Living in a house (especially an older house) is a noisy business. Cabinet doors slam shut. Floorboards creak. Doors squeak on their hinges. What to do (besides moving) if you’re a person who loves peace and quiet? We’ve got a few ideas.
Most American houses are made from wood, and over time, wood can expand and contract. Squeaky or creaky floors are caused by the wood subfloor separating from the joists beneath. This sounds scary, but it can have a pretty simple fix: Isolate the offending spot, find the joist underneath, and drive a nail or screw through the floor to re-connect the subfloor to the joist. The DIY Network has lots of suggestions for fixing squeaky floors: The first few will only work if you have access to the joists underneath the floor, but there are also solutions that can be implemented from above.
If you have a door that squeaks every time you open it, there are a couple of fairly easy solutions to silence them. You can spray a lubricant over the hinge, rub them with a bar of soap, but for a neater and equally effective solution, tap the hinge pins out and coat them in petroleum jelly.
Banging Cabinet Doors
If you have one of these you know exactly what it sounds like—that telltale thud, thud-thud-thud every time you close the door. These foam or plastic cabinet door bumpers will take care of that pretty easily. If that doesn’t do the trick, try these soft closing dampers, which mount inside the cabinet doors and force them to close ever so gently.
Most radiators make a little noise when they turn on, but if you find that yours is exceptionally loud, there may be a way to fix it. Depending on the kind of system you have, the culprit may be either trapped water or air inside the radiator, which can be removed by shimming the radiator so the water drains out, or using a valve to “bleed” the system of extra air pockets. This 1981 article from the New York Times explains things in detail—it’s almost 40 years old, but the technology hasn’t changed much—and is super helpful.
Squeaky Bed Frame
So it isn’t a part of your house, technically, but a squeaky bed can be one of the hardest noisy house problems to deal with, because it continues to plague you when you’re not walking around or opening or closing any doors, and are lying in bed (almost) completely still. The best solution to this is to tighten the joints on your bed frame—or, if that isn’t quite doing the trick, add washers to the joints for a tighter fit. And then there’s always the old sock technique.
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