How to Fix Floor Squeaks Under Wall-to-Wall Carpet
LESLIE: William in Illinois is on the line, calling in from Chicago with some squeaky floors. Tell us what’s going on.
WILLIAM: How are you doing, Tom and Leslie? I have a floor and I have – they’re very squeaky in certain spots. When I walk, it’s very squeaky.
WILLIAM: I have wall-to-wall carpeting and in the basement I have a drop ceiling with a lot of conduit running. And I was wondering, is there a way to rid that squeak without tearing up that carpet? Because I don’t know how to get to it.
TOM: Well, the best way to eliminate the squeak is to pull up the carpet and to screw the subfloor down to the floor joist, because it’s most likely that the noise is in the subfloor.
How old is your house, William?
WILLIAM: At least 25 years. And my aunt, they – my aunt and my uncle, they’ve been there forever to me.
TOM: Alright. So if it’s 25/30 years old, it’s probably got plywood as a subfloor. And typically, that plywood squeaks for two reasons: number one, it rubs against the joist and number two, the nails that are used to hold it in get loose and they draw in and out of the floor joist and it makes a squeaky noise. Both of those can be eliminated by securing the plywood better down to the joist.
I’m going to give you a trick of the trade now and it’s not something that you can do the entire house but you could probably tackle the most annoying section of squeak first with this. And here it is. What you can do is you can – first of all, you get a stud finder and you identify underneath the carpet, with the stud finder, where the floor joists are. So you need to know kind of exactly where the joist is to do this.
LESLIE: Tom, do you need a deep scan or can you use any kind to go through the carpet?
TOM: You’re not going to be able to use a cheap one; you’re going to need a good-quality one. And yeah, if it has a deep-scan functionality, like a Zircon or a Stanley – with a good-quality stud finder, you’re going to find that floor joist.
Then what you’re going to do is you’re going to take a galvanized finish nail, like a number 10 or a number 12 or even a number 16 – so it’s a real thick, heavy finish nail – and you’re going to nail right through the carpet, into the subfloor. And keep nailing until you kind of nail the carpet down, so to speak.
And what you’ll see when you look at it is the carpet will have a dimple in it where it sort of pulls in around the nail head. Then you can grab the carpet and you can pull it up through the nail head, so the nail head now drops below the surface of the carpet. Brush the nap and it’ll be invisible.
So this is a way to fix a squeak through carpet without tearing it up. But like I said, you can’t do this all over the house. This is something that I might do three or four nails in an area, where I know it’s particularly bad.
And put those nails at just a slight angle because they’ll hold better that way.
WILLIAM: OK. Slight angle.
TOM: Alright? And that’ll quiet it down. But really, if it gets bad or you ever get ready to change the carpet, what you want to do is pull that carpet up and then use a drywall screw and screw the floor down all over the place. And then it’ll never loosen again.
WILLIAM: Alright. You know what? I really appreciate you guys. I heard you guys when I was driving to New Mexico and now I’m back in Chicago and you guys are wonderful.
WILLIAM: Please keep up the good work. We really appreciate you.
TOM: Thanks, William. Good luck with that project. Appreciate you calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.