How to Fix Squeaky Hardwood Floors

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how to fix squeaky hardwood floors

Hardwood floors are a beautiful and desirable feature for any home.

However, they can be noisy, so fixing a squeaky hardwood floor might be a number one priority. 

That’s why we have put together a guide to fixing squeaky hardwood floors. 

Some of the solutions are incredibly simple and others are more labor intensive. We suggest working your way up to see which ones fix your problem before moving on to the more complex solutions. 

Fixing Squeaky Hardwood Floors: Basic Idea

While there is a lot to know about each of these processes, here are a few things you can try. 

Some of the ways to fix squeaky hardwood floors include: 

  • Sprinkle talcum powder between the cracks of the flooring slats 
  • Spray WD-40 between the joists and the floor boards 
  • Put a shim between the flooring and the joists 
  • Secure a 2×4 between the two joists where the squeak is coming from

Why Do Hardwood Floors Squeak?

why do hardwood floors squeak

Before you can permanently fix a squeaky hardwood floor, you will need to understand why they make noise. Having this knowledge will help you determine why your specific flooring is noisy and how to go about fixing it. 

The main reason hardwood floors squeak is that they are moving around when you walk on them. This causes friction between the wood and results in a squeaking or groaning as they rub against each other. 

Hardwood floor slats sit on top of joists that suspend your flooring above the ground on the foundation. When the slats are not secured to the joists, they move and rub together, causing a squeaking sound. 

Flooring can also start squeaking because it has simply started to warp from age. This can cause it to sit improperly on the joist or become less secure than it used to be. 

In order to eliminate the squeak, you will have to either stop the floor from moving or provide a cushion. Luckily, there are several ways to do this and they are all fairly simple. 

Use Talcum Powder

One of the easiest ways to fix a squeaky hardwood floor is to use talcum powder to cushion it. 

Load a small squeeze bottle with talcum powder and locate where your floor is squeaking. From there, squeeze some of the talcum powder into the crack between the flooring slats and the joists. 

The talcum powder will act as a cushion between the two pieces of wood. This will help relieve some of the stress between them when you are walking on them. 

While this can be a very easy fix, it may not be the most permanent one. If your flooring is very old or warped, you are going to have to try some other, more heavy-duty solutions. 

Spray WD-40 Into the Cracks

spray wd 40

WD-40 can act as a lubricant in the same way that talcum powder can act as a cushion. It is an inexpensive and effective way to eliminate the squeak in your hardwood flooring. 

Walk around your hardwood floor and listen for the spots that make noise. Try to locate where the noise is coming from. 

Once you have identified the areas, you can spray a small amount of WD-40 between the slats and the joists. Use the small red tube that comes with the can to get an accurate spray. 

You can also spray a small amount on top of the finishing nails that hold the slats in place. The WD-40 will lubricate the areas between the metal and wood, relieving some of the friction.

Shim the Flooring  

The best way to fix squeaky hardwood floors is to eliminate the movement altogether. This is not only the most effective technique, but the most permanent as well. 

Walk around your hardwood floor listening for squeaks and looking for any places where the slats are moving. This movement is what is causing the squeaking in the first place. 

Once you have found spots where the slats are moving, insert a thin sliver of wood between the cracks. This sliver of wood is called a shim. 

Move the shim until you completely eliminate the squeaking sound and the slats no longer move. Then, you can glue the shim in place. 

Secure the Joists With 2×4

If you are able to get underneath your subfloor, this is the most permanent way to fix squeaky hardwood floors. 

Using the same techniques above, find where the floor is squeaking. Then, locate that same spot underneath the subfloor, where the joists are located. 

Measure a piece of 2×4 to fit between the two joists that the squeak is coming from. Leave it slightly larger than it needs to be. 

Then, tap the piece of 2×4 gently into place with a rubber mallet or hammer and secure it with screws. This will keep the joists from moving side-to-side when you walk on them and eliminate the friction. 

FAQ

faq squeaky hardwood floor

  • Should I worry about squeaky floors?

Squeaky floors are usually not a structural issue. They can be irritating and may be a sign that they are warping, but there is no danger to a squeaky floor. 

Squeaky floors usually just mean that they are old and need a little bit of maintenance. 

  • Why do floors creak when no one is on them?

Hardwood floors are always expanding and contracting. 

This is especially true when the weather changes and the air gets dry or humid. Floors creaking with no one on them is just a sign that they are changing with the weather. 

  • Should brand new wood floors creak?

Brand new wood floors are going to need some time to settle after they are installed. This will usually result in some squeaking as the slats and joists settle into each other. 

Brand new wood floors should stop squeaking within a few weeks of their installation. 

Conclusion

Knowing how to fix squeaky hardwood floors is a great way to make your home more comfortable. By taking the above steps, you can enjoy years of silent hardwood flooring. 

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AUTHOR

Michael J. O’Connor is a writer and marketing specialist from the Bay Area of California. A graduate of Sonoma State’s Creative Writing program, he spent many years as a contractor and carpet layer, learning the ins and outs of flooring and general contracting. When he’s not typing away at his desk, he enjoys hiking with his dogs, woodworking and collecting rare books. See full biography here.

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