Friday, 9 January 2015

Why does my wood floor creak?

Creaking floors are common in old homes.  They can be spooky when your home alone! Or very annoying when your trying to creep out quietly to the toilet in the middle of the night.  

But what makes the floorboards creak?

First you need to remember that timber is a natural porous product that will always be affected by moisture levels.  Although wood flooring is dried and treated in its production it can still take on a little moisture, so when the floor was fitted it is likely that the wood had some residual moisture in it.  The heating in your home will dry out the floorboards and they will shrink.  The boards may then move a degree once walked over.

Timber also has some degree of flexibility in it and will eventually settle into place and not quite how it was laid - possibly rubbing up against another floor board or against a nail shaft creating all sorts of creaks an pops.

How to stop wood floors creaking?

From Below:

If you have easy access underneath the floor (from a basement for instance) it can be much easier to fix a creak.  You will need to get someone to walk over the floor above until you pin-point the offending board/s.

If there is a little gap between the floorboard and joist you can make a shim to sit between the floorboard and the supporting beam so that you eliminate the movement.  Do not insert with too much force else you may raise the board and create a new squeak!

If the joist has worked away and there are large sagging gaps you will have two options:
  1.  you will want to reinforce the joist if the gap is very large.  You may want to also create a brace betweent eh joists to give them further structural support.
  2.  you can fill the gap with construction adhesive if the gap is not too large

 From Above:

You will have to nail the boards down into the joist, so you need to need to be more specific in finding your squeak.  Slowly walk over the floor until you identify the exact spot where the board creaks.  You must then find the closest joint - the best way to do this is to tap with the board with a hammer, once the sound is flatter you are over a joist, if it over an open space it should resonate more and sound deeper.

Once you have found the joist closest to the squeak you may want to check your accuracy by drilling a pilot hole to see that you have successfully located the joist.  Now drill heavy duty screws through the floor and into the joist.

To cover the screw heads you can fill the holes with wood putty and gently sand the area with a very light grained sandpaper.

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