Home & Garden

Ask Angie: What can I do about my squeaky floors?

Dear Angie: Our house has carpeting over all of the floors except the kitchen, foyer and some bathroom areas. The first and second floors have areas that squeak and there seem to be more squeaks every day. What can I do?

-- Mary Jane P., Overland Park, Kan.

Dear Mary Jane:

The squeak likely is sections of subfloor rubbing against each other or the floor joists, where nails have come loose. These squeaks occur over time because the subfloor naturally swells, warps and dries with humidity.

There are screws on the market for fixing squeaky floors. These can be screwed right through the carpet to secure the subfloor to the joists without having to pull up the carpet. That usually eliminates the squeak, but it can be a bit of a process, so you might consider bringing in a professional for the job.

For noisy hardwood floors, the more intrusive method is taking up the floorboards, finding the joists and screwing in the floorboards more tightly. You also could drive screws through the floorboards lower than the walking surface, then cover the holes with wood filler. Since both methods disturb the floor's appearance, consider having floors refinished after the repair.

For stairs, you have to get to the backside, using a wood shim to fill the gaps between the stair tread and riser. If the carpet must be removed, you'll want to talk to a professional about the best options for reinstalling or replacing the carpet.