Has it ever happened to you that you are craving a midnight snack, and you almost make it to the kitchen fridge without making a sound, but then the squeaky floor betrays you with a loud noise? Having to quietly move around your home so you don’t step on that one squeaky spot can be infuriating. With weather changing, a lot of homeowners hear similar sounds around their houses.
Floor squeaking becomes more common in many homes after the house starts settling and the flooring lumber dries out and start to shrink. Finding the source of the creaky floor becomes a challenging task, particularly if you are unaware of which spot on the floor has cracked open. If you have carpets installed on your floors, you may find locating that squeaky spot even more difficult.
Carpeting your floor is a great way to protect your house flooring. Despite hardwood floors being a modern option, many people still consider opting for a carpeted floor. Carpets have a style of their own. They are an aesthetic, appealing, and durable option.
But what to do if you have recently installed a new carpet and your floorboard starts to creak under it? Should you rip the carpet off, fix the squeaky floor, and then reinstall the carpets? Taking this route poses a financial burden and it is also time-consuming. The best time to fix a squeaky floor is usually before installing your carpets. And it is a job that should be best left to the professional carpet installers.
What Causes Squeaky Floors Under Your Carpet?
Carpeting your floor is not just about adding a new style to your room or picking a soft, comfortable carpet that goes well with your furniture. Installing a new carpet properly is crucial to avoid problems like wrinkles, loose carpet, and squeaky floors. One of the main reasons for your squeaky floor could be that your carpet has not been installed properly. Here are a few other common reasons why your floor squeaks under your carpet.
1. Your Floor Has Become Old
A floor that has been installed for ages might release sounds while you are moving around the room. An old floor usually doesn’t pose a significant threat but can cause annoying sounds due to its lumber drying up and shrinking. In many cases changing the entire floorboard of your house can be expensive; instead, try fixing your old floor with a new carpet that could conceal the sound of the crackling floor under your feet.
2. Faulty Subfloor Installation
Poorly installed subfloor is one of the common reasons why your floor may make noise. The subfloor is a board frame located right on top of a joist, and is the first layer under the carpet and carpet padding. Usually, a subfloor is made up of wood, plywood, or OSB board. If the joist is not appropriately attached to the subfloor, it will make loud squeaky sounds.
When installing the subfloor, it is important to make sure that the joists are parallel. If the joists are not properly aligned, then the nails that are attached to them will eventually become loose, causing a gap to occur between the joist and the subfloor, which eventually causes the floor to shift. And, when you walk on those gaps, it causes the floor to squeak.
Use Screws Instead of Nails!
The best way to fix a loose subfloor is by using screws instead of nails to join the subfloor to the joist. Nails tend to get loose over time and cause gaps between the subfloor; to avoid this, use screws that stay intact for a longer period of time. If you are building a new house, make sure that you tell your builder only to use screws to join the floors. However, it gets difficult to fix the loose subfloor when you have carpets glued to the floor. Unfortunately, if you have noticed this problem, the only way to fix this is by pulling off the carpet.
To avoid ruining your carpet or flooring any further, it is best that you hire professional carpet installers to fix the issue for you. Good carpet installers examine your subfloor, check the gaps and use the right tools to fix the floor for you.
3. Poor installation
Your floor has to be properly installed and fixed in place. Even a single nail improperly placed can cause several issues, from loose boards to squeaky floors. Builders often use a nail gun to join the subfloor to the joist. Nail guns make the job easier, but they are also very tricky to use. It is important that the nails are fixed in the center of the joist, so they stay in place for a long time. If the nail gun is not placed properly, it can miss the spot. Instead of joining the subfloor to the joist, they may miss the joist entirely or get fixed in a corner. This loose nail then eventually causes squeaking.
It is also best to avoid using glue to connect material. Glue doesn’t hold the objects like nails and screws and dries off with time, causing it to lose its adhesiveness. Carpet installers who use glue to fix the carpet to the floor can also cause the floor to become loose and the carpet to become wrinkled, causing that squeaking sound.
4. The Wrong Carpet Padding
Many house owners don’t realize the importance of putting good quality carpet padding under their carpet. The padding under the carpet is as important as investing in a luxurious carpet. Padding acts as a cushion between the carpet and the floor. It helps to keep the air flowing between the carpet gaps and protects the subfloor from moisture and fungus. It also extends the life of a carpet, protects it from wrinkling, and provides an extra cushion to help it retain its shape.
