Squeaky Floors: Flooring or Foundation Issue

Published On: June 21, 2022

We’ve all heard the sound of a creaking, squeaky floor even if not in our own home. But what if your clients hear this same type of creaking noise in the floors of a fairly new home? Why do floors squeak when you walk on them? Are squeaky floors reason to worry? What could cause floors to give, bounce, or creak? Most of the time the answer lies within the crawl space of a home. Just like other annual home maintenance the crawl space needs attention, too.  Here we will outline a few of the causes of creaking floors, how to correct floors that squeak, and what to consider if your clients are experiencing uneven, bouncy floors.

There are many reasons hardwood flooring squeaks, and sometimes a hardwood flooring professional or carpenter can provide a quick fix for a squeaky problem if:

  • Incorrect nails were used.
  • Nails were inadequately fitted.
  • Swelling and shrinking of wood flooring occurs due to weather changes.
  • Space exists between the flooring and the subfloor.
  • A floorboard is loose or detached.

The movement in loose floorboards, due to shrinking and swelling, incorrect nails, and spacing beneath the flooring, can cause boards to rub together or rub a neighboring floor joist or nail. This is one of the many examples of why you or your clients may hear the noise referred to as creaking or squeaking.

Beyond any quick fix for creaks and pops in hardwood floors, there are also other reasonable solutions that a local contractor may provide. If the property you represent has carpet and the floor squeaks when you walk on it, or if your client owns a basement instead of a crawl space, a professional carpenter could find:

  • The subfloor is uneven.
  • A gap exists between the top of the floor joist and underside of the subfloor.
  • Support joists underneath the floorboards appear to be compromised.
  • The framing beneath the flooring has rotted.
replacing floor

These can begin as simple, affordable repairs, but the extent of repairs needed for a persistent squeak in the floor is often unknown until the contractor uncovers the structural bones of the house.

It is common that the first attempt and sometimes multiple attempts at flooring repairs do not correct the creaking in some floors. If the initial quick fix does not fix the problem, the problem could be bigger, like settlement of the soil in the crawl space. But the opposite is also true: just because you experience creaks in a floor, it does not mean that the homeowner is experiencing settlement beneath the house. If a local carpenter cannot fix the creaking in the floors and the solutions above do not fix the squeaking problem, then it’s time to call a foundation repair contractor. Only once the source of the floor problem is discovered by a foundation repair company can you hope to resolve the squeaking problem if resolution is possible.

uneven floor

If your clients have exhausted their efforts through a carpenter or general contractor and still have creaks in the floor, then hiring a qualified foundation repair contractor puts them on the right path to finding the root cause of the noise problem. A reputable foundation repair contractor will look for the following signs in the crawl space to identify whether or not settlement is occurring:

  • Sagging floor joists
  • Leaning support posts
  • Cracks in concrete block supports
  • Compromised structure (from wood rot, invasive wood damaging pests)
  • Disturbed soil, or new depressions in the crawl space
sagging crawl space
uneven floors

You may also notice other telltale signs in the interior of the home, aside from squeaky floors, that point to possible settlement and other issues going on in the crawl space:

  • Uneven floors
  • Drywall cracks or separation
  • A new space between the baseboard and flooring
  • Doors that stick, or doors that no longer open and close correctly
  • Sinking, sloping floors
  • A new hump in the floor
  • Bouncy floors, soft floors, or floors that give
sticking doors
cracked wall
wooden floor

Because your client’s crawl space could be host to more concerns than just settlement, additional causes of squeaky, creaking floors, or uneven, bouncy floors that a foundation repair contractor should look for include:

  • Moisture in the crawl space
  • Signs of mold, mildew, or other organic growth
  • High humidity

If any or all of these signs are present, you will want to discuss with your clients other repair solutions in addition to fixing the noise in the floors. If a homeowner does not address moisture issues in the crawl space, they will continue to experience similar recurring issues with the floors. A foundation repair contractor will have repair methods for controlling humidity, as well as drainage solutions, if the house needs additional services. A reputable foundation company will not sell you or your client services you do not need.  However, structural repairs may only become repetitive if the homeowner does not control the moisture and humidity in the crawl space before addressing the noise in the floors.

crawl space humidity
wet crawl space
humidity in crawl space

Some of the solutions a foundation repair contractor may offer for squeaky, uneven floors, depending on the crawl space needs are:

  • Adjustable steel support posts
  • Supplemental steel I-beams
  • Steel shims
  • Sister joists or damaged wood repair
  • Encapsulation (for humidity issues)
  • Dehumidifier (paired with encapsulation for humidity issues)
crawl space support jacks
humidifier in crawl space

Solutions for a home with squeaky, uneven floors above a basement or garage may include the following options from a foundation repair contractor:

  • Adjustable steel support posts
  • Supplemental steel I-beams
  • Sister joists or damaged wood repair

The good news is there’s a solution for the creaking, squeaking floor. And, if that solution involves the need for floor support, USS is the one to call. USS installs adjustable steel support posts that include a 5-year transferable warranty for any future necessary adjustments should settlement reoccur. This means that if the ground beneath your client’s home settles again within five years of installation, or if the home experiences settlement due to other issues, USS will adjust the supports at no charge, and both buyers and sellers can walk with ease, knowing the floors are secure.

If the squeaking floors in a property you’ve listed are more than an annoyance and you see other potential signs of settlement like uneven floors or drywall cracking, call USS today for more information on warrantied adjustable floor supports and on restoring the integrity to the floors and your listing.

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