Why Hardwood Floors Squeak

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Anybody who has a hardwood floor will invariably encounter The Squeak. You’ll be walking across the room and, out of nowhere, you’ll put your foot down and hear that telltale noise. The fact is, squeaks are a pretty common issue with hardwood flooring. When we install a new hardwood floor, we do our best to prevent it from sounding like a cheesy horror movie.

Yet there are a few reasons why squeaks happen, and we’ll go over some of them today.

  • Squeaks can happen within the subflooring. Often, if the subfloor is exposed to a dry environment for a long period of time, it will loosen its hold on the fastener. If the subflooring is above one of the main heating ducts, a perfect dry area can be created. Making matters worse, if the subfloor was exposed to moisture before the installation took place, it will expand, then shrink, which means it isn’t at its ideal installation size.
  • Speaking of subflooring, squeaks also take place if gaps exist between the subfloor and the floor joist. It’s not uncommon for a solid wood floor joist to experience shrinkage of a quarter-inch, and that tiny space can be the culprit of a squeak.
  • Ever hear of a hardwood floor cupping? That means the edges of the boards are raised, which causes the fasteners to loosen. The fasteners become less effective, plus it allows a tiny bit of movement between the hardwood flooring and the subfloor.
  • Most often, when a squeak is heard, it’s because of a lack of fasteners. Over time, wood flooring will naturally expand and contract. If an installer runs out of fasteners, the flooring won’t entirely be held in place, and it will become a little loose and create a squeak.

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