All types of flooring can start to squeak over time, but a traditional hardwood floor is the most common culprit. Typically, it occurs after some of the moisture has evaporated from the wood planks. That leads to the wood planks rubbing against each other or the wood rubbing against the screws. Squeaky wood can drive you crazy if you don’t take care of it. Here’s what to do.
Wood squeaks because it is moving around and rubbing against another plank or against the screws. To quiet the squeaks temporarily, you need to either make them stop moving or make the movement more fluid. You must first locate the board that is squeaking. You can oftentimes quiet down the squeaking with a quick burst or spray lubricant. An all-purpose spray oil will likely quiet down the squeaking. However, it will only quiet it down for a few hours or day. Also, it will make the plank move more easily. So the squeaking might come back even louder. If the wood planks have shrunk enough that you can actually see them moving, you can likely wedge a shim between the planks to stop them from moving. Shims are often found in the woodworking section of the hardware store. They’re thin strips of wood used in carpentry. Thesen are temporary fixes. If you need something more permanent, you need to go back to the hardware store.
There are several products that can be used to stop a wood floor from squeaking. If the problem is with the subfloor, you’ll likely need to repair it from below. That’s also the easiest way to make a completely indiscreet fix. A hold-down bracket is drilled into the subfloor. The bracket is then attached to a support joist. That will hold down the subfloor to stop it from moving. If you want to fix it from above, you will basically do the same thing. You’ll drill a tiny pilot hole into your wood floor. Then, you’ll use a specially designed screw to bolt the wood to the subfloor and hold it down. Some products require that you locate a joist and drill the plank into the joist.
Typically, a squeak is not a sign that something else is seriously wrong. However, a squeak can show where the floor is not completely flush with the subfloor. That can be a point of vulnerability for moisture to get under your floorboards.