If you’ve lived in a place for long enough, you get to know it like the back of your hand.
Figuring out how to fix floor squeaks isn’t all that complicated if you can get your hands on a hammer, glue, talc, some nails, and maybe a 1×4 lumber.
You know just how much pressure you need to turn the doorknobs, and your eye never misses that window panel that’s not quite straight. But most importantly, you know exactly which floorboard squeaks.
Some people might tiptoe to save their ears from the annoying creak. Meanwhile, DIY fanatics get to the root of the issue.
Let’s get down to business!
How to Fix Floor Squeaks in your bathroom or kitchen
Fixing creaky floors in your bathroom or kitchen is all about estimating the damage and finding the right solution. Depending on the accessibility and underlying causes, there are multiple ways that you can go at it.
Here are a few of the most common fixes:
Shim the Gaps Shut
Whether it’s due to shrinkage or a bad installation job, sometimes there’s a little gap between wood boards and the subfloor. As a result, the boards shift and bend every time you step on them.
If the floor in question is right on top of a basement with an unfinished ceiling, you’re in luck.
All you need to do is get a ladder downstairs and hoist it under the creaky spot. Then get a thin piece of wood and shim it between the joists and subfloor.
As an extra precautionary measure, you can glue up the wood shim before hammering it. This will give you a little more stability over time.
Glue Loose Boards
If you feel like the culprit is an entire loose board, you can take it off, slap it with white carpenters’ glue, and lay it back down. Don’t forget to leave something flat and heavy on top of the board overnight to let the glue harden completely.
This works if you can’t get to the subfloor or if the creaking isn’t localizing to a single gap.
Just be careful when you glue down a laminate board. It could be quite tricky to take it out again without snapping or splitting.
You might also want to crack a window open and wash your hands thoroughly when you’re done. After all, many components in household glue can be toxic.
Cleat the Subfloor
Taking the little wood shim one step up, you can use solid 1×4 or 2×4 lumber to cleat the space between two creaking joists. It’ll support the subfloor and keep the joists from shifting from one side to the other.
However, you still need to have access to the bare unfinished underside of the floor to do this.
Before you start, make sure to cut the cleat only slightly smaller than the space between the two shifting joists. You want it to fit snuggly to give you as much stabilization as possible.
When you’re happy with the cleat placement, use 2-inch drywall nails to hold the bridging lumber firmly in place.
Lubricate the Floorboards
Sometimes, the gaps in your flooring layers aren’t big enough to be shimmed, glued, or cleated. Yet, they still cause just enough friction to cause the boards to squeak. Lubricating the top layer can be a quick fix for that.
It’s not very stable in the long term, but it might give you a few weeks of creak-free floors.
Sprinkle a dry lubricating powder, like talcum, generously over your squeaky boards and top it with an old rag.
It’s better if you don’t care all that much about the rag because you’ll be walking over it for a while till the powder settles in all the tiny nooks and crannies.
Drive a Nail Through the Finished Floor
Driving a ring-shank into your floorboards sounds like a bad idea, but it might stabilize the little give and take. Just make sure to drill little pilot holes first. Otherwise, the entire board could split along its grain when you nail it.
For extra stability, use a stud sensor (or use these alternatives if you don’t have one) to drive the nail at an angle into the nearest joist.
This is usually a handy fix if the squeaking is very localized and you don’t mind risking the aesthetic of the floorboard.
You can use putty to cover up the nail spot, but the texture might never even out completely. That’s why this shouldn’t be your first option.
Chisel Away a Part of the Board
Both laminated and wood flooring tends to expand to a certain extent with excessive heat, humidity, or even large liquid spills. You can tell that this is the case if the boards fell a bit tight and swollen upwards.
As a result, the swollen boards end up with more friction and creaking.
To fix this issue, you need to refit the boards and make room for this expansion. You can either get it professionally done or use a sharp chisel.
If you’re a bit wary about chiseling down your expensive flooring, you might want to start by sanding it down bit by bit.
Know When to Call the Big-Guns
While we might not want to hear it, some jobs are better left for the professionals, especially if there’s extensive damage to your flooring.
For instance, if the entire subfloor is uneven because of a dodgy installation, it could require more than just a simple DIY project.
Keep in mind that sometimes the squeaking floor is only a symptom of underlying problems like water damage. Going for superficial fixes, in this case, will do more harm than good.
That’s why it’s important to know when to take a step back and let the professionals handle it.
As it turns out, you don’t have to master the art of sneaky footsteps to be able to get a cup of water in the night without waking everyone up.
From lubrication to cleating, there are a lot of ways to deal with a creaky board.
Knowing how to fix floor squeaks is all about figuring out the cause and dealing with the problem with the least invasive method possible.
Do you also have some broken floor tiles? We have discussed how to fix floor tiles here.