Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Although the subject for many a cartoon and comedy sit-com, a squeaky floorboard is far from amusing when it happens just as you are trying to get a tired baby (or yourself!) off to bed. Whilst squeaks are an inevitable part of owning a hardwood floor, you don’t have to put up with them. There are ways to get rid of squeaks and creaks without too much hassle and just a little carpentry intelligence.

Squeaks are usually caused by loose boards moving together or against the subflooring. However, if you can feel a loose board with your feet then this is a more serious flaw that needs requires immediate action. That being said a large percentage of squeaks are not caused by something major and can be fixed with a simple readjustment of the boards or risers, if the squeak is on stairs.

Even though your squeak may not denote anything serious be assured it will not go away on its own so the sooner you get rid of the squeak the sooner you can enjoy peace and quiet again.

Squeak on the floor

Once the source of the squeak has been discovered, it is prudent to take time to carefully plan the best method of elimination. It may be that the simple solution of lubrication is sufficient to quell that pesky squeak. Should this be the case then simple talc powder or a powdered form of graphite are the best squeak eliminators. Simply sprinkle the powder over the squeaky board and walk it into the wood. However be aware that this will not be a long-term fix, but it does work well in the interim while you are pondering on a permanent solution.

Squeaking boards can also be caused by loose or missing nails, which can be easily fixed by removal or replacement. Other causes of squeaks include the collapse of subflooring support and in this case you may want to add bridging blocks. If you are able to get into the subfloor you will find locating squeaks much easier. Sagging boards are easier to reach via the subfloor too.

If it is not possible to get to the subfloor then you can work from the top by way of cutting or drilling a hole in the board before inserting nails. This method is called countersinking and can be used with the correct carpentry tools and a bit of common sense. If you feel unsure about attacking your hardwood in this way then try using carpentry adhesive applied with a putty knife instead.

Squeak on the stairs

Squeaky stairs can be eliminated by working from the top of the stair or from underneath. Repairing from the underside has the obvious advantage of hiding any repair work as well as offering more room for general manoeuvre.

Once you have located the squeak you need to drive a wedge in between the tread and the stair riser. When the wedge is securely in place you can tidy off any overhanging ends and sand evenly by hand.

If you are repairing from the top of the stair, drill holes in both the riser and the tread to prevent splitting. Once secured the holes can then be filled with putty or wood plastic solution.

Look after your hardwood stairs by checking for signs of damage from time to time. The old adage ‘a stitch in time’ applies here, as fixing squeaks, creaks and other small repair jobs when they become apparent (rather than waiting) will ultimately extend the life of your stairs, as well as the possible prevention of injuries caused by accidents.

Banishing squeaks forever

It is realistic for any hardwood floor owner to understand that squeaks are an inevitable part of owning a hardwood floor. However with a little vigilance and the willingness to spend a little time on maintenance, you can ensure banishment of these annoying little squeaks forever.

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