banner Ad
banner forum link

Search Our Site


Squeaky Floor Q's & A's

Hardwood Floors | Vinyl/Carpeted Floors | No Underneath Access | Joist Issues | Other
Can't find a solution to your problem?
Post a question in our Forums.

Squeaky Stairs Need Repair

I have squeaky basement stairs that I want to try and repair. I have access to the bottom of the stairs. What is the best way to fix this problem?

Here is a quick and effective fix for those stairs. The squeak you hear is the treads rubbing against the nails that affix the treads to the stringers. Just drive wood screws through the treads at each corner where the treads contact the stringers. Its also a good idea to countersink these screws so as not to create a trip hazard.


To eliminate the squeaks try one or more of these ideas:

If there are wedges stuck into the joints of the risers and the steps, tap those is tight or add more if some are missing. A dab of glue on the wedge before tapping it in will hold it in place.

If you identify a squeaker, glue and screw some blocks in place underneath where the riser meets the tread. Glue and screw the block to the riser first, just a little lower than the upper edge so that the tread will be pulled down to it by the screw.

To stiffen them up and eliminate creaks, you can install metal "L" shelf brackets. Again, mount them a little lower than the upper edge on the riser so that the tread will be pulled down.

Creaky Hardwood Stairs

Can and how do you repair creaky hard oak wood stairs and floor boards. A friend of mine told me to sprinkle baby powder over the boards. What I want to do is repair the stairs from creaking so much before I lay down new carpeting, any suggestions?

I have heard the baby powder idea before.. but never tried it. Before you cover it with carpet though, it is better to fix it for good.

If you have access to the under side, you have the best chance of fixing it. You would need to wedge wood (coated with a little glue) into any cracks between the steps and he stringers. Small edges made of wood (like from cedar shakes) work good. Renail or screw any areas that have come loose. Don't just drive the nail back in.

If you have to have access from only the top, look for where the original nails are along the fronts and sides of the steps and renail any on squeaky steps. Countersink the nails (use finishing nails) and fill the nail holes with matching wood putty.

Squeaky Floors under Linoleum

I have severe squeaks under the linoleum in both the bathroom and kitchen (with wood subfloor beneath). I have an unfinished basement with clear access to the joist and subfloor. I've been told to drill up through the joist to the subflooring. but wont this make a dent in the linoleum above? Should glue be applied between the joist and subflooring before driving the screw? I need step-by-step instructions on how to go about doing this. can anyone help?

Yes, you have been told correctly, that you can stop the squeak by drilling up through the joist into the subfloor. BUT as you suspected, you need to be VERY careful both with screw length selection and how deep you drive the screw so that you DON'T go too far up and come through the subfloor into the linoleum. So before you start, make sure you know how thick the subfloor and underlayment is. Better to be too short a few times than too long even once.

Another hint: When you are doing this, place the largest heaviest weight on the floor above where you are drilling/screwing. Then you will be fastening the floor down and not trying to pull it down with the screw.

And more... Be sure to predrill the the hole in the joist so the screw does not thread into the joist, only the subfloor. That way the screw will pull and hold the floor down tight.

Squeaky Floors under Carpet

Can you tell me how to repair squeaky wooden floors that have carpet over the floor ?  I have seen advertised on the internet "Mr.Squeeeky which consist of screws that break off after they are screwed into the floor.  Do these screws really work ?

I never used this product, but I just checked out their website and I do believe it would work.  It only seems a shame to have to pay that 39 dollars for some break away screws.

I would be tempted to try it myself... score some screws, do some practice drilling to see how much to score.. and how well they break off. The last thing you want is the darn screw broken off just low enough you can't get a pair of vise grips on it.. and just high enough that you feel it with your bare feet. Know what I mean??

Anyway. If you are dealing with a floor where you can't get to it from underneath.. then these screws do look like they will do the job. Whether you buy the Mr. Squeeeky set up or try it yourself I would recommend doing the first one in the corner, where you don't walk. Just to get the feel. And when you do it over the squeaks, add some extra weight.... really weight it down over the joist, so it gets pulled in tight. With the threads going through both the underlayment/subflooring as well as the joist, the screw will not be able to pull them all together. So you want the weight on top to do that.

