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Should I Be Concerned About My Creaky Floor?

Should I Be Concerned About My Creaky Floor?

Is your flooring starting to creak and squeak all over the place? It could be the temperature. Or, perhaps something more serious is causing it. To find out if the sound is just a nuisance or part of a bigger problem, here are five key elements to consider when it comes to planning your floor squeak repairs. 

Seasonal Expansion and Contraction

During the wintertime, porous wooden flooring tends to contract and, in the summer, it often expands. This is completely normal. In fact, a healthy range for wood is between 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit and 35-55% relative humidity (RH). Low relative humidity, however,can cause gaps, shrinkage, cracks, and cupping to occur. So, if you experience any creaky floorboards, take notice of the RH in your home. If it is outside of the 35-55% range, you’ll likely see more gaps. You shouldn’t worry though – you can use a humidifier to improve your RH levels and keep conditions under control. Plus, normal gaps usually close up come spring and fall. But if your gaps don’t, it’s time to call in an expert to find out whether there’s another cause.

Poor Construction

Lower-quality materials, poor workmanship, and improper installation can result in noisy flooring. For the most part, squeaky floors are just a nuisance. However, depending on how bad the construction and installation are, you might need to rip it up and replace it with better materials.

Floor Joist Damage

The subflooring could also be the cause. If a floor joist is cracked or damaged, the nails that hold the sheeting in place can become loose. This results in a creaking sound. Fortunately, most subflooring issues can be corrected by adding new screws in the areas where the creaking is happening. 

How to Stop Creaking Chipboard Floors

Otherwise known as particleboard, chipboard flooring comes in at a low cost and is available in a variety of densities. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t prone to making annoying sounds when stepped on. If you’re wondering how to stop creaking chipboard floors, you’re not alone. 

The good news is, this process is really no different than with other subfloors! Again, this type of flooring generally consists of sheets attached to ribbed nails, meaning you can figure out which nails the creaking is coming from, gradually replacing each affected one with a higher-quality screw designed for outdoor use. If you have carpeting covering your chipboard, you’ll need to remove it first. By targeting specific nails based on where the sound is coming from, you shouldn’t need to remove all your flooring to get rid of those creaks for good!

Be sure to come prepared with these tools:

  • Exterior-grade, two-inch screws (ideally cross-headed) and matching screwdriver
  • Flat screwdrivers, preferably a small one and two larger sizes
  • A claw hammer
  • Safety goggles

Foundation Issues

Does a house creaking mean foundation problems are the cause? It’s possible – is your home built on a slab foundation or on joists atop a pier and beam foundation? The latter tends to have a little more give that can result in rubbing floorboards and loose fasteners which cause creaks and squeaks. 

Is this a problem? Not always. To determine if it is, in fact, a foundation issue, you need to look for other telltale signs. Some of the most common include soft spots in the flooring, uneven and sloping flooring, warped window and door frames, and bulging walls. If you notice any cracks in tiling, brickwork, at the corner of doors and windows, or where the ceiling and wall meet, this could also be a sign that the foundation is shifting below. Normal foundation movement is a normal part of settling, but there’s a limit. Significant differential settlement can lead to serious damage to your flooring and the entire home. 

What to do if you suspect that you have a foundation issue? Contact us at the Foundation Repair Experts. Our dedicated and knowledgeable team of industry experts will diagnose any foundation problems you may have and tackle these head-on. No matter if you need a simple crack taken care of or a full foundation restoration, we’re here to help. Contact us today!