What It Really Means When Your Floors Squeak

Whether you're quietly creeping to the kitchen for a midnight snack, your teenager is trying to sneak out of the house after hours, or you hear every move your upstairs neighbor makes, a squeaky floor can be unpleasant for homeowners.

Depending on whether you have laminate, solid, or engineered wood flooring, getting to the bottom of your squeaky dilemma is a very smart place to start. Just as bouncy floors are typical in many homes — especially older homes — squeaky floors are also a familiar annoyance. "Squeaks are more about driving you crazy than anything," said president of Mr. Handyman, J.B. Sassano, in an interview with Realtor.com. "If the floor were bowing or bending, it would be a more serious issue," Sassano added. But if it's a sound that you hear every single time someone walks on the floor, it can probably drive you crazy. No matter how many fun and luxurious updates you make to your home, squeaks and sounds can make you feel as though you are in an old house.

Realtor.com noted that if you don't notice significant structural damage to your home or pest damage from termites, there's no need to stress too much or worry about potential collapse. Rest assured, there are a few reasons why your floors creak and ways to fix your squeaky floors if it gets too bothersome for you. And this is a helpful tip: You may have some products laying around your home to get rid of a squeaking floor issue!

This is why your wood floors are squeaking

To find the area of your floors in your home that squeaks, Realtor.com suggested grabbing a friend to help investigate. The job is more manageable since someone can check from the basement while the other person can tend to the floor. Generally speaking, floors squeak because flooring expands, usually due to weather changes, which causes friction and noise with your floorboards, per Realtor.com. The Master's Craft Flooring Company also stated environmental reasons as a top cause, along with other issues, including chafing floorboards known as "deflection," which can happen because of humidity or faulty installation. The company cited other reasons why flooring squeaks, including subfloor issues such as spacing problems. Floorboard concrete issues are also a reason that can cause squeaks due to hollow spots, which can occur due to improper leveling or an insufficient amount of glue used when the floor was originally installed. 

To fix a squeaking floor, you can put some wood glue on a shim and wedge it between the plywood and the joist to fill out the extra space (via Realtor.com). HGTV recommended sprinkling powder graphite into the seams of the floorboards to get rid of squeaking floors, but offered other suggestions with products you may have sitting in your bathroom or kitchen, including sprinkling baby powder or baking soda!

You may be used to hearing the squeaks and not feel compelled to fix them. But if it bothers you, you can easily try to fix it.