Contact me to place your ad here

More Squeaky Floors under Carpet

Our home is only 14 years old, but the floors squeak at various spots throughout the house. Does anyone have an idea how to reduce the squeaks without having to take up the carpet and screw down the floor boards, etc.?

The best way is to take up the carpet, but barring that, finish nails work pretty well but you must be able to locate the floor joists.

There are special screws that are made for this purpose too and work better. They are quite narrow and have heads that snap off after you drive them into the floor joists.

Still More on Squeaky Floors under Carpeting/Vinyl

How do you recommend going about fixing a squeaky floor that has carpeting installed? I have access to the subflooring and joists from the basement. I am having similar problems with flooring that has vinyl covering over it.

If you have access from below, you are in the best shape. What you want to do is screw up through the joists into the subfloor and pull the subflooring down tight to the joists. Use wood screws with no threads on the upper part of the shank.. and pre drill the hole in the joist so the screw doesn't "screw" into the joist, only the subfloor and underlayment. BE EXTRA CAREFUL not to use too long a screw and come through. (This would be more of a problem in the vinyl) The screws will angle up through the joists near the top... know what I mean? Also.. it would help when you do this,, to have the biggest person you know.. or the heaviest thing around to put right over where you are screwing.. that way the floor is pushed down to the joist as you do it.

Squeaky Stairs Covered w/Carpet

All of the stairs in my house are squeaky and covered in carpet. What is the easiest, cheapest and most effective way to reduce/eliminate the squeak?

For stairs where you have access to their underneath, the easiest and best way is to drive small wedges of wood into all the cracks and crevices between the treads and the risers and stringers. If you can find cedar shingles they are easy to break and being tapered, they make good wedges.If you don't have access from we usually don't... it is not to easy...There is a product out there (you can order on line) that appears to solve the problem.. used for carpeted areas and to stop squeaky floors. It is called Mr. Squeaky. It is a screw that breaks off just below the floors surface and the carpet covers the hole. You can try that.
Or you can use nails.. nail the squeaky treads down using finishing nails (8 penny will probably do) then using a counterpunch.. drive their heads down into the wood, below the carpet. You will want to find where it squeaks and then nail that tread into the riser at the front or angled in to the back or sides if the squeak is coming from the side or back. Have the biggest person you know stand on the stair when you are nailing it. Be sure to countersink the nails to keep the heads from sticking up into your carpet.

More on Mr. Squeeeky and Alternative Squeak Elimination Methods

In a reply dated April 19/99 regarding squeaky floors you referred to a product called Mr. Squeaky. Can you tell me if this is still available. I am unable to get the web site and want to know more about the product - such as price and where it is available. - Also if it is available in Canada.

In regards to the reference to Mr. Squeeky, Home Depot and Lowes has the product for 19.95. It includes the jig, screw driver bit, special stud finding screw, 50 prescored screws and good instructions. If anyone using the product is unsure, they should try it on a piece of scrap wood, carpet over wood, vinyl over wood, etc. first.

Click here for more

Creaky Hardwood Floors; Underside Access Difficult

We recently had our refinished, but they still creek quite a bit, including the stairs. If the underside of the floor and stairs are pretty difficult to get to (without opening holes were there aren't any), Do you have any suggestions as to how we might stop the squeaking, or at least cut some of it out?

I have never tried this. I have heard of it... and it is an inexpensive shot in the dark. If there are open cracks between the boards.. try dusting it with baking soda and working it in. the idea being, it provides a sort of lubricant that keeps the squeak of the wood rubbing against wood down.

Ok.. don't laugh. But it might work. And since I have no other solutions to offer.. I give you that one.

Squeaky Carpeted Floor; No Access from Below

I have a short hall way main bath on right and on the left I have two closets (The house is a rancher with craw space.) The floor in front of the closets squeaks bad when ever there is weight shifted on the floor it squeaks so bad it can wake you up at night. About 6 months we installed new Burbor Carpet through out the house. So how can I take care of the squeak ,also I am disabled and can not get under the house myself ,so is there anything I can do in the hall way to cure my problem.

There is a product designed JUST for floors with carpets and no access from below. It was called Mr. Squeeeky. Now there is a similar product that works as well (I am told) using the same idea. It is a nail you drive in from above, and breaks off just below the floors surface.. the hole would hide perfectly in your carpet.

