Why do wood floors make noise?

Why do wood floors make noise?

Hardwood floors are among the most popular flooring type for homeowners. They add character to your home, and their durability increases your curb appeal. Relators estimate the ROI for wood flooring is 70-80 percent. It can increase your home’s resale value by over two percent. 

Wood floors have also been known to last a long time and offer versatility with different types of wood. But what do you do when your wood floors start to make noise? That can be annoying, and it can also impact the likelihood you’ll get a good ROI. 

First, it’s important to understand why your floors are making noise. 

Types of wood floor noise

Believe it or not, there are different noises that your wood floor can make. It all depends on what the underlying issue is. Here are the most common wood floor noises. 

Wood floor creaking

If your wood floor is older, it’s likely that some creaking is to be expected. However, if you find that your newly installed wood floor is creaking, it can be concerning. Some possible causes are that it needs time to settle and get used to the environment. Your wood floor will need to adjust over the first few weeks, which can involve some moving, even for sealed wood. If this is causing the creaking noise in your wood floor, you can expect it to go away in a few weeks. If it doesn’t, then you’ll have to look deeper to uncover the problem. 

The environment can also cause creaky wood floors. Perhaps there is extra moisture or humidity in your home. It could also be making noise if there is a fluctuation in temperature. Wood expands and contracts as things warm up and cool down throughout the day. If you think this could be the problem, it’s best to check with your professional home flooring company for a solution. 

Wood floor crackles

Some wood floors make a crackling sound when you walk on them. If this is the sound your floor makes, you could have a problem with how the wood and the finish interact. Wood finishes can also react to temperature changes. For example, if the weather warms up and the wood contracts, the finish on the wood will need to adjust and move too. If it is not able to do that, the finish may come apart from the wood. When you walk on this thin layer, it makes a crackling sound. If you’ve been noticing the sound mainly at the floor’s joints, it’s likely that the finish has separated from the wood. 

Wood floor pops

Some homeowners hear a popping sound from their hardwood floors. It can be especially common at night. If this is something that you’ve noticed and concerns you, don’t be. Wood floors react to humidity, which is higher in the day. The popping sound at night is the wood adjusting to a drop in the humidity level as the temperature cools down overnight. If your new floor is making a popping sound, you should give it a few weeks to settle in, and the sound should stop. You can also reduce the amount of humidity in your home by using an air conditioner or a dehumidifier. 

Wood floor squeaks

A squeaky wood floor has to do with movement, and there can be some different causes, including:

Season changes

Changes in the weather can cause your wood floor to expand or contract. If it’s the middle of winter and your floors are squeaky, it’s likely caused by the dry air in your home that has caused your wood floor to contract. When wood floors contract, they can rub against each other easier, causing a squeaky sound. The problem will resolve when the temperature gets warmer, and there is more humidity in the air. Keeping a consistent humidity level in your home can help you avoid this problem. 

Joist issues

Underneath your floor and subfloor are joists. They are horizontal bars in your floor’s framework, and they are there to stabilize the subfloor. If they become loose or if there are any problems with your joists, the other parts of your flooring can move and make noise. 

Unlevelled subfloor

If the subfloor is uneven, it can cause movement in the wood, which results in the squeaky noise. When there is space between your subfloor and wood floor, it allows for movement, causing the annoying noise. You’ll find the same thing happens when your subfloor gets older or sustains water damage. 

How to reduce noise on wood floor 

If noisy wood floors are driving you crazy, there are some things you can try to fix it. These include:


If your wood floor noise is caused by a gap between joists and the subfloor, putting in shims can fix it. To do this, you’ll need to find the exact area where the gap is and wedge the thin wood shim into the space. 

Apply construction adhesive

If the gap is too large for a shim to fix, you can use adhesive to fill and secure the gap. It works for cracks and large empty spaces you find between your joists and subfloor. 

Fix noise joists

If you think the problem is loose joists, you can stabilize them. While this is not an easy task, you can ask your flooring professionals what they recommend. 

Adjust humidity

The amount of moisture in your home can make a huge difference for your wood floor. If you’re still hearing noise from your hardwood floor and it’s been over two weeks since it was installed, you can adjust the humidity in your home. In the winter, run a cool air humidify to add moisture to the dry air. In the summer, use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air. 

For all your hardwood flooring needs, contact Ottawa Diamond Flooring.