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What Causes Squeaky Floors Under Carpets And What To Do About It

Choosing carpets isn’t just about picking a soft, comfortable carpet that will look good with your furniture as well. Installation is a crucial component of the process — if it’s skimped on, you’ll end up with problems like loose carpet, wrinkles, and yes, squeaky floors. Here are some of the main reasons you might have squeaky floors under your carpets.

Problems With The Subfloor

The subfloor is what lies underneath the carpet and carpet padding, and might be made of wood planks, plywood, OSB board, or particle board, laid on top of the joists in the floor and attached with nails or screws.

If the joists aren’t level, the subfloor will gradually work the nails loose and cause small gaps to appear between the subfloor and the joists. When you step on those gaps, the nail squeaks in the loose hole it has made.

Usually, this can be solved by using wood screws to more securely attach the subfloor to the joists. Unfortunately, this work can’t be done while the carpet is still down, so if this is happening in your house, you’ll have to pull the carpet up to fix the problem.

If you’re buying a new house or getting your carpet replaced, ask the installers about your subfloor before they lay the carpet on top of it. Good carpet installers will take a few extra moments to explain your subfloor and what you can do about it.  If our installers can’t help they’ll help to point you in the right direction.

Temperature And Humidity

When wooden boards and planks dry out, they shrink, creating gaps between them that can rub together and cause squeaking noises. Hardwood floors will also shrink in colder weather and expand in the summer, and sudden changes in humidity can have the same effect.

In either case, extra screws and attachments, whether it’s glue or a sealing compound, can help prevent these shifts and creaks.

Poor Installation And Workmanship

Usually, subfloors are attached with glue or nails, rather than screws. Oftentimes, a bead of glue is laid along a joist and the subfloor is laid on top. If the glue is allowed to sit in the air for too long before the subfloor is laid, it begins to set and doesn’t adhere as well.

Nail guns are another way that mistakes can be made in installation. Nail guns are quick and easy, but it’s all too easy for the builder to miss the joist underneath the subfloor when firing nails into it quickly. If the nail isn’t firmly embedded in the joist, it’s not holding the floor down — and even if it is, it can come loose over time.

This is why proper carpet installation is so important. Take the time to talk to your installers about what they’re doing.  Making sure that your carpet (and the floor underneath) it is installed properly will save you a lot of time, money, and hassle down the road.