Squeaky Laminate Floor Fix, Squeak, Squeak No More
Looking for a squeaky laminate floor fix? Your not alone! Squeaky floating floors are a major concern that occurs with many laminate and other floating floor installations. The good news is that a squeaky laminate floor fix is not out of the question.
In a previous article on squeaky laminate floors we discussed cause of squeaky laminate floors. In this article we offer squeaky laminate floor fix suggestions. These fixes will get rid of, or reduce many of those irritating floating floor squeaks.
Squeaky Laminate Floor Fix Starts With Determining Cause
A squeaky laminate floor fix starts with figuring out why the floor is squeaking. As flooring inspectors our job is to discover the cause. If you are at a loss as to the cause, it may be worth the expense to hire a qualified flooring inspectors such as The Weinheimer Group, to inspect the floor and tell you what is causing the squeaks.
Environmentally Related Squeaky Laminate Floors
Your flooring started to squeak a few weeks or a few months after installation. Before you start tearing up your floor, you may have an environmental issue. With changes in relative humidity and temperature a floating floors expand and contract. This is normal with all floors floating or not so do not get too excited.
If a property is not occupied for periods of time and the HVAC system is not operating your relative humidity can increase or decrease to the point where this is the culprit. Even in an occupied property, most floating floors perform best at 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit, and a relative humidity of 30-50%. Outside of this range you will experience the greatest amount of expansion and contraction and the most squeaks.
The squeaky laminate floor fix here is to control temperature and relative humidity. Temperature 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit, and a relative humidity of 30-50%.
Furniture Related Squeaks
Furniture such as heavy cabinets and pool tables can create pinch points. The flooring is being pinched against the floor by these heavy objects preventing movement.
Try rearranging furniture and see if this helps. Unfortunately you sometimes need to live with these squeaks if you want a floating floor.
Installer Related Squeaky Laminate Floors
As much as we hate beating up on laminate and other flooring installers we often find installation at fault. Now don’t get me wrong, most installers are really good but even the best make mistakes. Believe me, when I installed floor covering I made many mistakes, especially in the early years. After an installer has to perform a couple of squeaky laminate floor fix jobs at their own expense, most will learn the same lesson I learned. Do the job right the first time and you make more money! The good news is that an installation related squeaky laminate floor fix is usually the most successful. The fix may not be instant, after the repair the floor may takes days, weeks or months to stop squeaking. The longer you waited to make the correction, the longer the correction usually takes to work.
Squeaks Near Doorways
If you do not have T-molding in the doorway this is probably the cause.
The squeaky laminate floor fix is to cut out a strip of flooring between the rooms and install the proper T-molding.
Floor installed tight against the casings. Door casings should have been undercut and expansion space left. If expansion space was not left the flooring will be pinched and you will get movement and squeaks. If the floor was cut tight around the base instead of undercutting, you will also get movement and squeaks.
If you are unable to add expansion space you will either need to live with or remove and reinstall the area. Make sure you leave the proper expansion space this time.
Movement and Squeaks Near Walls and Fixed Objects
Squeak or movement next to walls, cabinets, door tracks and other fixed objects is often the result of failure to allow for expansion. As the flooring expands it gets pinched and with pinching comes movement and squeaking.
Add expansion space by undercutting the drywall so the laminate has an expansion zone below it. If you do not have drywall, use a multi-tool or a sharp chisel and hammer to trim the edges of the laminate floor.
Wall Base or Quarter Round to Tight Against Floor
If wall base or quarter round is installed tightly against the surface, the floating floor will be pinched against the subfloor. When pinched the flooring floor cannot properly move.
Remove and reinstall the base leaving at least the thickness of a standard business card above the surface of the floating floor.
Nails or Fasteners
If the quarter round or other transition has been nailed through the laminate flooring, this will also prevent movement and result in squeaks or up and down movement.
Remove and replace the transition. Do not nail through the laminate or place the fasteners right next to the edge of the laminate.
If you have sliding doors, check to make sure that screws were not placed through the laminate without leaving expansion space.
Remove the track or guides. Drill holes through the laminate that are about 3/8 to 1/2″ in size and reinstall the track or guides. Now you have room around the screw for the floor to expand and contract.
Structurally Related Squeaky Laminate Floors
Structurally related squeak laminate floors are usually a bigger problem. These problems should have been addressed before the floating floor was installed. A squeaky laminate floor fix is now more difficult. The floating floor will usually need to be removed before a fix can be made. Hopefully you are just planning your installation and can make the fix before the new flooring is installed.
Squeaking subfloors and not the floating floor are most commonly caused by nail pop. The subfloor was installed with nails and the nails are loosening from the joist.
Nail the floor and eliminate squeaks before installation. Take up the section of floating floor where subfloor moving and renail.
Subfloor Not Flat
If the subfloor is flat the laminate flooring will move up and down in these areas. Most manufacturers require that the subfloor be flat within 3/16″ in 10 ft. or 1/8″ in 6 ft.
Fill low spots or grind down high spots.
Unavoidable Squeaky Laminate Floors
You have eliminated all the other causes of squeaky floors and you still have some localized squeaks.
The Talcum Powder Fix
Talcum Powder is a quick squeaky laminate floor fix that is worth a try. It does not always work but the most you will be out is the cost of a container of talcum powder and your labor.
Sprinkle talcum powder on the seam joints in the area of the squeak. Work into the joints by rubbing in with a paint brush, clean rag or your fingers. Wipe off the access. The talcum powder lubricates the joints they are now rubbing against the powder instead of each other.
Joints Wont Stay Together
The joints of a couple planks keep coming apart. The floor is not locked in. You probably have a low or high area in the subfloor. If you just want to keep the planks together but are willing to put up with the movement and squeaks, try using construction adhesive.
Push a blending color of construction adhesive into the joint, rub it in with a putty knife or your finger, push the planks back together and weight them down as it sets up. This is not the best looking fix but it should keep the planks together.
Note: Do not nail the squeak planks to the floor or you will have a new problem with the surrounding flooring. Good luck with your squeaky laminate floor fix.