How to fix a squeaky floor

We need help with squeaking floors which seem to get worse every day. Our house is 29 years old and has carpeting over all floors except the kitchen, foyer and some tub areas. What is the likely cause and what can be done to correct this problem?
- Angie's List member Mary Jane Pfuetze

The squeaks stem from the subfloor not sitting properly over the floor joists, according to Zoltan Olti, owner of highly rated AYC Group Inc., a home improvement contractor in the Bronx. "This happens over time as the house settles and the wood dries out, causing the subfloor to rub against the joists," he says. "The good news is that correcting this problem should not require the homeowner to pull back the carpet."

After tapping on the floor and listening for a solid sound when you come to a joist, the subfloor should be fastened to the joists where squeaks occur using screws. Specialty products like the Squeeeeek No More system or similar kits can do the job, Olti says.

Roman Rozinka, a highly rated handyman based in Ridgefield, Conn., believes the best solution is to pull up the carpet and secure the subfloor to the joists, using a subfloor adhesive or 2-1/2-inch screws. This method provides the added advantage of clearly seeing where the subfloor is currently attached to the joists.

"It gives you an idea of where the joist is running," Rozinka says. For a 20-foot-by-20-foot room, Rozinka estimated the work would take about two hours, at his $70 per hour rate.

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