My hardwood floor is squeaking!
Occasionally I have come across squeaking floors that have been installed in new or renovated homes. If your hardwood is squeaking after installation, contact your supplier, installer or dealer and ask them to inspect the floor. They will be able to give you a reason as to why and offer a solution. If you are on your own having installed the floor yourself then here are some methods we have used to stop squeaks depending on your scenario:
- Check the expansion gaps. These are the gaps around the perimeter of your floor. Check that the flooring isn't rubbing against a wall or a doorjamb? If so, these tight spots will need to be cut back and freed up by about 1/4 inch to allow for future flooring expansion.
- Add some water to a 'waterbased' flooring adhesive and inject it between the flooring joints where possible. The thinner liquid should penetrate the joints and will harden over time. This works well for floating floors.
- Use WD40 or Talcom powder to lubricate squeaky joints.
- Glue down floors typically squeak if the subfloor is uneven. Low spots in the subfloor allow the hardwood to deflect up and down when walked on which can cause squeaking over time. Drill a small 1/8" hole and inject adhesive or expanding foam into the cavity. Be careful not to inject too much too quickly as expansion foam will lift the floor up if given a chance.
- A few well aimed deck or flooring screws, (first drill a pilot hole) set below the hardwood surface and then plugged / filled, can help but it is a long shot trying to hit exactly the right spot.
In a home renovation always have someone re-screw the subfloor plywood before you begin the hardwood installation. It's inexpensive to do and doesn't take long - 2 inch flooring screws work great.
In 90% of the cases, in my experience, squeaks come from the substrate not the hardwood. Unless you are prepared to expose the subfloor by removing flooring pieces, you'll be lucky to eliminate the squeaks. Joists, plywood and cross blocking all flex and move and it doesn't take much movement to cause noise. Old staircases are a great example of how old wood subjected to repeated traffic over many years will weaken and begin to squeak. You'll need to rebuild the staircase if you really want the noise to go away.
My advice, in most cases, is to live with the noises and this unique character that your older home came with when you bought it.
One Last Note...
Always purchase wood flooring material from a reputable dealer who has had years of positive experience with the wood flooring brand being purchased. Saving money at an auction or a 'blow out sale' center is a big risk. Such things as bad product milling, incorrect kiln drying and poor storage will cause the flooring to perform badly once installed.
- Amy Renshall