How to Handle Squeaky Hardwood Floors

Stop the Squeaks !

How to Handle Squeaky Hardwood Floors

“Creeak! Creeeeeaak!” Anyone who has installed hardwood flooring has heard
this annoying squeaking sound that often develops in hardwood floors.
When you’re tiptoeing to the kitchen for a midnight snack,
that creaking sound is a dead giveaway.

Unfortunately, there is no perfect, permanent cure-all for hardwood creaks
and squeaks. However, there are a few effective treatments, plus
a few helpful tips on preventing creaks in the first place.

Most creaks and squeaks are caused by wood rubbing on wood
– it’s a simple mechanical problem of too much material stuck
in too small of a space.

Many Hardwood flooring manufactures use a natural, organic material
that expands and contracts as temperatures and humidity levels change.
If individual planks don’t have enough room to expand, they’re forced
to fight for space with the neighboring planks. For this type of “side-to-side”
creaking, powdered graphite can often used to lubricate the contact areas.

Simply apply graphite powder generously over the squeaky seam,
place a rag or towel over the area, and work the squeak over and over
until the graphite powder penetrates and the sound becomes silent.
This method may take a few applications.

When you’re finished, clean up the excess graphite powder with a damp towel
and enjoy the silence.

Another, more difficult squeak is one which develops between the hardwood
flooring plank and the wooden subfloor. It’s always a good idea to use
a quality underlayment material during the installation to help reduce this issue.
If an underlayment hasn’t been used, it may be necessary to nail of screw
the squeaky areas more securely to the subfloor.

If nailing, be sure to pre-drill the floor plank, but not the subfloor.
Apply pressure to the plank while nailing, for the most secure fit.
If using screws, pre-drilling planks is a MUST!

This will help prevent cracking. Always use screws with square drive heads
– common Phillips screws slip too easily. Be sure to lubricate the screw
with a little soap or wax, apply pressure to the plank, and drive
until the screw head sits just beneath the plank surface.
Finish by applying wood filler over the screw head.

In addition to using an underlayment during install, it is important to leave
at least ¼” between the wall and the first plank in each row.
This extra space allows the wood to expand without obstruction.
The small gap can easily be covered by a quarter round or decorative molding.

Remember to follow manufacturer’s instructions to a T, and always consult
with a licensed contractor before any DIY install.

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