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Floor under the carpet creaks on second floor

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  • Mar 17th, 2010 8:12 pm
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Jan 29, 2007
492 posts
42 upvotes

Floor under the carpet creaks on second floor

Hi All,

I bought this house a couple of years back. This house is about 8 years old now.

Some portions of the floor on the second floor creaked before but now the problem has aggravated a lot. The whole second floor is carpet.

It creaks so bad, that when we try to tip-toe into our 4 month old's room while he is sleeping, we are scared we will wake him up as every step causes a lot of creaking.


How can we resolve this or what is the way out ?

If I get someone to do it, will they have to rip the whole carpet off (as in cut it) ?

TIA
17 replies
Sr. Member
Dec 27, 2007
681 posts
103 upvotes
Oshawa
Bought this kit two weeks ago, with shipping it came to about $30. Used it this weekend with great success. Ours is a new house with berber carpet covering the entire upstairs and we had some squeaks in a few different places. Used my stud finder and the joist finding screw they provided and I fixed everything inside of 30mins.

http://www.squeakyfloor.com/squeek.html
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Feb 16, 2010
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This is an annoying problem. Prior to installing the hardwood floor throughout my home several years ago, I asked my installer to stabilize the floor boards in those areas where the floor creaked. The boards weren't warped so I was able to keep the existing boards but they required additional nailing (perhaps screwing?) to better secure them against the floor joists. I no longer have this problem. With wall-to-wall carpeting, the carpet would be pulled away from the baseboard to expose the plywood flooring. If you have quarter round (although unlikely on carpeting), it will have to be removed. Sometimes baseboard will have to be removed to expose the carpet if there is not enough room beneath the baseboard to allow for the carpet to be nicely tucked in.

That said, I watched a technique on television several years ago where they were able to drive nails into the floor boards directly through the surface of the carpet without the need of pulling the carpet back and without damaging the carpet fibres. I don't know if this application is currently being used but it certainly is well worth inquiring about. This would save you the trouble of having to relocate your furniture to make room for the carpet being rolled back.
[OP]
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Jan 29, 2007
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Thanks for the link, johnnyb.

Okaywihtme, did you have a look at the link johnny posted? Is it similar to that program you saw on tv ?

TIa
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Oct 12, 2007
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Ottawa
Those break off screws look interesting but don't appear to me to be a permanent fix in all cases - if the plywood subfloor and the joist "want" to come apart, the lack of a head on the screw is going to make a difference. But it could take a lot of years - and, by then, hopefully the OP will be out of the baby-wakening stage and/or the carpet is ready to come up. At that point, though, I wouldn't want to be the one to have to remove break-off screws from the subfloor.

My concern about any squeak correction is that squeaks are typically caused by small gaps between the joist and subfloor - usually because of settling or the twisting or shrinking of wood (usually the joist) over time. If you fix the squeak without forcing the subfloor against the joist (and eliminating these gaps), the squeak will come back - as the break-off screw's hold on the subfloor is bound to fail in time.

A good subfloor screw has the ability to draw the subfloor down against the joist and keep it there - due to the design of the top part of the screw (i.e. a head and no threads on its upper portion). But, alas, using regular screws requires an incision to be made in the carpet... > :(

I wouldn't advise against use of break-off screws but suggest using some care when using them: you've absolutely got to know where the joist is and, when you're fixing a squeak, make sure enough weight is applied on the floor directly over the joist.
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Mar 25, 2003
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jonnyb wrote:
Mar 15th, 2010 1:07 am
Bought this kit two weeks ago, with shipping it came to about $30. Used it this weekend with great success. Ours is a new house with berber carpet covering the entire upstairs and we had some squeaks in a few different places. Used my stud finder and the joist finding screw they provided and I fixed everything inside of 30mins.

http://www.squeakyfloor.com/squeek.html
I see it is $19.99 USD
how much was shipping to Canada?? is it like $10 USD???
Sr. Member
Dec 27, 2007
681 posts
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Oshawa
Shipping was around $8, so the total was around $30 Cdn for the kit,

In regards to captsmethwicks comments I see what he's saying but I believe the screws will work fine. The kit comes with a special screw to help locate the joists and then when you do its just a matter of using the tool they provide to drill the screw through the carpet and into the plywood then joist. Yes, the screws dont have heads but the threaded upper part of the screw is what holds the subfloor down when you snap it off. I simply put 2 screws within 1'' of each other where the squeak was so one screw wasn't carrying all the load so to speak. Once the screw bites into the joist I could see the floor being sucked down. Also, no need to worry about damaging your carpet. All in all I put about 10 screws in, missing the joists a couple times when trying to find them and you can't tell that I did anything, nor do you fell the screws when walking over them.
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Nov 19, 2009
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Worked well for me too...I ordered mine online as well, but then saw it at HD a few weeks later...not sure if they still carry it so you may want to call 1st.
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Jan 27, 2007
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Those "headless" screws will not work for long, the squeak will come back over time. That is the easy way out and it just won't last.

