How to Fix Squeaky Floor Under Carpet
LESLIE: Lester in Tennessee is on the line with a squeaky, noisy floor situation. Tell us what’s going on.
LESTER: Well, I’ve got some – a split-level house. And the master bedroom and the garage are on the ground floor and right above the – on the second floor, the floorboards squeak when you walk. It’s carpeted flooring and as you walk across the floor, you can tell exactly where that person is heading and what they’re doing, based on the squeak in the floor.
And because it’s over the master bedroom, my wife has a hard time sleeping when I’m upstairs walking around and vice versa. So we need a resolution.
LESLIE: So, now, the reason why you’re getting a squeaky noise is because there’s some movement between the subfloor and the joist. So when somebody steps now, you’ve got nails that have backed up and you’ve got the subfloor and the joist sort of rubbing together, which is giving you that squeaky sound.
Now, with the carpet, totally not the end of the world. You do need to be able to identify, though, where those squeaks are coming from. And you’ll sort of have to do this in tandem: one person in the master bedroom, one person upstairs sort of stepping so you can kind of isolate where the sound is.
And once you know where that sound is coming from, now you have to locate exactly where that joist is under the carpet and under the subfloor because what you need to do is reattach that subfloor to that joist. And you can do that once you know exactly where everything is, with a nail. That’s totally fine and you’ll have to use a nail, unfortunately, because of the carpet situation.
And you’ll hammer it, actually, through the carpet, reattaching the joist and the sheathing. And then once you’ve got that all put together, you sort of grab the rug by the nap and lift up and you’ll sort of pop that nail through the carpet and just – it’ll still do its job of connecting the joist to the underlayment. Does that make sense?
TOM: And the type of nail that you use is important. You want to use a galvanized finish nail. Galvanized because it’s rough on the outside and has more holding power. And finish nail because it has the smallest kind of head. And this way, the nail can be driven through the carpet or the carpet can be pulled up through the nail head and you won’t see it when it’s done.
And one more tip. When you’re looking for that floor joist, you could use one of the newer – like the Stanley stud sensors that are available today. Super-accurate and they can go pretty deep into a floor. So they’ll go through the carpet, through the subfloor to locate exactly where those joists are. Because it’s really critical that when you place that nail you know that you’re going to hit the floor joist underneath.
LESTER: OK, great. And those are new on the market? Because I have some older ones. You think I need to buy something or rent something?
TOM: The stud sensors?
TOM: Yeah, well, they’re new and they’re pretty expensive – they start at about 20 bucks – but you can certainly try the one you have. And if you – if it doesn’t work, then you can go out and pick up a new one.
LESTER: Twenty bucks is probably worth the sleeping my wife’s not getting.
TOM: Exactly. Lester, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.