How To Stop Laminate Floor from Creaking
One of the most common issues that occurs among both hardwood and laminate floors is that they tend to squeak over time. Between foot traffic and seasonal expansion, you may be forced to tiptoe around your own home to avoid making floor noise. Although a creaky floor is not a sign of serious damage, it does indicate that one floor section requires a bit more attention.
So how do you stop a laminate floor from squeaking and creaking? If the cause of the noise is moisture, an insufficient underlay, or a poorly installed subfloor, you can remedy the problem temporarily with talcum powder or construction adhesive. However, for a longer-lasting solution, you may need to install screw mounting or adjustable joist mounts.
Why Your Laminate Floor is Creaking
Floorboards creak and squeak for a number of reasons, depending on the type of flooring you have. Generally, changes in humidity, season, or age can cause a squeaky floorboard, while poor installation may also be a culprit. Squeaking often originates with issues in the subfloor, the foundation beneath finished flooring materials, so it’s best to identify what the problem is exactly before working on a creaking floor.
- Insufficient underlayment: The underlayment goes beneath the hard surface laminate flooring, sandwiched in between the floor and the subfloor. If the plywood underlay (or plywood sheathing) is lacking, the two floors may be rubbing against each other. The friction between them makes noise when you walk over your floor.
- Poorly installed subfloor: The subfloor is the section of flooring attached directly to the joist of the building. If the subfloor is uneven with the floor joist, the source of the creaking is likely the spaces or gaps in between them. Exerting pressure by walking on a plywood subfloor that isn’t levelled may sound like there are mice beneath the hardwood. Another problem with installation often occurs in newer homes, when the subfloor is secured with a nail gun instead of screws. When a nail pulls away, it loosens the subfloor from the joist and creates gaps that creak.
- Moisture: All flooring swells, especially as every building has its own temperature and moisture levels. Although a laminate floor will swell a little less when compared to a solid wood floor or an engineered wood floor, manufacturers would still recommend leaving a 10 mm gap for expansion and adding a moisture-blocking underlayment to the floor. These will prevent the boards from making noise when they expand and rub against each other, the walls, the beading, or the door frames. Protect your laminate flooring by letting it acclimate to the room at least 48 hours before installation to prevent swelling, cracking, or splitting.
DIY Steps to Fix A Squeaky Floor
It’s impossible to fix squeaking, irregular suffixes without removing the flooring and making necessary repairs. However, there are quick (but temporary) fixes to the problem, as well as permanent solutions which take more work. Here are a few DIY steps you can take to fix a squeaky floor board.
The easiest remedy for a squeaky hardwood floor is to sprinkle talcum powder onto the floor surface and work the powder in between the wooden floorboards with a paintbrush. Once you reach the joints surrounding the creaking area, the talcum can lubricate the pieces so they flex silently under foot traffic. Be sure to clean your wood flooring thoroughly to prevent accidents, as talc can be slippery. You can also opt to cover the surface with a carpet to be safe.
2) Construction adhesive
If an uneven subfloor is the culprit, you can lift the laminate boards to access the joist and fix the issue. While you can hire a professional to even out the floor, you can also perform a temporary repair by applying a bead of sealant to stop movement between joist and subfloor. Lock the pieces into place by pushing the glue in with your fingers or a putty knife; as it dries, it works as a buffer to eliminate any floor squeak.
With high-quality laminate wood flooring, you can simply unsnap, lift, then refit them back to look like a finished floor. However, the locking mechanisms may fall apart if you’re lifting a low-budget laminate. This may require you to glue together each floor covering plank once you’re finished with the repair.
3) Screw mounting
For a long-term solution for a squeaky wood floor, you can screw pieces down into the subfloor to eliminate movement. Once you find the offending piece, you can use a drill bit to create a pilot hole into its center. Sink a wood screw — not a drywall screw — through the pilot piece down into the subfloor, pushing the screw head at least 1/16 inch deeper than the surface of the laminate. Finally, find a matching wood putty to cover the screw and hide the repair.
While this solution won’t work for a floating floor installation, you can use this method to adjust the underlayment by re-securing or loosening the subfloor screws.
4) Adjustable joist mounts
If you can access the underside of your engineered wood floors, you can address the issue from beneath. Ask someone to walk upstairs and listen to the floor above you to identify the source of the creak. From there, you can install an adjustable joist mount to the bottom side of the subfloor adjacent to the floor joist near the area where the floor is moving. Attach the bottom half of the joist mount by screwing it into the underside of the subfloor, wrap it over the joist, then tighten the adjustments until the subfloor is secure.
Quality Laminate Flooring Products at Zothex Flooring
Zothex Flooring is a family-owned business, operating in Sacramento since 2004. For our clients, we provide a unique and personalized customer service for flooring. Our team of artists and designed experts will work with you as you design or remodel your home; from start to finish, we’ll help you choose and install the best floor that suits your home and your lifestyle. Call our offices today to learn more about Zothex Flooring’s products and services.