If you have a hardwood floor, chances are you have experienced some squeaks in certain areas of the floor. This is a common issue with several solutions; so don’t worry about it being a problem that does not go away. It’s important to point out that squeaky hardwood floors are not solely attributed to older homes. It can happen to any floor, new or old.
Squeaky hardwood floors can be attributed to a few things: (1) loose floor boards, (2) expansion or contraction of the floorboards due to moisture content, (3) loose subflooring, such as plywood that is no longer secured to the floor joists. When wood floors are exposed to moisture or humidity, they naturally expand. Likewise, when wood floor planks dry out, then they will contract or shrink. Once they shrink, boards will begin to rub against each other or slide against nail shafts. This is why planning for the proper expansion gap during installation is so important, as it can help reduce squeaky hardwood floors.
Traditional hardwood strip flooring is the most susceptible when it comes to squeaks. Solid wood is most prone to contraction. Engineered wood, while still prone, will be more forgiving than solid wood. Laminate is also made up of wood elements, so it too is subject to contraction. Luxury Vinyl that looks and feels like wood, has no wood elements, so it will not expand & contract when exposed to moisture.
The best place to identify squeaky areas of the floor is from your basement or crawl space. From there, you can check for missing or loose nails. If that doesn’t solve it, you will likely need to secure the floorboards or subfloor to the joists where the sounds exist. Securing boards to joists can be a complicated process especially if there is not easy access to a crawl space, for example. So, a potential “band aid” or “quick fix” is to apply lubrication between the floorboards and the subfloor. It will likely take several applications before the squeaking subsides and will not be a permanent fix.
If the squeaking continues to persist, call a professional installer to come assess the situation.