If you want to do it properly, you need to pull up the carpet and pad and use proper screws, with heads on them.

It is not hard to put he carpet back down, you just need a "kicker" which you can rent at HD for fairly cheap. You would also need a puttl knife or something similar to tuck the carpet back under the baseboard.
Member
Jun 18, 2009
437 posts
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is it possible to get "seasonal" creaking due to seasonal expansion / contraction? when we bought our home in the summer, there was absolutely no squeeking or creaking, but through the winter we noticed this quite pronounced in certain areas.

we had the carpet replaced before moving in and at the last minute asked the installer to screw down the subfloor before laying new carpet "just in case". he did, but after the fact, we realized that he had used drywall screws instead of wood screws. how big a deal is this? what's the reason that so many people have advised to use wood screws only?
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Jan 11, 2007
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Brampton
creamsoda wrote:
Mar 15th, 2010 10:47 pm
is it possible to get "seasonal" creaking due to seasonal expansion / contraction? when we bought our home in the summer, there was absolutely no squeeking or creaking, but through the winter we noticed this quite pronounced in certain areas.

we had the carpet replaced before moving in and at the last minute asked the installer to screw down the subfloor before laying new carpet "just in case". he did, but after the fact, we realized that he had used drywall screws instead of wood screws. how big a deal is this? what's the reason that so many people have advised to use wood screws only?
I do drywall taping for a living and I come across drywall screws where the heads break off with enough frequency to know the screws are not that strong. I suppose to some degree they would work for screwing down floors if used in sufficient numbers, but would question their strength in the long run if used for flooring purposes.

I've seen some people do this because the screws are inexpensive, but I personally would spend the extra money on proper screws because I know drywall screws are pretty weak.
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Jun 12, 2008
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creamsoda wrote:
Mar 16th, 2010 2:47 am
is it possible to get "seasonal" creaking due to seasonal expansion / contraction? when we bought our home in the summer, there was absolutely no squeeking or creaking, but through the winter we noticed this quite pronounced in certain areas.

we had the carpet replaced before moving in and at the last minute asked the installer to screw down the subfloor before laying new carpet "just in case". he did, but after the fact, we realized that he had used drywall screws instead of wood screws. how big a deal is this? what's the reason that so many people have advised to use wood screws only?
I find the same thing...our floors are much noisier during the winter months and then some areas quieten right down in the warmer weather. I'm not sure that the deal is.
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Nov 12, 2006
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nielboy wrote:
Mar 16th, 2010 6:55 pm
I find the same thing...our floors are much noisier during the winter months and then some areas quieten right down in the warmer weather. I'm not sure that the deal is.
My guess:
winter dry = more room between wood
summer not as dry = wood expands, tightens and prevents noise.

the cross-member(is that the right name?) attaching to the joists can cause noise as well. I glued and screwed plywood to mine and I still get a few creaks but nothing bad at all.

sm
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Oct 12, 2007
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jonnyb wrote:
Mar 15th, 2010 9:50 pm
Shipping was around $8, so the total was around $30 Cdn for the kit,

In regards to captsmethwicks comments I see what he's saying but I believe the screws will work fine. The kit comes with a special screw to help locate the joists and then when you do its just a matter of using the tool they provide to drill the screw through the carpet and into the plywood then joist. Yes, the screws dont have heads but the threaded upper part of the screw is what holds the subfloor down when you snap it off. I simply put 2 screws within 1'' of each other where the squeak was so one screw wasn't carrying all the load so to speak. Once the screw bites into the joist I could see the floor being sucked down. Also, no need to worry about damaging your carpet. All in all I put about 10 screws in, missing the joists a couple times when trying to find them and you can't tell that I did anything, nor do you fell the screws when walking over them.
Just to be clear: I don't want to slam the product. If I was looking for a temporary solution, I might consider the product but I don't consider this to be a long-term repair. Plus, as I previously suggested, I wouldn't want to have to back out one of these headless screws in the future when the carpet finally gets removed. But, if I was only going to be in a house for a few years, maybe...
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