Does this sound familiar? When our family members are stirring we hear quite a squeak. It must be the floorboards preventing their sneak! If so you may have also wondered what can be done about those troublesome noises.
This article will attempt to provide some basic information about silencing a squeaky hardwood floor.
Why do Floors Squeak?
Squeaks are caused when boards rub up against each other or against nails. They can be repaired from either the top surface of the floor or from under the floor if the joists are exposed.
Silencing Squeaks from Floor Level
The following materials will be needed to complete this repair; drill, hammer, 1 and 1 ¼ inch rink shank or cement coated nails, nail set, wood putty, fine and medium grain sand paper, dust mask and a sanding block.
Begin by determining which board or boards are causing the noise. Once the culprit is determined, take the drill and make pilot holes at an angle into the afflicted board. Drilling the pilot holes at an angle helps to keep the floorboard from splitting during the nailing process.
After the pilot holes are set, drive ring shank or cement coated flooring nails down into the pilot holes. This should re-connect the finished floor to the sub-floor. Be sure to use the type of nails indicated as they are ridged and better hold fast to the wood than smoother varieties of nails.
Next, using a nail set, countersink the nail heads 1/8 of an inch below the floorboard’s surface. Proceed by concealing the nail heads. This is done by filling the nail holes with wood putty in a color that matches the hardwood flooring. When applying the putty be sure to overfill the nail holes slightly. Permit the putty to dry.
After the putty has dried take out a sanding block, sand paper and a dust mask. The mask should be worn to protect the lungs from the putty dust. Using the sandpaper and sanding block sand down the putty mound until it is flush with the floor. Wipe away any residual dust with a dry cloth.
Silencing Squeaks from Below Floor Level
To repair a squeak from the joist level the following items will be needed; hammer, tapered shims, construction adhesive, drill, 1 and 1 1/4 inch round head screws, and spare pieces of 2×4.
Commence the repair by standing underneath the floor watching and listening to the floor boards as someone walks over top. Pay attention to which of the boards, if any, are moving or squeaking while the person above walks on them. Note that if no movement of the floor boards is seen, the squeaking is most likely coming from above and not below the floor. In that case refer to the instructions for silencing a squeak from above.
Once the troublesome areas are determined, inspect the bridging to ensure a tight fit. If there appears to be some play in the bridging pull out any loose nails and drive new, larger nails into the bridging at an angle. Additional bridging may also be needed. If so, add new bridging by using an “x” formation.
If the squeak is coming from between the joists rather than from the bridging consider adding more bridging. To do so, toenail the solid bridge piece to the sub-floor and then end-nail it directly through the joists.
Squeaks caused by loose finish boards can be quieted by drilling pilot holes at an angle into the sub-floor. Once that is done, take out a 1 or 1 ¼ inch round head screw and accompanying washer. Drive the screw up through the sub-floor and into the finished floor.
If a loose sub-floor is the reason for the squeak you will need to insert a tapered shim in between the joist and sub-floor. To do this, dip the tip of the shim into the construction adhesive and then use a hammer to gently tap the shim in where it is needed until a tight fit is achieved.
If there are several boards that are loose they can be tightened up by employing spare pieces of 2×4. To silence the squeaks with the 2×4, take the 2×4 and force it up against the sub-floor in the affected area. Once the 2×4 is securely in place, fasten it down permanently by nailing it into the joists.
The above instructions are designed for informational purposes only and are not to be construed as a substitute for the advice and assistance of an accredited contractor.
Those who desire to learn more about repairing flooring problems should consult with their local home improvement specialist.
A successful floor repair is not expressed or implied herein. All home improvements are performed at one’s own risk.