How to Fix Squeaky Floors in old Houses

How to Fix Squeaky Floors

Article Summary: Squeaky Floors in old houses can be difficult to fix. This article looks at various types of flooring surfaces and suggests some possible ways to fix squeaky floors of all those annoying squeaks and creaks. Good luck!
It really depends on what type of floor you have as to what your course of action should be. Let’s take a look at some different types of flooring and then make some suggestions to try to fix those annoying creaks and squeaks. 
So you’ve bought a house and it’s only now that you’ve discovered that it has the dreaded creaky floorboard syndrome? Don’t worry you’re not alone. Following on from my other article about how to fix squeaky floors in new houses this article looks at what can be done about existing floors in old established houses.

Exposed Old Wooden Flooring

If you have a really old floor, first take a look at the overall condition of it. Is it suffering from any form of rot or beetle infestation? If it is, then you should remove the board(s) in question and take a closer look at the sub floor timber, i.e., the joists. If there are obvious signs of decay, you should call in an expert for a closer look. There is little point in fixing the squeaky floor boards if underneath the joists are falling apart. This may seem like stating the obvious but trust me, I’ve seen it done many times before.

If the floorboards are in good condition, first track down the cause of the squeaky floor and if you come across a loose nail try to remove it first. If you can’t don’t worry, just hammer it home using a nail punch so that you don’t damage the floor surface. This won’t fix the problem however, so read on…

Old floors are unlikely to be of the tongue and groove variety so if at all possible remove the offending floorboard carefully. Where it sits on top of a joist, try using a fixing glue like no-nails to assist with the holding process. Replace the floorboard and then nail using a slightly thicker nail than was previously used. This will allow the timber to grip the nail and will hold the board down while the no nails sets. These new types of fixings are great for this type of job. They really do work and can actually work without nails if needs be.

Exposed New Wooden Flooring

If you’ve just bought a new house and have discovered it has squeaky floors, the bad news is that you are probably not covered by any building warranty. As long as the builder has complied with building regulations, you don’t really have a claim. You can of course try taking to them, I know I would always listen to any reasonable request from a client, after all a happy customer is a good reference!

What makes newer squeaky floors more difficult to fix is that they are nearly always tongue and groove, which makes removing them almost impossible without some kind of damage. That is why it is so important that floorboards are laid correctly in the first place. If at all possible, try to get underneath the offending board. There should be some gap under the joists and an entrance under. Tap in a wooden wedge to gently prize apart the floorboard from the joist then insert some no nails and remove the wedge. When the no nails sets, the squeak should be gone.

Look out for pipes and other articles that have been attached to floor joists. Squeaks and creaks can be difficult to track down at the best of times without missing the obvious.

Wood Floors under Carpet

The remedy here will depend on how much your carpet is worth. An effective remedy is easily carried out with the carpet in situ, but you will cause a small, but invisible amount of damage to the carpet. First, track down the offending squeak, then cut a small slit in the carpet, making sure that you do not cut any of the pile. Through the slit first drill a small pilot hole that is slightly smaller than a nail and either drive a nail, or even better, a wood screw through the board and into the joist. A screw is always the better choice. Once it is in it definitely won’t ever come out unless it rusts away because of some other problem associated with damp.

Other Flooring Surfaces

Anything that is permanently fixed to the floor, like tile or some form of sheeting material will be very difficult to tackle unless you can get underneath the floor. With tile, first check whether the jointing (grout) between the tiles lies over a joist. If it does you may be in luck. Dig out the grout, and then drill a small pilot hole through the top board. Using a screw with a head that fits into the gap between the tiles, screw the board down to the joist. Replace the grout and you will have a reasonably invisible fix. If the gap between the tiles is small, use a grinding drill (not an ordinary drill), to make a hole big enough to accept the head of the screw. Recess the screw as far down as you can, and then regrout. You will see the repair, but most people won’t unless you point it out to them.

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