A.Tandy Reeves, a certified
flooring inspector and CEO of Flooring Inspection
Training Services in Tulsa, Okla., responds:
Unless you have access to the floor joists and
subfloor from underneath, the best approach is to
pull back the carpet and cushion to see where
you're putting the screws or nails. That way,
you'll be able to verify that you're securely
fastening the subfloor to the floor joists and
eliminating the squeaks. After making the repairs,
have an installer put the carpet back properly;
reinstallation is not very expensive.
Where there is access to the floor system from
underneath, you should be able to locate the
squeaky area and correct the problem with
strategically applied shims or blocking and
Keep in mind that there may be finished flooring
covered by underlayment beneath the carpeting, and
the squeaking may be the result of movement between
these layers of wood. In that case, hitting the
joists wouldn't be critical, so fastening through
the carpet might be an option.
I wouldn't use screws, though; unless a screw
runs all the way through the carpet and cushion and
countersinks itself, it could create a dimple in
the carpeting as well as a screw head to step on.
And if the screw should grab some of the carpet,
primary backing, or secondary backing, it could
pull and distort the carpet in that area. Instead,
use pneumatically driven ring-shank nails, which
provide the most holding power but are less likely
to damage the carpet.