What Causes a Creaking & Popping Noise in Hardwood Floors?


Any house may benefit from the natural beauty, warmth, and sophisticated design of hardwood floors; nevertheless, these floors can be extremely loud at times. Old flooring tend to settle with time and occasionally develop squeaks and moans, which may become quite bothersome if the problem is not addressed.

When walking over a hardwood floor, it is usual to hear some creaking, but if those loud squeaks, creaks, and pops are beginning to drive you crazy, it is time to hush them. The majority of sounds coming from hardwood floors may be attributed to a few main causes. When a problem is identified, it may just take a few minutes to find a solution.


If you have observed that your hardwood floor is squeaking and creaking more than usual, the most probable explanation of this is that the floorboards are sliding across nail shafts or rubbing against one other. This takes place when the hardwood flooring dries out and contracts, a process that is often brought on by shifts in the air’s relative humidity levels.

Common Causes of Creaking Hardwood Floors

According to Bob Vila, the squeaking and popping sounds you are experiencing are often caused by movement in the area. Your floorboards are able to shift because the flooring timber dries out and shrinks when the home settles since this creates space underneath them. When you walk over the floor, the boards may grate against one another, the wood may grate on a nail, or the subfloor may sink. All of these things may happen.

Alterations in temperature over the seasons may also often have an effect on your flooring. Your floorboards may get dry and shrink as a result of the cold, dry air in your home. This creates space for objects to move about, which may result in noises such as squeaking, creaking, or even popping. Floor Coverings International suggests verifying whether the squeaking happens in the same area all year-round in order to rule out the possibility that the issue is caused by improper installation. If this is the case, it is probably a sign that someone performed a bad job of nailing or spacing the floors in your home.

How to Fix Your Hardwood Floors

You may begin the process of repairing your floor by putting into practise a tip that has been recommended by HGTV. The squeaky floorboard may be quieted by applying baby powder (or baking soda, talcum powder, or powdered graphite) to the surface and working it completely into the seams. The powdered material contributes to the provision of lubricant, which serves to ensure that your floors will no longer grate against one another and produce annoying sounds.

In the event that this does not work, you will need to find the origin of the sound from below. Have someone walk over the floor of your basement or crawlspace as you check for the region of the subfloor that shifts. This will most likely happen around a joist or at the seams of the subfloor. The (narrow) space left between the subfloor and the joists may then be filled with construction adhesive, the amount of which is determined by the size of the gap. When there is a space of half an inch between the floorboards and the joists, carefully insert a shim. To bridge greater spaces, use a 2×4 to reinforce an existing joist.

Tips for Preventing Hardwood Floor Noises

If you hear squeaks and pops coming from your floorboards in the thick of winter, the problem is most likely caused by a decline in humidity. When you turn on the heater on a chilly day, the relative humidity in your house will decrease, and the air will get drier as a result of this change. Because of this, the wood will lose its moisture and will begin to compress; as a consequence, spaces will likely start to emerge between the floors (and loud pops and squeaks may ensue).

Squeaky floors may be greatly alleviated by ensuring that your house has an appropriate amount of relative humidity at all times. According to Lifetime Hardwood Floors, the ideal humidity range for hardwood flooring is between 38 and 42 percent. This range is suggested by the company. Consider making an investment in a hydrometer or humidistat so that you can monitor the amount of humidity in your house and maintain a consistent level of humidity throughout the year. In the winter, low humidity may be a problem, but a whole-house humidifier can assist.