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A Guide to Silencing Creaks in Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring adds a touch of elegance and warmth to any home, but over time, it's not uncommon for them to develop creaks and squeaks. Those noises can be really annoying when you’re just trying to get a slice of cake from the fridge at night, unbeknownst to the other occupants of your home. However, fear not! With a few simple steps, you can silence those pesky creaks and restore the peace to your hardwood haven.

Identify the Cause

Before diving into the fixing process, it's essential to understand why your hardwood floors are creaking. Common causes include loose floorboards, gaps between boards, or friction between the boards and subfloor. Once you pinpoint the source of the noise, you can proceed with the appropriate solution.

What you’ll need to do before using any of the solutions below is to locate the source of the creak. Walk around the room and listen carefully by applying pressure to different areas to provoke the noise.

Solutions

Now that you've found the source of the noise, it's time to tackle that creak.

Lubricant

Graphite lubricant on floor.

The first and quickest way to see if you get your boards to stop squeaking is to use lubricant to reduce the friction between boards. The best kind of lubricant for this job is a dry lubricant like powdered graphite or talcum powder. Apply it between the seams of the boards. From here, you can either use a brush to spread the lubricant or place a paper towel down and use your feet to move the lubricant so it gets into the grooves. This step may have to be repeated two to three times before the creaking stops.

Tighten Loose Boards

Using a hammer and nails or screws, secure any loose floorboards to the subfloor. One option is to drive the nails or screws through the surface of the floorboard and into the subfloor beneath. The nails should go all the way through and end up below the surface so you can use wood filler to cover it up. 

The other option is to drive screws from below, but for this you’ll need a helper to stand and move on the floor above you so you can locate the squeak. If you decide to drive the screw from below, make sure the screw is short so it doesn’t come up through the top and pierce through the top layer.

Fill The Gaps

If there are gaps between floorboards contributing to the creaking, use wood filler to fill them in. Apply the filler generously, ensuring it fills the entire gap. Once the filler is dry, sand it down until it's flush with the surrounding floor surface.

Shim Loose Boards

For boards that are still creaking despite being secure, insert wood shims between the subfloor and the floorboards. Place the shim into the gap, then tap it gently with a hammer until it's snug. Trim off any excess shim with a utility knife.

By following these simple steps, you can say goodbye to the annoying creaks and squeaks in your hardwood flooring, restoring peace and quiet to your home.