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Stopping Squeaky Floors

Project Overview

Stopping Squeaky Floors

Floors and stairs squeak when wooden floorboards or structural elements rub against each other, when the bridging between joists flexes under traffic, or when floorboards have not been properly nailed to the subfloor.

6 Steps

  1. Shimming the Subfloor
  2. Cleating the Subfloor
  3. Reinforcing Joists
  4. Driving Screws from Below
  5. Nailing from Above
  1. Anchoring Stair Treads
Show all steps »
Shimming the Subfloor

Step 1

Shimming the Subfloor

If floor joists are not tight against the subfloor in the area that's squeaking, shimming may solve the problem. Wedge shims between the joist and subfloor and tap them into place. Don't pound the shims because they could lift the floorboards and cause more squeaking.

Cleating the Subfloor

Step 2

Cleating the Subfloor

Where several boards in the subfloor above a joist are moving, securing them with a cleat works better than shimming the boards individually. A piece of 1x4, wedged against the subfloor and nailed to the joist solves this problem.

Reinforcing Joists

Step 3

Reinforcing Joists

Squeaking over a large area may indicate that the joists beneath the floor are shifting slightly and inadequately supporting the subfloor. Steel bridging, nailed between joists, keeps the joists from moving side to side and stabilizes the subfloor.

Driving Screws from Below

Step 4

Driving Screws from Below

Drill a pilot hole through the subfloor, then a smaller pilot hole into the finished floor. Have someone stand on the raised boards while you pull them tight with a wood screw.

Nailing from Above

Step 5

Nailing from Above

When you can't get access to the floor from below, drill pilot holes and nail through the surface. Locate the floor joists and nail directly into them for a fastening job that won't work loose. Countersink the nail heads.

Anchoring Stair Treads

Step 6

Anchoring Stair Treads

Driving flooring nails at opposing angles assures they won't come loose again. With hardwood treads, drill pilot holes for the nails, drive the nails into the risers, and countersink the nail heads. Fill the nail holes with wood putty.

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Project Details

Skill Level: Beginner

Time: 1 hour

Before you start, read this »

Due to differing conditions, tools, and individual skills, The Home Depot® assumes no responsibility for any damages, injuries suffered, or losses incurred as a result of attempting to replicate any of the home improvement ideas portrayed in this website Before beginning any home improvement project, review it thoroughly to ensure you or your contractor can finish the project and if any doubts or questions remain, consult local experts or authorities. Because codes and regulations vary greatly, you always should check with authorities to ensure that your project complies with all applicable local codes and regulations. Always read and observe all of the safety precautions provided by any tool or equipment manufacturer, and follow all accepted safety procedures.


  • Wood Shims
  • 1x4 Lumber
  • Ring-shank or Cement-coated Flooring Nails
  • Wood Putty

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