Padding comes in a variety of types, fabrics, and densities. It is better to opt for a high-quality fabric with higher density to lay on top of your carpet. Higher-density padding withholds more pressure to stay in place for a longer period of time. So, to prevent your carpet from getting loose and to avoid squeaky floors, lay padding between your carpet and the floor. You can also consult with specialists or carpet installers to guide you about which padding to buy.
5. Weather’s Effect on the Floor
If you have wooden boards, you must experience squeaky more often than others—extreme weather conditions and humidity affect the size and placement of the joists. Joists are mostly wooden boards placed horizontally under the subfloor. Wooden boards and planks, after a period of time, dries out and start to shrink, creating a gap between the boards; these boards can also expand if exposed to moisture for an elongated period of time. These loose boards, when rubbed against each other, cause a squeaking noise. Hard floors also shrink and expand with the changing weather. Allowing the floor to acclimate before installing can help with this issue. Using a dehumidifier is also a good option to prevent the floors from changing their shape to avoid having a squeaky floor.
How to Build Floors
Squeaky floors become a lot more difficult to fix after the floor has been carpeted. It requires extra effort as you would have to rip off the entire carpet, and the process is also financially burdening. To avoid this hassle, you can adopt a few steps while building your new floor or replacing your old carpet. The most important thing you need to do is to screw down the subfloor. Using a power drill, drive in 2 to 3 inches hard screw into your subfloor and cement it with the joist. Securing your floor this way would prevent the floors from becoming loose later, and this way, you can stop the squeaking even before they happen.
How to Fix a Squeaking Floor under Carpet: A Step-by-Step Guide
When your floor is squeaking under the carpet, it is best to remove the carpet and replace all loose boards with either a new one or drive hardened drywall screw in place of nails in the floor. But, removing wall-to-wall carpet is not an easy job; it can damage your carpet and floor. To avoid this hassle, you can opt for the following methods to fix the squeaks from above the carpet:
1. Locate the Squeak
The first step to fixing squeaky floors is to find the source in your floor. For this, you can walk on the carpet until you hear the board cracking under your feet. Mark the edge of the squeaky area with a string or a yarn.
2. Find the Damaged Joist
After you have figured out the squeaky area, the next step is that you locate the joist that has become loose. Finding the joist can be painful. There are numerous ways you can use to locate the faulty joist easily. Most of the houses have joists located 16 inches apart. So, if you are able to find one joist, it will make locating the rest of them easier too.
Use a Stud Finder
You can also use a stud finder to find the spot on the squeaky floor. It can make your job easier if you don’t want to use a hammer to find the squeak. A stud finder is a handheld device with an electronic gizmo. It is used in wood buildings to locate the framing stud behind the surface.
If you don’t want to use a stud finder, you can use a hammer instead to locate the faulty joist. Just tap the floor with the hammer’s head in the parallel direction or in a line running along the direction of the joist to locate the gap in the floor. When the hammer hits the gap, it makes a noise. When you hit the carpet with it, the sound will be thicker and solid, and you will hit the joist; the sound will become hollow. Just listen carefully for a dull thud sound over your carpet that would indicate the joist below.
3. Drive Screws into the Joist
After you have located the joist, the next step is to drive the screw into the joist. For this, a tool kit can come in handy; a kit can make the job easier and the process more smooth. But if you can’t find a kit, you can also use a drywall screw. All you have to do is to find deck screws that are 3 inches long, but without at least an inch of top thread. Next, put the screw into the carpet over the joist. Screw it till the head of the screw touches the carpet. Repeat the same process on the other end. Then move to the next joist and put screws into all the ends of the squeaky area.
4. Screw Down the Subfloor to the Joists
Once you drive the screw through each end of the joists, wrap a thread or yarn around each screw, then stretch the string to the other end on the nail. Doing this would create a line for you to follow so you don’t have to find the joists each time, and it becomes easier to screw down the subfloor to the joist. You need to follow this line of the string and use it as a guide to drive the screw into the floor 8 inches apart. You can use a drill driver to fix the screws in place. Complete this procedure with one joist before moving on to the next.
5. Take off the Screw Heads
To hide the screws under the carpet, you would need to break off the screw heads. This step could become a little challenging because the drywall screws are rock solid and are difficult to break off. You can use a pair of pliers, which are designed to grip the head of the screw. Hold the pliers tightly at the top of the screw head, bring it closer to the subfloor, and then move the pliers until the screw head breaks off.
