Why is My Floor Creaking?

There are many sources of floor creaking, but they all have one thing in common—they’re annoying! The creaking sound can be very disconcerting and difficult to pinpoint, and it can drive you crazy when you’re trying to sleep or relax. Let’s take a look at the most common causes of floor creaking and ways to solve it, allowing you to enjoy peace and quiet once again.

The basics

Floors creak for one of two reasons: movement and settlement. The first culprit is easy to spot—you’ll notice obvious signs that a floorboard has moved slightly, like gaps between planks or shifted furniture. Settling, on the other hand, tends to be more subtle; you may not even realise your floor has shifted until you hear a telltale creak as someone steps on it.

Old houses

Homes that are more than 100 years old have seen a lot of activity. There’s only so much you can do to maintain a structure before it starts to give way. If your home is more than 100 years old and you notice any movement or new creaking sounds, invest in an inspection to see if anything structural is happening, giving you the opportunity to fix it before damage is caused.

New construction

In new homes, creaks are usually caused by settling. It’s normal for a new build to make a variety of sounds in its first year as it settles into its foundation. Give it a little time, and if the creaking continues, give your point of contact a call—new homes are covered for snagging and if there is an issue, contractors are obliged to fix it. 

The obvious – loose nails and screws

When floorboards are installed, they’re often nailed into place. Over time, those nails can get loose and begin to fall out. If one nail falls out of a board, it can cause that board to move around and could loosen up other boards connected with it. Because of how interconnected flooring is, if you have a creaky spot in your home it may be hard to figure out where exactly that squeak came from—in which case, call in an expert.