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How to fix squeaky floorboards

Perhaps you’ve moved into a new home and discovered that there are floorboards that squeak? Or maybe they've been an issue in your current home for some time now, and you’ve finally decided that enough is enough. The good news is that fixing squeaky floorboards doesn’t take long once you have the knowhow and tools to hand. 

Step-by-step guide to fixing squeaky floorboards

1. Take a closer look

If you have carpet covering the floorboards, you will have to lift it up. Walk on the squeaky floorboard and have a jump. If it feels bouncy, you may need professional help because there could be a problem with the wooden joists underneath the floorboards. If it doesn’t seem bouncy, you should be able to tackle the problem yourself. 

2. Attempt a quick fix

Pour some talcum powder or graphite powder lubricant down the cracks and use a knife to work it in. If your floorboards stop squeaking, you’ll have solved the problem in a matter of seconds. 

3. Look for loose floorboards

If you have a squeaky floorboard that moves, carefully take out any nails holding it down so you can remove it and look underneath (use pincers or a claw hammer). 

If there are any wires or pipes underneath, you will have to be careful when you’re fixing them back down securely. Use a pencil to mark the position of the wires or pipes on the floorboard to avoid any mishaps. Alternatively, use an electric pipe and cable detector. 

4. Choose either nails or brads

To secure your floorboards you could use new screws such as countersunk woodscrews, which are often the best choice if you’re going to be placing carpet over your floorboards. They give great hold and can be unscrewed in the future, if needed. 

If you will be having exposed floorboards, countersunk woodscrews aren’t ideal as the screwhead can become blocked. Instead, opt for brads (blunt L-shaped flat nails). Take care when hammering as it could cause other floorboards to become loose. Also, make sure you don’t use them within 3mm of the end of the floorboard as this could split the wood. 

5. Fixing the floorboard in place

If the floorboard is in good condition, you won’t need to replace it, just the fixings. You can use the existing pilot holes and new screws. 

If the floorboard isn’t suitable to be used again, you’ll need a replacement floorboard. Ideally you need one that’s a similar age. If your floorboards will be showing, perhaps consider moving a floorboard from somewhere that isn’t visible? 

If you’re using screws, you will need to pre-drill some pilot holes into the replacement floorboard, unless it has some already. The screws will pull the floorboard down tightly. For a flush finish you will want to countersink the holes. 

With brads, you must line them up so that they’re running parallel to the wood’s grain before hammering. Give each brad a punch to finish, so that the head of the brad isn’t sticking out. 

You should find that your newly fixed floorboards are squeak-free. 

Are you insured?

Before you undertake any DIY job in your home, you should make sure that you’re covered. If you don’t have home insurance and you accidentally damaged a pipe, for instance, you could be left with an expensive repair bill if it causes a leak. 

Buildings and contents cover could cost less than you think and gives you the peace of mind that, if the worst happened, you wouldn’t have to pay for all the repairs yourself.

Get a quote for Rias home insurance >