A squeaky floor can be very annoying, and the noise can indicate a problem with the floor. Usually, the squeak develops when a wooden floor is very old or gets heavy traffic. Often, you don't need to do any major floor renovation. You can follow the simple steps below to effectively treat and eliminate the noise with regular baby powder.
Step 1 - Determine the Location of the Noise
As wood gets dry, it shrinks. This results in small gaps between the wooden boards, thus causing them to become loose. When someone steps on top of the wood, one of the boards sinks lower, causing friction with the other boards. This friction is the cause of a squeaking floor.
Usually, the boards are fastened to a plywood subfloor, thus making it harder to spot which boards go up or down when stepped on. In order to spot the squeaky spots, have an assistant walk on the wood boards while you listen for the source of the squeak.
If the squeaky floor is located on a level other than the first floor, go downstairs and check if the undersides of the boards are visible from below. Ask your assistant to walk on the floor, and check if some of the wooden boards shift up and down while being walked on. Whichever floorboards move are causing the squeaks.
Step 2 - Secure Loose Wooden Boards
Check if the loose boards are fastened correctly. If the nails or the staples are not secured correctly, are loose or are corroded, it is best to replace them with new nails or staples first, before applying the baby powder. Remove the loose nails or staples and re-secure the boards to the subfloor, by hammering new nails or punching new staples. Walk on the boards once again to check for squeaks.
Step 3 - Apply Baby Powder
Apply a good amount of baby powder between the boards causing the squeaks. Force the powder into the seams using paper towel and a push of a finger. Make sure that it enters the seams entirely. Walk on the floorboards a couple of times as well until it gets through. Let the friction spread the powder on the side edges of the floorboards until the squeaks are no more.
If the seams are too tight to permit the powder to go through, use a thin plastic card to force it into the point of entry. If it is not sufficient to silence the noise, add more and continue stepping on and off the floorboards until the squeaks are fixed. Do the same with all squeaky spots.
After a certain period of time, the fixed areas will need to be replenished with baby powder once again, especially if the floor receives a lot of traffic. Locate the sources of the noise and follow the same process to get rid of the annoyance.