for the boards.
This is best left for a professional, and you may want to have some spare boards handy just in case things go south during the procedure.
3. Cover Long Gaps On Floor Joist With Adhesive
Lack of expansion room and wrong installation can leave your floor joist with long gaps. This can be fixed using a thin wood shim, but that is most effective at silencing an isolated squeak at a specific spot.
For a long gap running the length of a floor joist, you would have to install a whole series of shims; this is not only quite ineffective, but it also looks unsightly.
The best way to fix long gaps, cracks, and voids is by applying a thick bead of fast-set construction adhesive. Apply the adhesive directly into the space between the top of the joist and the underside of the subfloor using a caulking gun.
Fill both gapping sides of the joist with the adhesive. The creaky sound and movement of your laminate floor should be kept in check once the adhesive hardens.
4. Add Blocks to Noisy Joists
The installation of solid blocking in between floor joists is another effective way to stop floors from creaking. You can quiet squeaky floors by installing solid blocking in between the floor joists.
Cut out the blocking from the same size dimensional lumber as the joists. So you will need a solid blocking from a 2×8 if you have 2×8 floor joists.
You’ll need a couple of blocks, cut to fit snugly, but not too tightly, between the two joists. Cover the top edge of each block with a bead of construction adhesive and evenly space the blocks along the length of the joist gap; secure the block in place by sliding it up tight against the underside of the subfloor.
To further secure the blocking in place, fasten 3-inch drywall screws driven through the sides of the joists and into the ends of the blocking.
5. Secure the Subfloor to Underneath the Finished Flooring With Screws
If your wooden floorboard is in continuous contact with the underlying plywood subfloor, it could create irritating squeak sounds. This can also be caused by the underlying plywood subfloor chafing against the nails that are holding down the flooring.
To stop the squeaking caused by such movement, drive short screws up through the underside of the subfloor and into the bottom of the finished flooring.
However, this should be done with caution and use screws that are not long enough to penetrate through the top of the finished flooring. You do not want to accidentally bore a hole into your floorboard, which creates a problem much worse than a few squeaks.
6. Lubricate The Floorboards
It may be difficult to get rid of creaky sounds for spaces where you have no access to the area underneath the floorboards and subfloor. You can add a dry lubricant to the problem area if you have hardwood floors.
You can use lock lubricant, talcum powder, or powdered graphite for this and sprinkle a generous amount of the product into the joints between the floorboards. Then cover the area with a cloth and walk back and forth to work the powdery lubricant down into the cracks.
This reduces the created wood-on-wood friction between the planks and silences small squeaks. Clean up excess powder from the floor using a vacuum cleaner or damp cloth.
You can also use a dry silicone lubricant for this purpose, and you simply need to spray some between the squeaky floorboards.
Clean off any excess lubricant with a slightly dampened cotton cloth or paper towel, and your flooring should be sound-free when you walk around.
Why Does My Laminate Floor Creak
The common reason your laminate floor is making creaking sounds when walked upon is an uneven subfloor. If your laminate floor was recently installed, make needed findings to know whether the previous flooring also made squeaky sounds as well.
Persistent squeaky sounds even after changing the flooring in the room may indicate an uneven subfloor. If the squeak is a new occurrence after installing the new flooring, the floor might have been wrongly installed.
If your laminate flooring is installed in an overly humid room or exposed to leaks or a great deal of water. The floor can swell, creak, and buckle. Keeping an eye on the level of moisture your flooring is exposed to will help prevent extensive damage caused by moisture, make to fix any source of excess moisture as soon as it is spotted.
All flooring is bound to swell and contract due to temperature change; this is a completely normal occurrence, but laminate flooring experiences more swelling than other floorings like engineered or solid wood floors.
During any flooring installation, most manufacturers recommend leaving a 10mm expansion gap between floor planks and allowing the flooring, especially hardwood and laminate, to acclimatize in the room it’s going to be installed for at least 48 hours before installation.
Failure to do this can cause your laminate floor to swell, buckle and produce squeaky noises.
After discussing how to stop floors from creaking and why does my laminate floor creak extensively in this article, it rests assured that you can tacky that annoying sound that sets off a movement alarm and notifies the entire household of your late night rendezvous.
You can get it fixed and prevent future occurrences, restoring serenity to your flooring.