What to do if wood floors creak

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Perhaps no stronger irritant can be found than a creaking wooden floor. It is especially annoying if such a phenomenon overtakes tenants soon after a major overhaul and you have to tear off the finishing cover. Today we’ll show you what to do if your wood floors creak and how to avoid it in the future..

What to do if wood floors creak

The reasons for the squeak

Actually, the ultimate cause of the creaking floor is only one – friction between two poorly fixed parts. But the typical places in which such a phenomenon can be observed are three.

In the simplest case, the floor creaks due to friction between adjacent floorboards: one of them bends under load and scrapes against the adjacent one. Such a squeak has a characteristic dry sound and is quite easily detected when the floor boards are successively pushed through..

What to do if wood floors creak

A more characteristic creak with a thin squeak occurs due to the weakened fastening of the nails to the logs. Rusty metal inside dry wood creates a really nasty rattle and is much more difficult to locate due to the fact that nail heads are usually hidden under several layers of paint.

The third and most rare type of squeak is the loose connections of the composite lags and the bridges between them. The appearance of such a creak is characteristic of frame and multi-storey buildings with a complex system of wooden floors. The sound of the floor when walking in such cases is muffled and crackling.

Do I need to rip off the floor

If the wooden floor was laid with a tongue-and-groove board for painting or varnished, then the boards will not have to be torn off. It is quite possible to eliminate the creak between the floorboards from the surface, plus there is a reason to restore the wooden floor, smooth out irregularities with putty, renew the paintwork.

What to do if wood floors creak

In some cases, repairs may require tearing off the finish or the boardwalk beneath. For example, if the boards of the subfloor creak, on top of which the finishing floor is laid – laminate or linoleum. In such cases, the finished floor is sorted out, performing the required manipulations and getting rid of the squeak, and then laying it back.

If the lag system is the source of the squeak, then larger-scale repair work will have to be carried out. The greatest difficulty lies in localizing the creaking joint, which is almost impossible to do blindly. Therefore, the breakdown of the plank flooring cannot be avoided..

Opening the sub floor

Rowing method

The creaking ends of the floorboards can be wedged together, thereby concentrating friction in several places and avoiding the string effect. For this, use ordinary wood chips or wedges with a thickness of 0.5 to 3 mm and a width of up to 30-35 mm.

Sealing gaps in a wooden floor

This method is good for eliminating squeaks in old solid plank floors, where cracks of uneven thickness have appeared as a result of shrinkage and warping. At the widest point of the creaking joint, the first wedge is hammered in, then a few more are added with an indent of 50–80 cm. To facilitate the entry of the wedge, you can widen the joint with a chisel, hammering it by 3-5 mm.

Sealing gaps in a wooden floor

Ragging is a rather meticulous process, but this is almost the only method of local repairing a creaky floor without breaking the flooring. After the boards are compacted, it is necessary to seal the cracks with putty; in the simplest case, a mixture of PVA and small sawdust will do.

Putty on wooden floors

Reinforcing the floor

The reason for the appearance of a squeak on the ends and fasteners of the boards may be insufficiently tight pressing of the flooring to the joists. This is a typical wood floor disease: in a few cycles of drying, the nails can loosen and the entire flooring becomes loose..

The essence of strengthening the floor is to restore the density of pressing the boards with self-tapping screws, which over time do not lose the quality of pressing. The catch is that by pressing the warped board in one place, you can loosen the fastening at other points, so it will be correct to reinforce the entire floor at once.

Reinforcing the wooden floor with self-tapping screws

Another subtlety is the need to drill the boards before screwing in the screws to avoid snagging the threads in them. The method is ideal for eliminating squeaks in the subfloor. Finishing coatings can also be strengthened with self-tapping screws, but the traces of the caps will have to be masked with putty, which, moreover, must be matched to the tone of the wood when opening the floors with varnish.

The greatest difficulty is to determine the location of the lag, if the traces of fastening the flooring are hidden. Among all the methods, two of the most effective can be distinguished: drilling with control of the drill exit in order to determine the step of installing the lag and tearing of the extreme boards.

Busting the boardwalk

Overhauling a wooden floor is the only way to eliminate creak with a guarantee, without requiring a significant investment. And with creaking lags, there is practically no alternative to this method..

The point is to consistently rip and fasten the boards in place, without changing their order for a tighter fit. First, 3-5 boards are removed from one edge, then with good additional light they visually assess the space under the floor, the safety of the lag, the presence of harmful organic matter.

Repair of a wooden floor

When busting, fix the first board and tear off one by one after checking and fixing each subsequent one. All boards are checked for rotting and damage by pests, unusable ones are replaced with new ones of the same thickness, adjusting the ends with a plane for tight joining.

To avoid squeaking between the floorboards in the future, you can pull the boards together on wooden dowels and tighten them tightly with a car jack. If there is no need for hidden fastening, it is recommended to use self-tapping screws – two for each attachment point to the logs.

Laying floor boards

Surface strengthening

Not a very budgetary, but very effective way to get rid of a subfloor from a squeak is to lay plywood on it with frequent attracting fastening screws. The thickness of the flooring must be at least 12 mm, fastening is carried out into each board in two rows in a checkerboard pattern no further than 30–35 mm from the edge.

Reinforcing the wood floor with plywood

In addition to self-tapping screws, a mixture of sawdust or mineral chips with busylate glue will help to achieve high-quality adhesion. It is important to arrange the flooring sheets in such a way that the joints between them do not contribute to the bending of the boards in the future. Ideally, you should divide the additional flooring into two layers of 6–8 mm each, fastening them together with an adhesive mixture and carefully think over the ligation scheme.

Reinforcing the wood floor with plywood

The method is distinguished by high technological complexity. In addition to the high-quality tightening of the screws and the correct location of the sheets, it is required to remember the layout of the boards so that each of them is further strengthened and pulled. To do this, on the walls, the location of the joints is marked with risks, along which they pull the thread or beat off the lines with a dye cord.

Other options

There are also many “folk” ways to get rid of the squeak between the floorboards or where they are attached. Contrary to popular belief, sealing the gaps between the boards with an adhesive mixture does not give an effect, at least long-term.

It is better to warm up the joint with a construction hairdryer and pour melted paraffin or stearin into it. The method with impregnation of boards with vaseline or vegetable oil works in a similar way. Just do not use machine and motor oils, they are not environmentally friendly.

Oil impregnation of wood floor

As a preventive measure to prevent squeaking, it is recommended to tightly rally the floor boards using grooved ends or oak dowels. You can also treat the ends of the boards with compounds that reduce friction – silicone sealant or rubber paste. Instead of regular nails, it is better to use brushed nails, which are less prone to loosening..

Read more  Leveling the floor with a self-leveling mixture
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