How to stop floorboards creaking

Are you waking up the whole house when you go for a midnight snack? Try out some methods from our guide to how to stop floorboards creaking, and restore quiet to your home.

Updated

feet in socks standing on creaky floorboards

Key steps

  • Identify the offending floorboard(s).
  • Put construction adhesive between the joist and subfloor.
  • Install a length of wood next to a warped joist.
  • Install blocking between two creaky floor joists.
  • Screw the floor joist back into place.
  • Sprinkle talc or corn starch into the gaps if you cannot access the joists.
 

Why do floorboards creak, and how do you make them stop? They might have an old-world charm, but creaking floorboards in the house can be quite irritating – especially when you're en route to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Restore peace to your floors with our top tips to stop floorboards creaking.

If you can’t access the area beneath the floorboards, powders like corn starch or powdered graphite can be sprinkled in the gaps and work as a lubricant to reduce the creak.

Why do floorboards creak? A quick explanation

Before we show you how to fix creaky floorboards, it’s important to understand why floorboards creak. This will help you better understand how to fix it. Simply put, your floorboard creaks and squeaks start up when the subfloor begins to separate from the floor joists. The squeaky noise is due to the nails sliding in and out of the joists as they move.

How to fix creaky floorboards: A simple guide to stopping creaks underfoot

Here are our top tips for how to stop floorboards creaking so you can move around your house in peace:

  1. To fix creaky floors, first identify the floorboards causing the issue.
  2. Once you have identified the offending floorboard (or floorboards!) it is time to fix the issue. If you have access to the area beneath the floorboards, there are a few things you could try to stop the creak:
    • Using a caulking gun, insert construction adhesive into the gap between the joist and subfloor, eliminating the movement that causes the creaks and squeaks.
    • If the joist is warped or deteriorated, open up the space between the joist and the plywood subfloor, then install a length of wood alongside the joist.
    • If two floor joists are causing the issue, install wood blocking between them. Ensure it fits snugly, but not too tightly, preventing both joists from moving.
    • The quickest and easiest way to stop the movement is to drive short screws through the underside of the subfloor to the bottom of the finished flooring to hold it in place.
  3. If you don’t have access to the area beneath the floorboards, you could try lubricating the area. This can be done using the following steps:
    • Sprinkle corn starch or talcum powder into the joints between your floorboards.
    • Place a clean, dry cloth or rag over the boards.
    • Walk back and forth over the top of the cloth. This will work the powder into the cracks.
    • The powder works as a lubricant, reducing wood-on-wood friction.
    • Don’t forget to vacuum any remaining powder from the floor.

With this simple guide, you now have everything you need to know about how to fix creaky floors. With a bit of DIY or a simple home remedy, you can fix your creaky floorboards fast and keep them schtum. Is your home providing you with other unwanted sound effects, like squeaky door hinges? We've got some ideas for fixing that, too.

Originally published