I have never used it.. but I have checked out the web site. It looks perfectly functional to me.

Fixing Vinyl-Covered Squeaky Floors w/Wedges?

I have squeaky floors that have vinyl flooring over them. They squeak loud enough to wake the dead. I heard about a solution by going under the crawl space and using "wedges" to stop the squeaks ,however, I haven't a clue what it meant or how to do it. can you help?

If you have access to the floor from the basement below, then you can attack your squeaks. The wedges would be small wedges of wood (cedar shakes work well) that you can jam as tight as possible into any spaces that exist between the joists and the subfloor above them. There are other approaches as well... screwing the floor down to the joist by screwing up through the joist into the subfloor. You need to be very careful that the screw doesn't go through the underlayment and poke out the vinyl. But this is probably the best fix since you can pull all the layers down tight against each other. The squeaks are caused by the movement of the wood where it is loose..

New House Has Squeaky Floors

I had a new house built about 9 months ago and the floors get more and more squeaks every day. If I get the contractor to repair one then three more show up. Is there any way to fix them right?

Done correctly, the subfloor and underlayment are nailed down with resin coated nails that resist pulling out, or screws. Also gluing the subfloor to the joists helps ensure they won't squeak. What did your builder do?

Permanent Fix for Inferior Joists and Flooring Squeaks

I have a 2-yr. old house, which is built cheap (all the joists spans are barely to code). The floors squeak badly and wonder what I can do to prevent this??? Joists are solid wood. Floors are PLY and glued to the joists.

The floors squeak because your floor was not properly secured to the joists in the first place (as you discovered)and the wood floor is inferior in quality.

The only permanent solution to your problem is to remove your floor covering and either SCREW in your floor to the joists or put in a new sub floor, which in your case would probably be the only answer.

You better check out the other structure aspects of your house, because chances are the poor quality continues in other areas of your house.

P.S. My first house was like the one you describe. I learned to become house and repair savvy after being in this house...hard lessons.

Stopping Squeaks Caused by Inferior Building

The second level floors of my home squeak. This home was built 10 years ago, single sheet plywood used, nails not screws, and yes.... I'm sure the builder failed to include glue. Short of ripping up the carpeting and plywood is there anything I can do?

You probably are going to have to move some carpeting. Pull it back in the worst spot(s), try some drywall screws into the joists, see if it helps and go from there.

Squeaks Caused by Poor Construction?

I've read all the previous threads about fixing squeaky floors by drawing the subfloor down from underneath, shimming, or using breakaway type screws from above. Sounds good enough, but I don't think it will solve my problem. You see, something else is missing.

I too have a very squeaky floor and in many places, "Loud enough to wake you up at night" was the comment, I think. I inspected my floor system and found some other things that may be contributing to the problem.
1. The builder didn't use solid blocking between the joists over the girder.
2. The builder didn't use double joists underneath some of the interior walls or the kitchen cabinetry .
3. There is no solid bridging or cross bridging between any joists despite the 15-ft span.
4. I don't see any indication that an adhesive was used when laying the subfloor.
5. The builder didn't leave any gaps between the subfloor panels.
Before I go about fixing it:
a. Aren't their building codes for such issues?
b. How can I find out what code was in effect when the house was built? (11 years ago)
c. Can a builder, or inspector, or the previous owner be held liable for the repairs?
Any advice?

Call your town's building inspector and ask what code homes are built to in your town/city. You can ask specifically about the items you're mentioned. But, I believe you will find that solid blocking isn't required ,(is any blocking installed?)

You will find that double joists are not required except along openings such as stairs. In addition, gluing down subfloors and going the extra steps to ensure a quiet floor are not required and only done by builders providing a quality job. The codes ensure things are safe, not necessarily quiet.

Click here for our Dealing With Wood Movement Article
Click here for our Moisture In The Home Article
Click here for our Interior/Exterior Home Improvement Costs Article
Click here for our Flooring Tips Article

Experts | Email Us | Disclaimer | HandymanWire home
Articles | We welcome your feedback. | Privacy
Handyman Wire
your resource for advice on home improvement and repairs.
Copyright ©1999-2019, Handyman USA LLC.
All rights reserved.