If you're a homeowner, chances are you have encountered a
floor at some point. Those squeaks have nothing to do with
the long-term performance of your floor, but they can become annoying,
especially if they appear in a well-traveled area of your home, like at
the base of your stairs. So how can you alleviate the problem without
tearing up your floors?
There are a lot of "quick fixes" that have received attention
to repair squeaks. One is to sprinkle talcum powder over the squeaky
areas and then sweep it in between the floorboards. This may offer a
short-term fix for the squeak, but it is only a temporary solution. The
squeak eventually will return. Another quick fix recommends sprinkling
powdered graphite lubricant in the same way. Again, this is not a
long-term solution, and in fact, can contaminate the floor in the event
you want to refinish it at some point in the future.
Squeaks in wood floors usually are caused by a loose subfloor,
not loose floor boards. A more permanent fix (that's also "quick")
would be to reinforce the subfloor by pulling it tight to the wood
floor with screws from under the floor -- like in a basement or crawl
space. If you don't have access to the floor from underneath, you also
can use face nails or screws from above, but the nail holes will need
to be filled and finished. Reinforcing the subfloor is the only
permanent solution to a squeaky wood floor.
If squeaks in your wood floor are beyond your tolerance, you
can find a wood flooring professional in your area who can fix them
permanently by visiting the NWFA's web site at http://www.woodfloors.org,
and selecting the "Find a Professional or Product" link.