How to Fix a Squeaky Floor - Squeaky Floor Repair Guide
A squeaky floor is the one noise makes every homeowner cringe. There’s nothing worse than walking across your beautiful wood floors and stepping on a spot that emits a squeak that seems to echo across the whole house. Unfortunately, squeaky floors aren’t like squeaking door hinges; they can’t be remedied with a little elbow grease and a rag (although some desperate homeowners have resorted to using motor oil to quiet their floors in a pinch...don’t do this). However, squeaky floors can be fixed and the repair process can be inexpensive and easy enough to do yourself. Here is a guide to repairing your squeaky floors so you can once again walk through your home with confidence!
What causes squeaky floors?
Before we get into squeaky floor repair, let's talk about what causes squeaky floors. The reason your floor is making noise, quite simply, is because something is moving. Your floor should be secured snuggly to your subfloor, but with hot and cold temperatures, moist and dry weather, some flooring, especially wood, can shrink or expand, causing things to loosen up. This can also occur with simple wear and tear. Each step you take on your floor puts pressure on it, causing it to compress and release. Over time, this can loosen the nails and joints that are holding your floor securely in place.
Other times a squeaky floor may be an issue that differs from a loose board or a missing nail. Sometimes a problematic subfloor can be the problem, or even the issue of two boards rubbing together, causing an audible irritation.
How do I fix a squeaky upstairs floor?
Squeaky floor repair can be done in a variety of ways; all of which depend on the cause of your floor’s audible complaints. Many homeowners don’t have access to their subfloors, especially if their squeaky floors are on an upstairs floor. To remedy a squeaky upstairs floor, try some lubricant to reduce the friction. Now, don’t run and pour some cooking oil or motor oil on your floors just yet! Squeaky floors require a dry lubricant that will last longer, rather than the likes of motor oil, which can do damage to your floors in the long run. The best fix to squeaky floors, especially when you don’t have access to the bottom of the subfloor is a little powdered soapstone, talcum powder, or powdered graphite. Simply pour the dry lubricant of your choice into the cracks of the floor, place a rag over the powder, and repeatedly step on the rag to work the lubricant into the crevices of the floor. When the squeak has quieted, simply vacuum the excess powder up! This is a fast and easy remedy that takes just minutes and costs just a few dollars.
How much does it cost to fix a squeaky upstairs floor?
Squeaky floor repair can range greatly in cost generally anywhere from $10 to $1,000 depending on the severity. Factors that come into play include things like the area of the floor that squeaks, whether it’s one board or many boards, and whether or not the issue can be remedied with a little dry lube, or if the subfloor needs some work.
DIY Squeaky Floor Repair- Access to Subfloor
If you have access to your subfloor, and are a little handy here are some fast, cost-effective ways to end stop your squeaky floor in its tracks:
Fill the Gap
If you find that the culprit to your squeak is a gap between your floor and a joist, wedge a shim in between the joist and your wood floor, or fill the void with construction glue to eliminate the space that is causing the floor to creak.
If you find that your joist is warped or makes noise when it bears weight, don’t opt to replace it just yet. Replacing a warped or noisy joist can be quite costly. Instead, try adding support by drilling a support piece of wood to the warped portion of the joist, creating a flat surface for your floor to evenly distribute weight when the area is stepped on. If you’ve found that your entire joist is noisy, wedge 2” by 8” blocks between the joists, adding tension and support so that they may support your floor quietly.
Quick tip: Did you know that improperly cleaning your floors can cause them to squeak? Follow our easy floor cleaning guide to make sure dirty floors aren’t the root of your squeak! Is a squeaky floor just one of the many small things to fix on your list to fix around the house? No worries! Take a look at our guide to repairing concrete cracks in just 4 easy steps!
At the end of the day, even high-quality new homes occasionally squeak and groan when they start to settle but a squeaky floor isn’t something you have to “live with”. Repairing your squeaky floor doesn’t require the work of a professional but can instead be done by you for a fraction of the cost!
Contributed to Your Home blog by Joshlin Grayson
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