Dealing with squeaky floors: a practical how to

July 13, 2015

The best floors look good and are squeak-free. If your floors are squeaky, there are several possible causes and some are fixed more easily than others. Here are a few helpful tips.

  1. If a board is squeaking because it's worked loose from the joist below, try driving the nails a little deeper with a nail punch to silence the squeak. Place your nail punch carefully so it doesn't skid off the nail and scar the board when you strike it.
  2. Simply tap a wooden shim or wedge between the joist and the floorboard in the vicinity of the squeak, if the movement of the flooring against a joist is causing your floor to squeak. Don't force your shim or wedge in too far, though, or you'll cause more problems than you solve. Dabbing a little construction adhesive on the shim before inserting it will help it stay in place.
  3. The best fix for a squeaky floor is to eliminate the most common culprit: the rubbing of wood against wood. If that's not possible, try lubricating the squeak. Any number of lubricants have been known to work, including talcum powder, chalk dust, furniture wax, lubricant spray, graphite and liquid soap. Sometimes linseed oil or teak oil dribbled into the cracks between floorboards will expand the wood enough to tighten your flooring.
  4. Some squeaks are caused when neighbouring floorboards rub together. One way to stop this is to screw a timber batten to the underside of the boards. Use a 5 by 5 centimetre (2 by 2 inch) batten and coat it with a generous layer of construction adhesive before screwing it on.

Sometimes, though, there's more to solving a squeaky floor than just a small fix. You might have to replace some squeaky floor boards. To help you with this job, here's a practical how to.

Dealing with squeaky floors: a practical how to

What you will need

  • Electric drill
  • Wood chisels
  • Claw hammer
  • Circular saw
  • Pry bar
  • Nails
  • Nail punch

Before you begin

  • Take a piece of your old flooring to a recycling yard or lumber supplier and select replacement boards with a similar colour and grain.
  • Also identify the finish since you'll need to use the same product to make your repair look seamless.

1. Cut your new joints

  • It's preferable to replace an entire board, but if that's not possible take out a section long enough to cross three joists.
  • Draw a line for each cut, then drill a series of overlapping holes just inside the line at either end.
  • Complete the cut using a sharp chisel to trim the full edge of your butt joint.

Chisel out the old board

  • Use a circular saw to make two parallel cuts 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) from each side.
  • Use extreme care when performing this operation: lower the blade slowly and don't position any body part in front of or behind the blade.
  • Lift out the centre, use a hammer to remove nails, then use a pry bar to extract the tongue and groove parts of the board.

Ease in the new board

  • The trick to fitting the new board is to chisel off the lower lip on the board's groove side.
  • With the lower lip gone, it's a simple matter of easing the tongue of the new board into the groove of the neighbouring board, then tapping the board into place and nailing it.

Follow this practical how to (and those helpful tips) to solve your squeaky floor problems with ease.

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