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Silencing Floor Squeaks

Materials List
Additional straps (possibly, for ducts)
Wood filler
Finishing nails
Wood shims
Miscellaneous wood
Tools List (click item to shop)
Nail set
Claw Hammer
Installing Resilient Floor Tile
Installing a Tongue & Groove Floor
Installing Ceramic Floor Tile
Refinishing Wood Floors with a Drum Sander
Easy2DIY (continued)
Refinishing Wood Floors with an Oscillating Sander
Patching Hardwood Floors

Edge Flooring
Edge Flooring Product Demonstration

IMPORTANT: Read this before you start

There's nothing more annoying than that "squeak-squeak" sound when you walk across your floor! It's enough to put a damper on your day! Have you ever avoided "that' stair because of its incessant screeching? Then this tutorial is for you.

Loose boards in your floor that are rubbing against one another as you walk over them are usually the cause squeaky floors. The culprits are most likely your floor joists, sub-floor or the finished floor. However there can be other causes of squeaks, such as pipes or heating ducts that are loose and rubbing against the joists. Squeaks can usually be eliminated by “tightening up” the loose boards, pipes or ducts.

Fixing squeaks is best accomplished from below the floor. If you can access the floor joists from your basement or crawlspace, you can use some of the following techniques to eliminate the squeak. If you have a finished basement or the squeak is on your second floor, you will need to resort to top-down fixes (see step 7).

Skill Level & Time To Complete
• Beginner - 1 to 2 hours
• Intermediate - 45 to 90 minutes
• Advanced - 30 to 60 minutes

Always wear eye protection when working with power tools and striking tools.

1. Start with a little investigative work. You need to determine exactly where the squeak is coming from before you can take action. If the ceiling below is open and accessible, have a helper walk over the squeaky area while you watch and listen from below. Look for movement or flexing in the sub-floor or joists. Pinpoint the area the squeak is coming from. If the ceiling below is not open below, have a helper walk around the squeaky area while you watch from floor level. Once you have diagnosed the problem, use the appropriate technique from the list below.
2. Loose sub-floor over a joist. If you can see a gap in between a joist and the sub-floor, use a straight edge to determine if the sub-floor is arching up or if the joist is sagging. If the sub-floor is arched up, take a wood shim, coat it with glue and tap it into the gap. Do not drive it in too tightly or you will cause other areas of the sub floor to pull away from the joist.
3. If you determine that the floor joist is sagging and the sub-floor is lying flat, take a 2 x 4 and cut it so that it extends past the sagging area by at least 10” in both directions. Use long 2 x 4’s that you can wedge from the floor up to the ceiling to push the new support piece in place. Use a screw gun and 3” screws to secure the support piece to the joist.
4. Loose sub-floor in between joists. If you determine that the squeak is coming from in between joists, the bridging in between your joists may be loose. Make sure all of your bridging is secured tightly in place.
5. If the squeak persists, you may need to add some additional bridging in the squeaky area. Cut a 2 x 6 to fit perpendicularly in between your joists. Wedge it in between the joists in the squeaky area. If the sub-floor is sagging, drive the sub-floor up with the new bridge. Using 3” screws, secure the new bridging to the joists. If the sub-floor is arched up above your new bridge, take a wood wedge coated with glue and tap it into the gap between the new bridge and the sub-floor.
6. Warped finished flooring. If you determine that the joists and sub-floor are not the culprits, your finished floor has probably warped and pulled away from the sub-floor. In the area of the squeak, drill pilot holes and use 1-1/4” screws to pull the finished floor snug against the sub-floor. Use washers to prevent the screw heads from pulling through the sub-floor.
7. Top-down remedies. If you cannot access the joists below the squeaky floor, you can probably solve the problem from the top down. First locate the squeak. Using ring-shank nails, drive them through the floor diagonally to hold down the loose flooring. If you have a hardwood floor, drill pilot holes to prevent splitting the wood. Use a nail set to sink the nail heads about 1/16” below the floor surface. Fill the nail holes with wood filler.
8. Loose pipes or ducts. If your squeak problem is caused by pipe or ducts rubbing against the joists, check to make sure all of their hangers are tight. If necessary, add additional hangers to secure the pipe or duct in the area where it is squeaking.



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