Preparing Hardwood Floors for Carpet
LESLIE: If you’ve got squeaky floors you might be our friend Cheryl in Massachusetts. Tell us about what’s going on.
CHERYL: We just moved in and I was wondering what we needed to do about if we’re walking on the floors and all we hear is, you know, squeaking. We want to lay carpet, so we were just wondering if there’s something we needed to do before we did that.
TOM: Well, Cheryl, what kind of flooring do you have right now? Is it carpet or hardwood?
CHERYL: It is very, very old hardwood; 1850 pine, probably. It’s a floor with the spaces in between, pretty much.
TOM: Ah. (Leslie chuckles) Well, Cheryl, you need to think about those floors by their technical definition which is charm.
TOM: You can quiet them somewhat and we’ll tell you what to do and it certainly is a good idea. What you would want to do is you would want to screw the floor down to the joists below. So you need to identify where the joists are, then you would face-screw through the loose boards down and once you do that they’ll pull tight to the floor joists and they won’t squeak nearly as much. Have you considered refinishing these because it sounds like they’re pretty beautiful.
CHERYL: We actually just want carpet. We’re very – you know we’re from the South originally so we want – we love, you know carpet being upstairs and so I think that’s what we would do, you know in the end.
LESLIE: Well, you know what? In the long run, if you go ahead and put carpeting down, it usually does very little damage to the hardwood floor below. You’re just dealing with some tack strips along the perimeter of the room. So if you do decide, at some point, to go back to the hardwood and refinish and repair, you’ll at least be protecting the floor with the carpet and carpet is a good choice; it’s nice and cozy.
TOM: Yeah, except if she really wants to quiet the floor down then you really have to screw those floors to the joists below and to do that you’re going to have a lot of visible screws unless you take the time to counterbore each one, which is another …
LESLIE: And plug them.
TOM: And plug them. Yep, exactly.
CHERYL: OK. And if we did decide just to refinish the hardwood, would we have a lot of nails showing? How would we – you said we would have to screw it down?
LESLIE: Oh, yeah.
TOM: And what you would do is you would either use a trim screw – which has a really small head and sort of counterbores itself right through the floor – or you would actually use a plug and cover the top of the head of the screw.
TOM: But you know screws are the best way to quiet those floors because if you use nails they eventually just pull back out again.CHERYL: OK.LESLIE: And Cheryl, the plugs are going to be wood plugs that you’re going to drill a hole that’s going to sit right on top of it and it’s going to fill right in with this wood plug and then you’ll stain it and you won’t even notice it.
TOM: Cheryl, hope that helps you out. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.