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How to Fix Squeaky Floors Under a Carpet in 4 Simple Steps

a pattern red carpet

Squeaky floors can be an annoying problem, especially if someone in your home is a light sleeper or you have children. There is nothing worse than trying to walk quietly at night only to step on a squeaky spot and wake up the whole house.

You may think that you need to remove the carpet to fix the squeaky floor underneath. However, this is not the case. Usually, you can solve your squeaky floor problem without needing to remove the carpet completely. In fact, with just a few simple steps, you can easily fix a squeaky floor in a single afternoon. It is a pretty straightforward process—once you know what you’re doing.

In this article, we will go through all of these steps to help you fix that squeaky floor without too much trouble. You’ll likely be surprised by the ease of this job.

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The 4 Steps to Fix a Squeaky Floor Under Your Carpet

1. Locate the Joist

house floor trusses and joists
Image Credit: ungvar, Shutterstock

This step is probably the hardest because there are not many instructions that we can give you. It’s a matter of luck and a small amount of skill. The hardest part of this job is finding the joist without damaging the wall or carpet. There are several ways that you can do this.

Many people recommend using a hammer. Generally, you will want to smack the floor until you hear a dull thud, as this indicates that you have hit the joist. However, this is difficult to do unless you know what you’re listening for. Therefore, many people attach a wire to their drill and drill through the floor and carpet. Because the wire is so small, you should be able to see the hole, but you’ll fill it if you hit a joist.

With that said, the first method is the most desirable because it does the least damage. However, if you can’t find it on sound alone, you can use the drill method instead.

2. Drill into the Joists

floor joists and trusses
Image Credit: Craig Russell, Shutterstock

Next, you’ll need to drill a hole through the carpet and subfloor into the joist. It is often best to make a hole in the carpet by hand first, which you can do easily with a screw. Typically, if you just start screwing, the drill will catch on the carpet.

If you miss the joist, move over a couple of inches and try again. If you’ve done the previous step correctly, it should be nearby. Next, stretch the carpet as taunt as you can so that you have easy access to the subfloor beneath. Drive the screw through the subfloor and into the joist below.

Once you find the first joist, measure 16 inches apart and locate the next one. All joists are placed 16 inches apart, so finding the second one should be easier. If you move 16 inches and don’t find one, it means you’re moving in the wrong direction and moving with the joists. Therefore, just go 16 inches in a different direction.

3. Use the Alignment and Depth Control Device

shimmed joists
Image Credit: Andrew McDonough, Shutterstock

Next, you’ll need an alignment and depth control device. As the name suggests, this device helps control the alignment and depth of the joists, which should help with your squeaky floor problem.

You will need to push the device into the space you’ve created in the carpet. Then, you’ll need to insert a screw through the device using a screwdriver. It is best to ensure that the subfloor is as tight as possible before you start screwing. You should be able to feel when the screw is in the joist while drilling, which is your indication to stop.

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4. Remove the Screw Heads

structural screws
Image Credit: SERSOLL, Shutterstock

Now, you can use the device to remove the screw heads, which should now be below the carpet. Simply remove the device and place the slit edge on the screw’s head. Jerk the device in one direction and the head should pop off. You’ll need to repeat the process on both sides of where the squeak typically comes from. You can also do it every 12 inches along the joist.

Won’t You Feel the Screws?

If you do this project correctly, then you should not feel the screws at all. The carpet should pad the screws from your feet. Because they are under the carpet, you shouldn’t be able to see them, either. The holes should be small enough that they are unnoticeable. However, it does depend on the carpet you have. Sometimes, the carpet is too thin or short to hide the holes.

In these cases, repairing the squeak will be impossible without damaging your carpet, so you’ll often have to remove that stretch of carpet if you want to repair the squeaks.

Can You Fix a Squeaky Floor from Underneath?

You can fix a squeaky floor from underneath the floor in some cases. However, this is often more difficult to do and can require a professional. Plus, many people can not easily access underneath their floor, which is why we don’t usually recommend this method. If you are accessing underneath the subfloor for a different purpose or can do so very easily, then you may want to consider doing it from underneath instead.

However, generally, doing it through the carpet is easier and takes less time. Plus, you can do this in any house, not just those that have an easy-access space under the floor.

Will Carpet Installers Fix Squeaky Floors?

Usually, this is not their job. You’re paying them to install the carpet, not fix the squeaky floor. This requires completely different tools and a different skill set. Most carpet installers will not know how to fix squeaky floors. Even if they do, they usually won’t repair it as a rule, though they may if you ask and pay them extra.

However, you can ask the carpet installers if there are any problems with the subfloor before they lay the carpet on top of it. They may be able to locate squeaky spots, and then you can hire someone else to fix it before they put carpets down (or you can do it yourself). Either way, this method is much easier than doing it afterward, as you won’t have to worry about the carpet.

carpet roll installation
Image Credit: Andrey_Popov, Shutterstock

Why Does My Floor Creak When I Walk on It?

Usually, creaks and squeaks develop when the wood in your floor is shrinking. This is quite common since the wood will dry out over time. It is particularly common if greenwood was used to build your home, as it has a higher moisture content.

When you walk on the floor, you’re causing the boards to rub against each other and squeak. They are not very stable, in other words. Or, they may be sliding over a nail and causing all the racket. Typically, this latter possibility causes the most noise.

Therefore, stabilizing the floor often prevents the noises, since you’re stopping the rubbing.

Related Read: 9 Family Room Carpet Trends: Design Ideas for a Modern Home

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You can repair a squeaky floor through a carpet with the right know-how. In many cases, the carpet will not be terribly damaged and the fix won’t be visible to the naked eye. However, this does depend on how well you do and the type of carpet you have.

You will need a few specialty tools to make this fix, though. Most people do not have alignment and depth control devices just laying around. However, these tools are usually very inexpensive, so you aren’t going to be spending lots of money—even if you have to go out and purchase everything.

Featured Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay


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