The fix for squeaky floors
My first and second floors have areas that squeak, and there seem to be more every day. My house is about 29 years old and has carpeting all over except in the kitchen, foyer and under some tub areas. What can be done to correct this problem?
- Mary Jane Pfuetze
The problem is the subfloor, not the carpeting, says Jeff Cawood, owner of Cawood Flooring Systems in Cincinnati. Squeaks are usually caused when someone walks across a subfloor that's become loose or shifts due to a lack of nails securing it to the joists below, or loose screws coming in contact with the joists. For between $35 to $45 an hour, plus materials, Cawood says a contractor can nail or screw the subfloor more securely to the joists wherever a squeak occurs and re-install the carpeting.
"However, if you cannot get to the subfloor from the top and the basement is unfinished or has a drop ceiling, you can shim between the joists and the subfloor from below to take care of the issue," Cawood says. Shims, he says, are thin strips of wood placed between floors and subfloors to help reduce gaps causing up and down movement.
For hardwood flooring, the repair is best taken care of during a re-installation or when the floor is first installed, says Adam Shaw, owner of highly rated Shaw Hardwood Flooring in Lebanon, which also services Cincinnati. Or, if your existing hardwood floor squeaks, Shaw suggests installing trim head screws, which have smaller screw heads that can be well-hidden beneath a putty that matches the hardwood.