Are Squeaky Floors A Structural Problem?

Are Squeaky Floors A Structual Problem?

Do you jump out of bed to squeaky floors? A creaking noise is strong enough to wake the entire household at night. To put it rightly, it is capable of driving you nuts. Many people often ask us if this is an issue you can easily repair or if it’s a more complicated task that requires a higher investment. Most importantly, are squeaky floors a structural problem? Keep reading below to find out the answers to all those queries.

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So, without further ado, let’s get into the main question you came here with.

Are Squeaky Floors A Structural Problem?  

Squeaky floors are usually not a structural problem. The common culprits in your home are usually the staircases and hardwood floors. Gaps between the subfloor and floor, humidity, and detached floor joist are some of the causes of these high-pitched chirps. It could also signify an issue with the foundation. The movement could be a combination of friction between the components of the floor system. 

You should only be worried if the squeaking noise is becoming too consistent and irritating. As you look for the noise source, remember to inspect the plumbing and places like sinks for leakages. It could be indicative of a crucial issue in the floor. Sometimes, termite damage can cause problems with the floor.

Common Causes Of Squeaking Floors

There is no need to panic just yet. Squeak or creak doesn’t necessarily pose any threat to the structural integrity of your house. The floor usually squeaks when unintended immovable parts shift. It is often a situation where wood rubs against metal fasteners or other wood. Cases like these do not indicate a potential structural problem. Here are some of the causes of squeaking floors:

Seasonal Change In Humidity Levels

The seasonal expansion and contraction of wooden floors are a few popular reasons for the squeak or creak sound. The wood expands when the air is moist. It is common during summer. In the cold season, the wood contracts, creating gaps between floorboards. On the bright side, the squeaking sound caused by winter will likely disappear after the season. 

Loose Floor Joist

When the squeaking noise is persistent, inspect the flooring joist. The joist is the first and lowest floor layer. Its job is to ensure the floor’s structural integrity. There are cases when the nails holding the joist to the subfloor can get loosened. Thus, the household starts experiencing the annoying creaking sound. 

The Gap Between The Subfloor And The Floor

The nails that hold the floor with the subfloor can become loose over time. The gap created from it can result in a squeaky sound. Screwing or nailing down loose areas may fix the issue.

Problem With The Foundation

It is not a common cause of a squeaking floor. However, severe foundational issues can cause squeaky floors. Foundation issues originate from the shift in the soil underneath the house. One way to remedy this is by employing the service of a foundation repair contractor.

Squeaky Wood Staircase
Old wooden staircases are known to squeak.

How Do You Fix A Squeaky Floor? 

There are definite ways you can put a permanent end to squeaking floors. Finding the source of the problem should be the first thing on your mind. Seek an extra hand in locating the source of the problem from underneath while you step on the squeaky section. Refrain from forcefully hammering in the shim. It can mistakenly raise the subfloor and create a hump on the surface. We understand that not all squeaky floors are easy to access. You can silence the squeaky floors using any of the effective strategies below. 

Repairing Squeaky Floors From Above

It is one of the best ways to fix a creak when finding it hard to access the area. It is not consistently an easy task to access it from above. You should drive the cement-covered flooring nails or ring shank into the seams located in between rubbing parts. Use two nails at opposite forty-five-degree angles into the joist. It is applicable when the squeak is by the separating floors. Use wood filler to fill the hole. You can use a wallboard screw if the squeak is advancing from the floorboards under the carpet. Drive it through the pad and carpet into your subfloor. 

Sprinkling Talcum Powder Into Cracks

Using talcum powder can come in handy on a squeaky floor. Place a cloth over the affected area and slowly work over it to ease the powder into the floor. The talcum powder acts as a lubricant that kills the noise from two components rubbing together. You can also use PVA glue, demonstrated in this Skill Builder Guide.

Use Construction Adhesives To Fill Long Gaps

You can use construction adhesive to fill long gaps, voids, and cracks. Use a caulking gun to perfectly compel the glue into the space between the subfloor underside and the top of the joist. You can repeat the step if you find a gap on the other side. The hardening of the adhesives will stop the squeaking sound. 

Add A Solid Block To The Floor Joists

Adding blocks between the floor joist is another effective way of silencing the creaking noise. You need to cut the dimensional lumber of identical size as the joist. Cut the blocks to fit in between the two joists. Remember to apply construction adhesive along each block’s top edge. Space the blocks evenly along the joists and slide each block tightly against the subfloor’s underside. Use 3-inch screws (drywalls) to fasten the block through the sides of the joists and into the blocking’s end. 

Use A Knife Blade To Reduce The Friction

Opening the gap between the hardwood flooring with a utility knife can offer a quick fix for creaking floors. Use the knife to separate the planks and reduce friction. Do this task carefully with light strokes since the blade can, without a doubt, leave a gap and deep scratch on the floorboards. 

Use A Room Humidifier

Dry air can cause a squeaky floor. It is a common occurrence during the winter season. It could also lead to a recurring problem for homeowners. The wood tends to shrink when it dries. Resultedly, it opens gaps between boards. Increase the room humidity by placing a humidifier in the region where you are experiencing squeaking floors. 

Use A Spray-On Lubricant

A spray-on lubricant might be what you need to put an end to the squeaky floors. Spray a wood-safe dry lubricant to stop the creaking sound. Test the lubrication on the non-visible area to check if the product stains the wood. Do this before attempting to spray the affected area. Spray thoroughly and allow the lubricant to get into the crack. Afterward, use a dry cloth and wood floor cleaner to get the job done. 

Do Squeaky Floors Need Replacement?

Sometimes, replacing a squeaky might seem like a permanent solution. However, there is no assurance that the new floor wouldn’t give you a similar problem if it is poorly installed. It is essential to know the root of the problem before making a decision. Most of the time, squeaky floors need simple fixes to remove such annoying creaking sounds from your home. 

Many people would prefer to live with it than splurge cash on fixes and replacements. Fixing a squeaky floor is a painless and easy process. It won’t take much of your finances as long as the reason isn’t significant. The most vital step is knowing the cause and offering the best solution. Fixing it is a suitable option to pick regardless of the source of the squeaking sound.

There are moments when a fix is not acceptable for squeaky floors. There are wood floors that are too bad to repair. It is associated with significant movement between the floorboard. 

This type of unwanted situation will impede any attempt to make the floorboard look good okay. When the squeaks are indicative of structural problems, it will be required to lift the board. Damages inflicted on the boards during removal would warrant a need to replace the entire floor. Sanding a wood floor too often will cause the nail heads to become more exposed. It will result in misalignment with the tongue and groove joints. Repairing defected floor like this might be momentary before it starts troubling you. 

Replacing a wood floor should be done the right way. A new hardwood floor can serve the household for 30+ years. 

Old Floor Joists
Old, damaged floor joists can often be the cause of a squeaky floor.

Need A Pro To Repair Your Floor?

Lots of our readers often complain that they can’t find flooring professionals in their area. We suggest you try our free estimation tool to get at least three free quotes from qualified & approved installers in your area within 24 hours.

The tool is powered by Networx, who have been helping people find qualified flooring installers for over 20 years.


Are squeaky floors a structural problem? In most cases, the answer is No. There are exceptional cases where the creak might indicate a severe structural problem from poor construction. Before you think of replacing your floorboard, some squeaky floors can be easy to fix once you can locate the root cause of the problem.

Thanks for reading. We hope we have provided answers to some of your queries. Please, feel free to ask us any questions or share helpful tips in the comment section at the bottom of the page. 

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