Don’t put up with those annoying squeaks in your floors and stairs. Fixing the problem is straightforward, relatively inexpensive, and usually requires less than 10 minutes.
Insert Shims Into Gaps
If you have access to the floor or stairs from underneath, that will make your job easier. Have someone walk on the floor or stairs from above while you’re down below so you can home in on where the squeak starts.
If the culprit is a gap between the subfloor and a joist, simply insert a shim into the gap. It’ll keep the floor from bouncing when someone steps on it.
Apply some wood glue to the shim and slide it into the gap until it’s snug. Don’t force it in farther than it wants to go—you could make the gap wider. This tip also works for creaking stairs.
Fill Long Gaps With Construction Adhesive
Sometimes gaps can run along an entire joist, or at least the better part of it. Instead of applying a bunch of shims over a long distance, run a bead of construction adhesive. Work the adhesive into the gap to stop the squeak.
Nail a Board Along a Warped Joist
Joists can occasionally twist, warp, or deteriorate. As a result, a space opens up between the joist and the plywood subfloor, which causes squeaking when someone walks over the top.
Fix the problem by nailing a block of wood alongside the problem joist. Apply a bead of construction adhesive along the top of the wood that will butt against the subfloor, then nail or screw it to the joist.
Add Blocks to Noisy Joists
When the joists themselves are the problem, quiet them by nailing or screwing 2 x 8 blocks between them. Insert the blocks at approximately the midpoint of the joists’ run. Apply construction adhesive along the edge that will be placed against the subfloor before fastening them in place.
Drive Short Screws Through the Bottom
Irritating squeaks that originate between the joists are most likely caused by the wood floor rubbing against the underlying plywood subfloor. You’ll need to stop that friction by driving short screws from the underside of the subfloor into the bottom of the finished flooring.
Be very careful that the screws are not long enough to penetrate through the top of the floor covering or you’ll end up with a problem worse than squeaks. Just to be safe, drive the first one in an inconspicuous area, like a closet, and check that it didn’t break through.
Lubricate the Floorboards
Eliminating floor or stair noises can be problematic when the room underneath is finished and you don’t have access to the joists or subfloor. When wooden floorboards are causing the noise, add a lubricant to the problem area.
Pour powdered soapstone, talcum powder, or powdered graphite between the boards. Then place a cloth over the boards and walk on it to work the lubricant into the cracks. This will reduce the wood-on-wood rubbing between the planks or strips that cause the squeaking. Vacuum up the remaining powder.
Stop Noises From the Top
A product called Squeeeeek No More offers a simple solution to eliminate squeaks from the top side. The $20 kit includes a tripod tool, bit, stud finder, and screws. The screws are coated with wax to drive through carpet without catching strands and causing a run.
You use the tripod and bit to drive the screw through the floor covering and subfloor into a joist. The screws are prescored 1 inch from the top. So when the screw is in place, the tripod snaps off the screw head so it won’t stick up, but the threaded part holds the floor to the joist.
This works for carpet, wood, vinyl, and linoleum floors. You’ll have to fill the hole left in wood floors with wood filler.
Linoleum and vinyl will expand slightly to partially cover the hole, but they won’t hide it completely. In the end, you’ll have to decide if you want a tiny hole (which you can strategically cover with a rug or carpet) or prefer to live with squeaks.