Fix Squeaky Flooring

Regardless if your house is old, new, or remodeled, squeaky flooring is an unavoidable nuisance. Wood flooring isn’t the only kind of flooring that does this. Since most homes are built with wooden joists, that contract, this noise is something a lot of us experience.

Commonly wood holds water. Over time, the wood dries out and contracts, causing noisy staircases, and floorboards. Other issues like missing nails or loose screws can cause noises too. These problems can all be resolved with a bit of hard work. Here are some tips and tools that will help you step quietly.

Go Below the Problem

The easiest place to start is accessing the joists from underneath, if possible. If you have access to crawlspaces or cellars, then it’s simple to repair a noisy floor or staircase. Have someone locate the noise by walking around inside and let you know where it is with a knock.

When you find the problem area, fill in the hole between the joist and the sub-floor. A wooden filler piece and some wood adhesive are all it takes. Gently tap the wood piece in the space. Try not to drive the piece in too far, or else you may raise the floor.

You can also get a joist repair kit. A rod and plate are attached to the sub-floor, and another plate is attached to the joist. Then you screw the two plates together with the rod, which pulls in each plate tightly and closes the gap.

Working from Above

If you can’t get to the joists from below, then you have to work from above. You will need to close the gap between the joist and the sub-floor without leaving a mark. Snap off or breakaway screws are perfect for this. Close the gap by screwing the subfloor back to the joist and then break off the screw below the flooring to conceal it. To put back carpet flooring, cover the top of the screw with tape to prevent tearing. Wood flooring is more difficult because you have to screw through the planks to get to the subfloor, this may require a pilot hole to avoid splitting. Then use putty to seal this hole. You can get kits for this too; with all the things you need to use a breakaway screw.


Stairs are easy to repair once you locate all the squeaks. A couple of wood filler pieces and some wood adhesive will work on most noisy stairs. Lightly tap in the wood pieces from the back of the steps and trim any extra wood with a blade. Installing shoe molding can hold the stairs in place from future wear.

Sign up to hear about our latest projects.