How to calm creaky floors in an older house

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Living in an old house is, for many reasons, an experience. From architectural details you no longer see, to layers of paint and wallpaper, to custom built-in elements, there is hidden features all over.

Some quirks of old homes, however, are hard to ignore, let alone miss—like a leaky basement, tiny closets, or flickering electricity – which reviewers routinely refer to as “character” and / or “charm”. Squeaky hardwood floors also fall in this category.

It’s one thing for them to betray you at night, to make noise when you try to sneak into the kitchen unnoticed to grasp a snack. But older floors also tend to make squeaks and creaks even if no one in the house is standing.

And even if you know it’s not a series of extra steps your mind can play some pretty nasty tricks on you in the dark. Here’s how to soothe your floors.

How to prevent wood floors from making noise

So why do old floors crack in the first place? “Squeaks occur when a house moves in and the floor dries and then expands,” writes Lisa Kaplan Gordon in an article for Realtor.com. “It makes the planks rub against each other, or against the sub-floor, or against the nail boxes. ”

Fortunately, she also has some ideas for stopping the squealing. But first, you need to locate its source – something it says is a two-person job.

Bring a person down to the level of the house below the noisy floor (so if the creak is on the ground floor, head to the basement), while the other walks on the creaky floor. The person at the lower level must be able to locate exactly (or approximately) where the sound comes from.

From there, you have several different options, depending on whether you want a quick fix or something more permanent, and whether you want (or, more realistically, are able) to fix the issue from above or from above. the bottom.

From the bottom

According to Gordon, here are some of the ways to fix noisy floor from below:

  • Spread construction adhesive or carpenter’s glue on a thin block of wood, then pat it gently between the joists and the sub-floor, or two floorboards, “being careful not to hit so hard that you were lifting or bending the floor, ”she notes.
  • If there is a bigger gap you canUse a caulking gun to fill it with construction adhesive between the subfloor and the joist.

From the top

In the meantime, here are some ways to calm your floors from above, again, by Gordon:

  • Sprinkle talcum powder in the noisy cracks, cover the area with a towel or rag, and step on it carefully to make it all work out. “The powder works like a lubricant that stops the friction that causes noise,” she explains.
  • “Drive ring shank flooring nails (covered with little rings that keep the nail from receding over time) or cement-coated flooring nails into the joints between the rubbing parts,” says Gordon.
  • If the squeak is caused by the floorboards separating from the subfloor, you can drive two nails at opposite 45-degree angles into the joists (which you can locate with a stud finder) and then use wood putty. on the holes.

If none of these options seem feasible, Gordon offers several other options. in his article.

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