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Loose joints or uneven slats? How to silence a squeaky, creaky bed

Laura de Barra shares some tips for identifying the problem – and fixing it.

Image: Shutterstock/New Africa

LAURA DE BARRA regularly brings her lifestyle and home maintenance masterclasses to the Glenveagh Home Magazine on TheJournal.ie. This week: silencing a creaky bed.

If your bed squeaks and creaks with the slightest of movement, you’ll know how frustrating it can be. As well as disrupting your sleep (and sometimes causing a little mortification… wink!) it can also lead to a damaged bed frame over time.

To get to the right solution, you first need to diagnose the cause. Not every squeak or creak is the same and different fixes will be needed. Today you will learn how to fix the most common causes of a squeaking bed, whether the culprit is the bed frame, the slats or the surrounding wall and floor…

Reason #1: The bed frame’s joints are loose

This is a sound that will probably wake you up, as it’s often coming from the top joints, near your head, where the sides are attached to the headboard.

First you need to listen to the type of sound you have. If it is creaking you’re hearing, it could be a wooden piece of the bed that is now sitting a little out of place. Pressure is hitting the wrong part of the bed frame, causing the noise.

If there’s squeaking, a metal element is to blame, most likely a metal fasting, again with too much pressure being applied on the wrong part. All you’ll need to remedy both of these is to tighten up whatever has come loose!

Flat pack beds are much more likely to loosen over time due to the way they are put together, along with their exposed screws and other fasteners.

If you’re hearing creaks or squeaks, work your way around the frame to make sure that all screws or bolts are tightened. This is why it is super handy to tape any tools used to build the bed to the underside, so you’ll always have the right sized allen keys to hand should you need to tighten any parts.

Reason #2: Slats are out of place

If the noise is not coming from corners, it will usually be down to the slats. First of all, take off your mattress and check if all slats are sitting in the right place. If they are sitting as they should, the noise may be from them rubbing at the centre beam when you move through the night.

The solution here is padding: you’ll need something to sit in between the frame and the slats. Any old fabric (I’ve used a pair of tights before) or a small cutting of cork placed between the two will soften and usually stop the squeak.

Reason #3: The wheels on your divan bed need replacing

If it’s your divan bed squeaking when you move the most common culprit is the wheels. If you find that the wheels are old and worn out, you can opt to replace them – it’s usually inexpensive. The wheels themselves are usually an industry standard size, to check if yours are the generic ones, just compare them to images online. To remove them, just pull the offending wheel out with a firm tug, and pop in your replacements. If the condition is okay and you just want to take away the noise, use some WD40 to lubricate, following the directions on the can.

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Reason #4: Your divan’s headboard has a loose fastener

If the squeaking is coming from the headboard on your divan, a loose fastener could again be to blame. Pull the bed away from the wall and you’ll see two big bolts holding the headboard in place against the bed. Tighten them and you should see the noise disappear. These are usually large flat head screws – if your screwdriver head is too small, you can use a butter knife to tighten these up.

If the noise continues, you can also use furniture bumpers to pad the frame at the point at which it meets the wall to reduce the noise.

Reason #5: The floor is to blame, not the bed

If there is creaking from the floor when you move in the bed, this can be easy to fix as well. You will need some padding to spread the pressure, and rugs are ideal for this. If moving or skidding wheels are causing noise and annoyance, replace them with locked wheels, or slot a piece of cork underneath each wheel to stop it moving.

Want more tips and hacks? Laura de Barra’s debut book, Gaff Goddess: Simple Tips And Tricks To Help You Run Your Home is on shelves now, published by Transworld Ireland. Buy it here or in all good bookshops, and follow Laura on Instagram for even more cleaning and lifestyle tips.

More: Soap stains, rust or leftover hair dye? How to give your bathtub a proper deep clean>

About the author:

Laura de Barra

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