Noisy floorboards. We’ve all experienced one - but how many of us have taken our neighbours to court over it?
This is exactly what Hameed and Inan Faidi did in 2011. Owners of a spacious flat in Eaton Mansions, Cliveden Place - the restless couple complained that although the family above used their flat “in a normal way”, the newly installed timber floor was a “noise nuisance” that brought a swift end to their 15 years of peace inside the residence.
A neighbour, who chose to remain anonymous, stated that “the people in the flat below seem to have been portrayed as fussy but that’s not entirely fair. If it’s causing a nuisance it ought to be sorted out. I don’t think it’s a matter of opinion - it’s in the rules.”
Are you the owner of noisy floorboards? Perhaps it’s loose and creaking? Well, we’re here to help you fix it before you’re sued by your neighbours - or simply driven round the bend.
How To Stop Floorboards Creaking?
Creaking floorboards are a pressing but often overlooked issue in many households. We all want an easy, one-Sunday-only fix - but the truth is, fixing annoying floorboards properly takes time, knowledge and often money.
The most common reasons for creaking floors are:
- Incorrect nails or lack of nails securing the floor to the joists
- Expansion in the summer and contraction in the winter
- Incorrect size or unstable floor joists. Also the incorrect spacing of floor joists
- Lack of timber spacers or “noggins” to keep joists straight and prevent the floor from twisting
- Too large piping/cable holes drilled into joists, weakening them and allowing movement
- Incorrect screw depth for securing the floor to the joists
- Poor screw/nail work resulting in floor movement and floor-wall friction
- Wrong flooring underlay
So, you’ve read the above list and hopefully pinpointed your issue - now what?
Adding Correct And Additional Screws
Perhaps the easiest solution to stop your noisy flooring can often revolve around loose floorboards.
Our solution is simply to add additional screws in order to properly secure your floor to the joists - particularly if there is more than 300mm in-between existing nail placement.
Do this by first drilling a pilot hole and countersink for each screw and finish by covering the screw with wood filler.
Addressing For Temperature and Humidity Effects
Hardwood floors have a tendency to expand in the summer and shrink in the winter due to the natural properties of the wood and seasonal changes in temperature and humidity.
This can effectively cause the floor to part from the subfloor, pulling up glue and nails. To fix this, simply re-secure the wooden floorboards with glue or, as explained above, additional nails.
To help prevent the problem reoccurring, try using a sealing compound - or if you're planning a new floor why not consider Engineered Wood Flooring which considers and compensates for your specific temperature and humidity conditions.
Check For Secure Floorboard Joints
Scanning over the joints of your floor, simply ensure that none of them seems to be springing - they should be completely firm. If you find that a joint is not adequately supported, you will need to lift the board sitting over this joint.
To do this, cut the tongue from the board and delicately (as possible) lift the board and nails up.
Unfortunately, even professionals can damage the board here, so be prepared to pay for replacements. Once the board is uplifted, fix a new joist extension directly under the joint, replace your board and you should be good to go.
It’s also worth knowing that the long joint of your floorboards should always run at right angles to the timber joists.
Fill Floor-Wall Gaps With Small Timber Wedges
If a stud wall is nailed into the floor without a timber spacer or “noggin” directly underneath to house the full length of the nail, this can often cause movement such that there remains a gap between the floor and the wall, causing squeaking.
To tackle this, we recommend filling these gaps with small timber wedges and adhesive - it’s a quick and easy fix.
Identify incorrect Sized and Poorly Supported Joists
If your floor suffers from this timber syndrome, be prepared to put in a lot of time and effort. If joists are completely incorrect in size you may need to replace them entirely.
However, you can sometimes get away with adding much-needed support by simply securing additional joists or “noggins” between the existing joists of a weak area.
This will firm-up your creaking floor and stop it twisting its way into a court of law.
Solid Wood Flooring can be a beautiful, transformative element of any home. But if you don’t know how to treat their intricate issues when they grow old, they transform into a noisy, creaking nuisance.
To keep your hard-earned money away from legal bills and angry neighbours, simply address these clear pointers:
- Add correct & additional screws
- Adjust for temperature and humidity changes / consider Engineered Wood Flooring
- Check for secure floorboard joints
- Fill floor-wall gaps with small timber wedges
- Identify incorrect sized and poorly supported joists
If you're planning on laying your own wood flooring, take a look at our Accessories for useful items such as underlay and wood floor adhesive.