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How can I Fix Creaking Floors?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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Creaking floors are not a phenomenon that is limited to older homes, or houses that have not been occupied in recent years. Even a home that is well maintained can experience a creaking floor from time to time. When creaking floorboards begin to appear, there are several possible ways to deal with the situation.

One of the first things to do when dealing with floorboards that have begun to creep is to examine the boards closely. Often, creaking floors are nothing more than a situation where one or more nails have worked lose over time and are rubbing against the wood. If the heads of the nails appear to be slightly higher than the surface of the flooring, use a hammer to pound them back into position. This approach will only take a few moments, and works in situations where the creaking has not been going on for an extended period of time.

However, there is also the possibility that the supporting floor joists have begun to settle, creating a small space between the flooring and the top section of the joist. The nail may no longer be sufficient to properly bind the floorboard to the joist. In order to handle this type of situation, removing the nail and replacing it with a long countersunk screw will often take care of the problem. As a final touch, cover the head of the countersunk screw with wood compound to blend in with the natural stain of the floor.

Fixing creaking floors may require the services of a professional. When pounding existing nails back into place or replacing them with longer countersunk screws does not eliminate the issue of creaking floors, that is a sign of a more serious structural problem. If the creaking continues, do not hesitate to contact a professional installer. Many will offer a free evaluation that will reveal the origin of your creaking floors, and provide an estimate of what it will take to eliminate the creaking.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including HomeQuestionsAnswered, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon334233 — On May 11, 2013

@cardsfan27: I've noticed boards creaking all over our house in the last month, I'm worried there might be termites in our foundations, as you described. This scares the hell out of me. If that is the case, is it a big job to fix?

By anon334145 — On May 10, 2013

I am looking to purchase 20 year old, 3875 square foot living space colonial house but noticed a lot of the floors slope and squeak. Is this a potential severe issue?

By anon330677 — On Apr 18, 2013

Pay the guys. It's not their responsibility, unless you had requested that the squeaking be fixed and it was in their quote.

By cardsfan27 — On Apr 09, 2012

@jmc88 - I would say the main reason behind using nails instead of screws is a combination of cost and time. I've done a bunch of repairs to my house and friends' houses. It's a lot faster to pull out a nail and hammer it in than it is to carry a drill, line up the screw, and drill it in. With a hammer, you don't need to worry about batteries, either. If you had to install a wooden subfloor through and entire house, you'd want to do whatever is fastest. Like I also mentioned, nails are a lot cheaper than screws, too.

As far as potential structural problems, I'd say the main one would be a shifting foundation. If that were the case, you'd have tons of squeaking boards all throughout the house. I'm sure there could also be some problems with termites or water damage that could also cause creaking problems. You mentioned you had an older house, so squeaky floors are kind of to be expected with that. There's probably nothing to worry about.

By jmc88 — On Apr 08, 2012

I always wondered what caused creaking floor boards. I guess it makes sense that it would be the nails rubbing against the wood.

Since it is the nail that cause the squeaking, why wouldn't they just install floors with screws in the first place? Wouldn't that stop the problem?

The article says that sometimes creaking can be a sign of more serious issues. What type of things would that be? I live in an older house with wood floors that squeak, and I'm always worried about making sure the house is in good condition.

By jcraig — On Apr 08, 2012

@anon153948 - There is really no way to fix creaking floors under carpet without pulling the carpet up to get to the subfloor.

I would definitely not suggest this, since it will be nearly impossible to get the carpet back into position even if you do have the right tools.

Eventually, you'll have to replace the carpet. At that time, do what the article says and go around renailing or screwing the boards down until the problem is fixed. As far as I know, there's really no way to fix the problem from below the house.

By matthewc23 — On Apr 07, 2012

@anon71773 - Usually installers like that aren't responsible for fixing the floors. It's expected that the homeowner will fix the problem if they want it fixed.

I've had squeaky floors before, and from my experience, just hammering a nail back into the floor won't fix the problem. Since the nail has already come loose, hammering it in will just put it back into the same hole that obviously didn't hold it the first time.

If the nail head is above the top of the wood, I would suggest pulling it out just to make a smoother surface. If it's not a problem than leave it. To fix the problem, just take another nail or screw and put it right next to the old nail, and that usually fixes the problem.

By anon153948 — On Feb 18, 2011

i have a 40 year old home in sydney and the floor boards are cypress pine and creek a lot. the problem is half the house in carpeted were the creaking occurs. what do i do to fix it? i do have access under the house to view the floor boards.

By anon71773 — On Mar 19, 2010

i just had a tiled floor laid in my kitchen on top of a squeaking floor. shouldn't the guys who laid the tile have done anything to stop the squeaking before they laid the tile? any solutions now? by the way, they haven't been paid yet!

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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