A squeaky floor is a fairly common problem in mobile homes.
The best thing is that they usually get discovered immediately, unlike most other floor-related issues.
Nonetheless, squeaky floors seldom progress into a bigger problem – you either fix them or put up with the irritation.
But, Why Does a Mobile Home Floor Make Noise?
Oftentimes it has something to do with the natural aging process of the home but the problem might be elsewhere. If you did some repair work recently and didn’t reinstall the floor properly, that’s most likely the problem.
There are more:
1. Look for Gaps Between the Joists and the Subfloor
Your first stop should be in the joists and the rest of the subfloor – more often than not, the noise issue starts there.
All parts of the floor need to fit snuggly and hold tightly on each other with the aid of appropriate fasteners.
If the joists aren’t firmly attached to the subfloor, the resultant gaps may be large enough to cause the two parts to rub on each other under stress.
If you did some repair work on these parts and left some gaps, it’s time to fill them with shims.
2. Could It Be That Your Joists Are Warped/Twisted?
Back to the joists – maybe they are twisted or warped.
If you used the wrong kind of wood for joists, they likely warped with time to create inconsistencies hence the annoying squeak.
Also, if you used ‘greenwood (let’s just say, wood that hadn’t cured and dried properly), chances are it dried under the floor, creating inconsistencies as well.
3. Friction Between Bolts/Nails and Floorboards or Beams or Both.
Nails and bolts too should hold on the beams and floorboards more tightly or else the parts will move up and down as you walk on them.
If the bolts/nails and boards are the culprits, it’s likely your home has seen better days. It’s time to buy a new replacement.
4. Lord Forbid, Your Floor Could Be Rotting!
Here’s how to tell if your floor is rotting: jump lightly on it. Did you ‘bounce’ as it squeaked?
If you bounced, odds are high it’s rotting.
Oftentimes, as wooden parts rot, soften, and disintegrate with adjoining parts, friction is created which might create noises and a bouncing feel.
A rotting floor can be an ordeal to fix. In most cases, the entire subfloor ends up being replaced.
5. Check for Leaks – Though Rare, They Are Just as Bad
If your kitchen or laundry area seems to be squeakier than anywhere else, rush to any water equipment and inspect the bottom.
Though rare, your dishwasher or washer could be releasing water into the floor and causing chaos.
Water encroachment in the underfloor could lead to localized rotting (more on this later).
6. Undue Weight from Certain Furniture and Appliances
It’s worth remembering that your floor has a limit on what it can comfortably support.
That’s because it consists of wooden parts bolted, nailed together, and linked to the rest of the structure.
If you install very heavy furniture and machines or pile up too much weight in a small place, that specific spot will age faster or develop weakness in the long run.
Often, the trouble starts when you remove the heavy items, not when you install it.
Resultant noise may become apparent immediately or after you’ve removed the heavy items.
If it starts to squeak after you’ve removed a heavy couch, it’s likely the joists were pressed into submission and got used to it and now they’re struggling to rediscover their old self.
Heavy items tend to inflict damages when they stay put or during removal.
7. Maybe Your Floor Just Has Too Much Wood
Wood is great but too much wood can be a problem.
The more wood you have in anything, the higher the chances of friction.
A good example is a wooden staircase – the constituent parts are prone to squeaks more than other parts of the home partly because they are wooden and they are many.
If your floor gets squeakier in the winter than in the summer, the normal expansion and contraction processes could be the culprit. More wood might mean more parts are experiencing these processes.
Don’t get it wrong– expansion and contraction are not limited to wood. Steel and pretty anything else does expand/contract. However, your floor has more wood than steel.
How Do You Fix a Squeaky Floor?
There’s a lot you can do to get your floor quiet again. Normally a few shims would do.
But more intricate situations might require a combination of several corrective measures.
For example, you might need to add shims and a few more bolts/nails to provide reinforcement.
1. Carpenter’s Glue Method
This method works well if the troubled floor is sitting above the crawlspace or basement.
- Start by crawling down the floor and letting the second person walk on the floor while you’re there. As they walk, you should listen to the steps and source of the resultant squeaks.
- Once you identify the source of the noise, take your shims, coat them with the carpenter’s glue, and hummer them into the offending gaps. Watch out not to hammer the shims too deep as it could dislodge some parts and even raise the floor
2. Get Yourself a Squeak Ender
If shims are out of your cards or aren’t working for you, try the Squeak Ender method.
The method relies almost entirely on ‘equipment’ that goes by the name “Squeak-Ender.”
Fortunately, it was specifically designed for this purpose. It is made up of a threaded piece of rod on a flat plate and a hooked steel end.
- Start by screwing the mounting plate tightly under the subfloor. The device comes with two pairs of screws for that purpose.
- Put your Squeak Ender directly under the noisy section of the floor. Proceed to move the bracket along the threaded rod until you can hook it on the joist.
- Rotate the nut on the rod, then fasten it tightly (you can use a wrench) – the subfloor should pull down until it fits snuggly against the joist.
3. Add More Nails and Bolts
If you can establish that the noises are from loose nails and bolts, you can easily resolve the problem by adding a few more bolts or nails at different points.
However, if the structure of the floor is too old, you should be thinking of a replacement.
What About Lubrication?
Yes, you might ask, why not just silence the noisy parts with a few drops of a lubricant?
Lubricants are known to reduce or stop friction, but they don’t really heal it. It might seem to work at the start but may not be sustainable in the long as you will need to keep adding more and more as it wears down.
Also, lubricants work better between metallic parts, not between wood/wood and wood/metal surfaces. Still, it can be a great short-term solution for the problem.
To summarize everything, the main cause of squeaky floors is friction between two parts.
Also, if parts of the floor are rotting or forced to support greater weight than recommended, they may make sounds too.
To know the exact source of the problem, let a person walk on the floor while you’re under it.