When you walk through your home, do you notice a creaking sound in certain spots?
Does your teenager know where to hop and jump to avoid being noticed late at night?
Do you have a walking pattern to avoid the sqeeks as you make your way from kitchen to living room to bedroom?
The older the home, the more spots probably come to mind. And while creaking floors can be quite a nuisance, they can actually be an indicator of a problem.
The creaking comes from the shrinking and swelling of the wood. Varied moisture levels can cause wood to shrink and swell. Over time, the problem becomes permanent. The boards then rub against each other when you walk across them – this creates the creaking sound.
To repair the problem, you have to immobilize the moving wood. If you can access the wooden floor from a basement, you may be able to insert a wood shim to keep the boards from moving.
If you have creaking stairs, you can often access them from underneath as well, and use the same shim fix to repair the problem. You can also place a shim between the riser and tread of the problem stair to stop the creaking.
You can use wood filler to fill any holes after you have made the necessary repairs. In extreme cases, such as when an area of the floor has been severely water damaged, you may need to remove and replace the area to permanently get rid of the creaking sound.
Once you have pinpointed the problem area and made the necessary repairs, keep your ears alert in case the creaking returns. If it does, adjust the inserted shims and install new ones, if needed. If the problem does not resolve, it may be time to replace the aging boards for new ones. A quiet floor is a wonderful thing – a creaking floor, not so much.
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