Use the Right Tools
Using the right tools is absolutely critical when you want to fix a squeaky floor. The tools required are:
- Stud finder
- String or yarn
- Electric drill
- Drywall or deck screws
Things to Consider Before Installing a Carpet to Avoid Squeaky Floors
A lot of things can cause squeaky floors, including loose nails, a misplaced joist, and a grossly installed carpet. Installing your carpet perfectly on the floor is crucial for the overall decor of your room. A well-carpeted floor can give your house an inviting and cozy feel. Carpeting floors can be a difficult task, especially if you are doing it by yourself. You may find the whole process overwhelming, more so if you don’t have the right tool. To save your time and effort, take care of the following things before installing your carpet:
Prepare the Area
Before installing your carpet, make sure you prepare the floor well. Check for any loose boards, squeaky joists, and undone screws. Fixing your subfloor before installing the carpet can make your life much easier because if the floors start to make a cracking sound after installing the carpet, then the only way to fix the squeaky floor would be by taking off your new carpet. Also, make sure you buy the right size of the carpet. If your entire floor is not covered evenly with the carpet, it can also cause the floor to make squeaky noises when you step on it.
Install Tack Strips Fitting
A loose carpet is worse than a wrinkly carpet. To make sure your carpet remains secure to the floor and slip-free, install fitting tack strips. For this, you would need to nail trackless strips around the edge of the room, make sure that you leave at least an inch between every two-strip, and then secure them with the help of a hammer or a stapling gun.
Don’t Forget the Padding
A padded underlay makes the floor more comfortable to walk on by creating a cushion between the floor and the carpet. It also adds life to the carpet, prevents it from any damages, and also prevents the floor from making squeaky noises. The padding should cover the edge of the wall but should not overlay the tack strip. Use a carpet adhesive to secure the padding firmly to the floor, so they don’t slip under your carpet.
Installing the Carpet
This step is extremely important for your carpet to be installed perfectly. To install your carpet, you first need to cut out the required size of carpet strips accurately. Then unfold the carpet strips and lay them against the wall from one end of the room to another. Chalk out the excess carpet, use a piece of seaming tape beneath the carpet. Keep the adhesive side up and place your carpet above it. Use a carpet roller or a rolling pin to smooth out any folds in the carpet.
Four Benefits of Hiring Professional Carpet Installers
When it comes to installing a new carpet or replacing the old one, most people think that they could turn it into a DIY project. There are also numerous videos available online that can help you install a carpet by yourself. However, carpet installation requires professional experience. You can be smarter and save a lot of time by hiring professionals with the right tools, experience, and knowledge before laying down the carpet. You need expert help – from measuring the correct size to installing the right carpet padding. Properly placing the carpet is also important to prevent creaking noise and squeaky floors after installing the carpet.
1. Carpet Installation Requires Right Tools
It requires the right tools to install a carpet accurately. There are a wide variety of tools that are required for fixing the carpet neatly on your floor, including carpet knives, knee knickers, power stretches, pliers, and a high power drill. The carpet installers will already have these tools with them and would have the expertise to use them correctly as well.
2. Accurate Assessment
Professional carpet installers would be better equipped and skilled to measure your carpet before installing it accurately. There are a number of things that need to be done before installing a carpet. This includes removing your old carpet and removing the baseboards, and your house may even need a new subfloor. Missing any of these steps could lead to a squeaky floor later. In order to avoid making these mistakes, consider hiring a professional because they are experienced enough to know what steps are necessary to be taken before installing a new carpet.
3. Reduce Wastage
Professional carpet installers accurately measure the dimensions and calculate the material required for the floor before they start their work. This enables them to know the exact quantity of the carpet, padding, and tack strips you would require and hence prevents wastage of material. This also saves you from wasting money on extra material.
4. No Legwork for You
Installing the carpet is a hectic job. It requires a lot of effort and can take days if you are not an expert. To avoid all the hassle, you could consider hiring a professional for you who would handle not only the pre-installation process, but will also make sure your carpet is perfectly installed. You can then sit back and relax and get the work done professionally.
Will Your Carpet Professionals Fix Squeaky Floors?
If you have ever wondered, “will carpet installers fix my squeaky floors?” then yes. Most carpet installers fix squeaky floors even after the carpet has been laid down. In many cases, carpet installers fix the squeaky floors even before installing the carpet. They check for all problems and make sure to resolve them before installing your carpets. It is often best that you leave the carpeting job to a professional to avoid any future hassles.
The squeaking of the floor is a very common issue, especially in the winter season. Creaking sounds and loose floorboards are often caused due to structural problems in the floor, and other times because the carpet hasn’t been installed right. To fix the squeaky floors is easier if you have all the right tools; if not, you can always consider hiring professional carpet installers.
Hopefully, this guide will provide you with all the necessary steps that you need to take to fix your squeaky floor.