Creaky floorboards can be a real nuisance, particularly late at night when every little sound is magnified. Whether you’re worrying about stepping on the wrong board and waking up the rest of the house or hearing suspicious creaks that raise the prospect of intruders, they’re at best an irritation and at worst can cause real stress.
While most creaks are harmless, they can result from poor installation or disrepair which may cause bigger problems further down the line. It’s important to work out how to stop floorboards creaking as quickly as possible – after all, you don’t want to see your bed come crashing through the ceiling during breakfast!
Loose fixing nails
One of the most common causes of creaky floorboards is loose fixing nails – once these become dislodged, the floorboards are no longer firmly attached and rub against the joists underneath, giving rise to those irritating squeaks.
If the floorboard is in good condition this can be fixed fairly easily, as you should be able to replace the loose nails with screws placed into the existing nail holes, while if the floorboard is damaged you may need to create new holes for the screws. The new screws should push the floorboard down onto the joist, preventing any creaks.
Floorboard doesn’t connect to the joist
Some floorboards can be shorter than necessary, either through poor workmanship or in order to access pipes and cables beneath the floorboards. This can lead to creaking, as the edge of the floorboard has no support and rubs against the adjacent board or joist.
Although this is a particularly complex issue – particularly if you have carpets, which you may need to pull up to gain access – there is a solution. Installing timbers below the floorboard (you will need to cut a section of the floor in order to do this) will give the board something to sit against, preventing it from moving freely. This should minimise the possibility of creaks as the floorboard remains fixed in place.
Floorboards not fixed down properly
If a floorboard haven’t been fixed down properly, you’ll find that it creaks whenever someone walks on it, as the pressure applied creates friction between the floorboard and the adjacent board.
This is another quick fix, however – as with the loose fixing nails mentioned above, you simply need to drive additional screws into the floorboard, securing it tightly to the boards below. This ensures the board stays in position, so it shouldn’t creak any more.
Joist too low
One potential cause of creaking floorboards is that the joist is too low. In this scenario, the nail does not push the floorboard down tightly enough to the joist, leading to creaks as the board moves up and down when stepped on and off.
This issue can sometimes be solved by securing the board tightly to the joist with longer, more robust screws. However, if this is not possible, you should be able to fill in the gap with timber and re-apply the screws, removing the gap and thus preventing the likelihood of annoying creaking.
Badly-installed joist ends
If your joist ends or noggings haven’t been fitted tightly enough together, friction can occur between the timbers, inevitably leading to creaking. To solve this issue, you will need to replace them with better fits, or strengthen the area with additional fixing or wedges. In doing so, you will secure the whole structure (floorboard, joist and timber) and remove any unnecessary gaps – hopefully removing the possibility of moving parts which can creak.
Although we’ve given you a few DIY solutions which should show you how to stop creaky floorboards, there are some situations that require expert help. At Donnelly Watson, we work alongside a host of professional carpenters, builders and craftsmen, and boast over 30 years’ experience in the flooring industry. So, if you’re suffering from creaking floorboards and want them fixed quickly, efficiently and at a reasonable price, feel free to get in touch today.