Squeaky floors are a very common problem in many homes (not just old homes). Perhaps their only saving grace is that they may deter burglars from breaking into your house at night while you are home for fear of waking you up.
Whenever you walk, a noise follows you, irking you all the time. If you have rooms in the basement or on the 1st floor, it is difficult for family or friends to stay over…if the floors are really bad.
Best Solution? Use breakaway screws in the squeaky areas to eliminate the annoying sound. In most instances, you won’t be able to use shims to prevent the wood from deflecting so experts recommend breakaway screws as the best, cheapest alternative– that gets the job done!
If you want to fix the squeaky floors from above then here are some tips to help you do it.
Solving the problem of squeaky homes is not a difficult task and you don’t need to spend a fortune by hiring a pro to fix it.
You can do it yourself. This article discusses the different methods to fix your squeaky floors (hardwood floors or plywood under carpet).
Before delving into the solutions to fix the squeaky floors, first, we need to understand what causes squeaky floors.
What causes floors to squeak and crack?
The problem of squeaky floors is generally seen in older homes. There is a finished floor in every home, the floor we can see. But there is a floor beneath the finish floor is the subflooor.
Below the subfloor, there are joists that perpendicularly run to the finish floor. They all are nailed together.
Over time, the wood leads to expansion and contraction and as it expands and contracts, some of the nails become loose.
When they become loose, there is a gap created and therefore, they squeak when you walk on them.
Sometimes, the nails squeak in and out of the board and sometimes the boards squeak against each other if they are warped.
Therefore, this is the reason causing squeaky floors. Further, the floors can crack if the floor joists, which is embedded, below the subfloor, twist or shrink.
Are squeaky floors safe?
Yes. This is the most common question that people ask. Builders and homeowners will tell you that squeaky floors are just annoying and (in most cases) are safe.
If the home is really old or has structural issues due to the walls settling then the home is now safe in general. You will have more to worry about in that situation.
But this is not the case. Squeaky floors are not a very big deal (the vast majority of the time). They do not damage your home. Having a squeaky floor is a very common annoyance in wooden flooring.
The floors squeak because of the contraction and expansion of the wood and the floors separating and moving the nail up and down. But they don’t lead to the collapse of your floors, making it safe.
Is there a squeaky floor repair kit?
There are many squeaky repair kit available in the market. However, the best squeaky repair kit to use to fix the squeaky floors involve using breakaway screws. It is the most trusted and highly recommended product to use for repairing the squeaky floors. They are a piece of cake for doing these kinds of job.
Therefore, to fix your squeaky floors, you should use breakaway screws. They are inexpensive and easy to get at Home Depot or Lowes or Amazon. Unless you have an enormous house then you won’t need to get a 50 count pack. Most floors will only require 20 or so screws for about $20-30.
Process & tool tips: How to fix squeaky floor from above?
The squeaky floor can be fixed from below, but if you do not have any space below, then you might fix it from above. This method of fixing the wood floors from above is cheaper and easier task than if you fixed it from below the floor.
Get a kit. You will need the squeaky floor repair kit and a wood filler for fixing your wood floors from above.
Identify the spots. The first step while fixing a squeaky floor from above will be to identify the exact board from where the noise can be heard.
Pre drill using guide. The kit comes with a guide that shows you how far to drill down into the floor. This makes sure you drill down far enough every single time.
Drill the screws into the hardwood. Yes it will still look good after it is finished. The next step after identification of the same is, driving the screws deep down into the joists through the finished floor and into the subfloor.
The breakaway screws are designed to snap once they reach the spacer which comes with the kit. The break will happen about a ¼-⅛” below the hardwood.
There will be a small hole that is fixed in the next step. Don’t freak out! It will look great once it is finished. The best part is what you hear…or don’t hear!
Wax wood crayon or putty to fill the crack. You will want to take a picture of your hardwood with you to the hardware store to color match the wood with the wood filler crayon or wood putty.
I have not had the best experience with wood putty which is why I’m also suggesting that you consider a crayon as well as it works better in many situations depending on the finish of your hardwood floors.
Look at it from different angles to make sure you added enough filler. Add more if necessary.
Do a quality check and walk over the areas again and all over the floor to see if there are any areas you missed. Fix where needed.
Be sure to space the screws out. You don’t want to have too many screws in a small area or it will be easy to tell where the holes are.
Even though you are using a wood filler – the color difference is not perfect so be careful with including 12 screws in a square foot.
That would be overkill. 1 per sq ft should be enough to stop the squeak.
How to fix squeaky floors under the carpet?
This is the easiest and most popular method. The first step is to walk over the carpet and identify the floor from where the squeaky noise is coming.
The area from where you find the squeaky noise is to be marked with a string so as to identify it later. The next step is to find the direction of the joists and its location under the carpet.
Again – Safety First – Go downstairs and look for any utilities in the area you plan on drilling. Watch out for electrical, cable, internet, phone, CCTV, speaker and other wires that may be running between the joists.
Also, make sure you are not drilling into your air duct since they are installed between the joists.
- Once, you have located the joist, then you have to drill through the carpet to verify the position of the joists.
- Then you need to screw down but ensure that a portion of the screw remains above the carpet. This will pull the subfloor to the joists super tightly and your floor will be fixed.
- The last step is to snap off the screw at its seam.
What problems or difficulty should be you aware of when fixing your squeaky floors on stairs?
The same principle applies to the stairs. However, in most situations, you can see underneath the stairs and see if there is any structural issues. In most cases it is the same problem as on your main floor.
Flip the drill. Instead of drilling down into the hardwood from above you can take advantage of the space under the stairs to drill upwards into the bottom of the OSB and then into the hardwood floor.
You can use the same breakaway screws or save money with using smaller drywall screws to screw up into the stairs.
Use a light so you can see what you are doing. There are often nails under the
The pros of fixing the squeaky floors fast are:
- No more irritating noise;
- Inlaws or family can sleep in downstairs bedrooms without hearing you walk above them!
- You don’t have to be worried about your safety;
- Less annoyance when people are walking above you and you hear every step they make
The cons of ignoring the issue
The cons of ignoring the issue are:
- The irritating noise follow us everywhere;
- The age of the floors is reduced;
- Your family may complain about the floors. Mine did.
To summarize, we can say that the squeaky floors are easy to fix up. You can fix it up yourself by reading this article. So, if you are a homeowner who is looking to fix your squeaky floors, then you can fix this all by yourself.
Process & tool tips: How to fix squeaky floor from BELOW?
Squeaky hardwood floors are a nuisance and can be difficult to deal with. Whether it’s your first time dealing with squeaks or you’re an old pro, there are 5 quick steps that will stop the noise immediately – from the basement. The solutions come from both professionals and homeowners who have lived through their own squeaks and found success in just one of these methods.
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