Whilst a squeaky floor might help alert you to an intruder in the house generally it is pretty annoying to be woken up by others in the night and something you'll want to fix. For some reason it is really common for floors to creak and squeak on the hallway or landing which is a high traffic area so can therefore get really annoying.
Luckily there are several methods here you can use to fix the issue for good, but first you need to identify the cause of the annoying, creaky floorboards.
It could be your joists or your floorboards, nails/screws or pipes that are making all the noise. Whichever it is, the creak or squeak will be caused by the friction of two or more things moving and rubbing against each other.
In the image below are 5 common reasons your floorboards are creaking, a sixth one not shown is explained after:
Floorboard has been cut short or just missed the joist, therefore moves up and down with no support underneath and is rubbing against the adjacent board or joist itself. Sounds too stupid but is really common! Can be the case if someone has cut the floor to access a pipe or something below.
Nail or screw has either missed the joist, just caught it or split out of the side of it. As the board is not fixed down properly it is bouncing and the screw or nail rubbing against the joist.
The Joist is too low and not level with the other joists. The nail or screw has not held it down tight hence it is dropping down when stood on then bouncing back up and the fixing is rubbing against the joist each way.
Poorly fitted joist ends or noggins. When stepped on the floor structure flexes below and the timbers rub against each other because they are not installed tight enough to each other.
Floorboard not fixed down properly. moves down when stepped on and rubs against the adjacent board or the fixing rubs on the way up/down.
Although not shown in the illustration, another cause of a squeaky floor can be pipework. If pipes are too close to each other or not notched deeply enough into the joists they can creak or squeak when the board over them is walked on. Pipes will expand and contract with hot/cold water passing through them so it is important to notch them correctly and below the top of the joist.
Once you have identified the most likely cause use one or more of the following methods to fix the problem and stop your floor from squeaking for good:
Floor squeaks because the egde of the board has missed the joist: This is one of the most intrusive problems to fix. If your floor is carpeted it is unlikely you will be able to fix this without lifting up the carpet unless you have access to the structure from underneath (like a basement for example).
In this instance, you will need to cut the floor up and install timbers below for the edge of the floor board to land on. If cutting a square to get access, try and cut back to the middle of the nearest joist. This will mean you only need to install timber where the creak is, and then the two sides back to the next joist so that all edges are trimmed out and can support each edge of the floor board.
This could be easy to fix, simply rip out the nail or screw that has caused the issue, and replace with a screw that actually pulls the floorboard down tight onto into the joist. It is worth putting a couple of fixings in.
If your squeaky floor is caused by the joist being too low, you may get away with some longer and stronger screws to pull and hold the floor board down tight against the joists. If not, you can either place a timber alongside the joist and fix it in the correct position to stop the flooring being able to move downwards like in the picture below, or you could cut thin shims or packers to slide into and fill the gap instead. If fixing a timber to the side of the joist remove the old screw and replace with several new ones.
Ill fitting noggins or bridging will need to be replaced or strengthened with wedges and more fixings to stop the squeaks. Again additional bridging can be fixed straight up against the existing in a similar fashion to option 3.
Squeaky floors that are not properly screwed down are easy to fix. Simply drive more screws in
If your floor is carpeted and difficult to remove, you can have a go with this Squeak no More kit to solve the problem. This will only resolve issues like numbers 3 & 5 above which is why some of the reviews wont be completely positive about it.
Comment below if you have anything to add about fixing squeaky floor boards or questions to ask