Fix Creaky Hardwood Floor Boards
LESLIE: Squeakin’ and creakin’, that’s what’s going on at David’s house. How can we help you?
DAVID: Yeah, I’ve got a few creaky pieces of floor right in front of the bathroom, so every time someone gets up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom you hear this “Ee, er, ee.” You know like a squeak. And if you step on it, that’s what it does. It goes “Ee, er, ee, er.” And I wondered if I had – if there was a certain type of nail and is it safe; can I go through; would that work. I mean what’s the answer there?
LESLIE: So is it a hardwood floor? A laminate? What do you have?
DAVID: Yeah, a hardwood floor.
TOM: Generally what happens with hardwood floors – and this could be in the hardwood floor itself or it could be in the subfloor under the hardwood floor, David – that those nails are rosin coated. They’re glue coated nails. So what happens is you step on that. That nail moves in, moves out of the wood below it and it makes – you know, because of the friction it could make a pretty nasty squeaky sound. It’s also possible that the boards are just rubbing together.
The solution for both of those problems is the same and that is you have to secure that floor area. Because it’s basically loose and has to be tightened up. Now because it’s a hardwood floor, there’s two ways to do this. You could drill out an area and put a screw in, which would be the most permanent solution but then you’d have to counter bore it and put a wood plug in and touch up the finish. Or kind of a shorter term but easier thing for you to do is to take a #10 or #12 penny finish nail and I would put that in the chuck of a drill with the head up into the chuck, because you’re basically going to make a drill out of a nail. And then you use the drill to sort of drill the nail hole into the wood. This is – because it’s hardwood, you have to sort of pilot it. And I’ve found over the years that you can do this with a nail probably even more effectively …
LESLIE: Well the nail is going to open the fibers of the wood whereas a drill bit is just going to bore a hole in and take all that wood away.
TOM: Right, so it stays tighter. And then once you have that split open you can go ahead and stick the same numbered nail in there and drive it in on a slight angle. And by the way, when you do this you want to try and do it right over where the floor joists are and if you don’t know where that is you can use a stud finder to find them.
LESLIE: Also David, it could be possible that because you’re dealing with a bathroom, where there’s a lot of moisture, you could just be seeing a lot of expansion in the wood because of all the moisture from the bathroom. So if you’ve got a bathroom vent fan in there as well, turn it on and let it run for a good 20 minutes after you take a shower just to help get that moisture out. But still, affix that flooring.
DAVID: Great, that’s a lot of help. I appreciate it.