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Silence Squeaks: Get The Squeak Out Of Hardwood Floors From Above The Sub Floor

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If you have a hardwood floor, you don't want it to squeak and wake others up in the middle of the night while you're getting a midnight snack. Floors start squeaking for many reasons such as wear and tear, house settling, and the wood drying out. Fixing squeaks with a basement or crawlspace is easy, but it can be also done without access to the sub floor. Here are some tips to fix squeaky hardwood floors from above.

Gather Tools and Find the Squeak

For this project, you need:

  • chalk
  • a hammer or stud finder
  • damp cloth
  • towel
  • glazier points
  • putty knife
  • talcum powder, powdered graphite, or liquid wax
  • safety glasses
  • work gloves
  • drill 
  • wood filler
  • nail set
  • finishing nails

If you have carpet, roll it back. To find the source of the squeak without access to the sub floor, you will have to find the joist nearest the squeak. Tap on the floor with a hammer or stud finder, listening for joists that sound flatter, then mark the spot with chalk.

Lubricate the Boards

You may be able to remove a small squeak where the floor boards rub against each other with a lubricant. Sprinkle some talcum powder along the seams where the boards rub together, then walk on the area several times to activate. Wipe access powder with a damp cloth.

An alternative to talcum powder is powdered graphite Don't use the liquid kind used for locks, or you will have a big mess. Pour some in between the seams, spread a towel over it, walk over the area several times, and clean the excess. If your floor has a wax finish, use liquid wax.

Insert Glazier Points

Try stopping a squeak between floor boards rubbing together with glazier inserts, small metal triangular pieces used in window glass installation. Coat them with powdered graphite, and fasten them in place in between the boards with a putty knife. Push them in as far as possible so the points won't be on the top, which would create a tripping hazard.

Drive Finishing Nails Between Floor and Sub Floor

Wearing safety glasses and work gloves, pre-drill a pilot hole in the floor to the sub floor with a drill bit slightly smaller than the nail to keep wood from splitting. Make the hole ½ inch away from the floorboard edge.

Hold the drill at an angle at the center of the board, taking care not to drill in the sub floor. Place a heavy object on the floor or get someone to stand on it, drive the nail in, then countersink with a nail set. Drive in several more nails, and fill nail holes with wood putty that matches the floor.

Your squeaky hardwood floor should now be silent. If none of these methods work, contact a hardwood floor repair service like Apex Floor Coverings.