My subfloor is squeaky, and there's a small window of opportunity I'll have to fasten it down before/during my carpet being replaced. I have available to me a nice corded drill, and an air-powered framing nailer. My chief concern is longevity of the solution, I don't want the floor squeaking again in 5 years. Screws will likely hold longer than nails, but with the way higher nailing rate and the right nails (suggestions?) will nails be a better choice for me?

Cost isn't really a factor, as this is only one job. Carpet installers show up tomorrow :)

  • Opinions vary. I don't mind a squeaky floor.
    – post guest
    Mar 22, 2018 at 10:54

6 Answers 6



  • It doesn't sound like you're reattaching the entire floor; this is more like strategic intervals to solidify the fastening. Your nail/screw rate is not as important as if you were attaching a new subfloor from scratch.
  • Glue and screw is popular for more reasons than just rhyming
  • You're going through this effort to make it right. So do it right.

Don't wait for the carpet installers. Find your worst squeaks, cut through the carpet and padding, and put the screws in there right now. Then you can hit any missed spots and otherwise stay out of the installers way tomorrow.

  • That IS the three-hour window, installers come by first thing in the morning, and I'm still at work tonight. I have other obligations in the evening as well. May 31, 2012 at 22:12
  • 2
    Like this answer. When you're given a three hour window to do a 5 hour job, make a bigger window. But its gonna be hard to find the joists and therefor where to cut carpet with all that carpet in the way. You might want to cut enough at first to find the joist direction/layout. Also, what kind of screws do you intend to use? If you don't use something pretty tough and/or pre-drill and your joists are even a little old you risk snapping a lot of screws.
    – MSlimmer
    Jun 1, 2012 at 4:23
  • With carpeting, the squeaks are almost always were the joists are. If you're having a hard time finding them, cut a bigger hole in the carpet and put a few screws in a line until one catches. The direction of the joists will most likely be the shortest path between two load bearing structures and perpendicular to load bearing walls.
    – BMitch
    Jun 1, 2012 at 10:52
  • Rub some candle wax on the screws, greases them nicely and helps them into old dry wood, minimizes shearing :) Jun 2, 2012 at 0:34

Screws. Nails will pull out over time.


Screws would be the more 'sure' solution, but if your nailer can handle ribbed nails like this:

enter image description here

Or a spiral shank:

enter image description here

they'll hold pretty tight.


We were just advised by a great contractor that screw & glue are definitely the best. We're going to have him redo someone else's work who just nailed an entire new home ...

  • 2
    Other than your contractor telling you it was better, can you provide any information as to why?
    – Steven
    Nov 4, 2012 at 22:14

If you visually compare a nail and a screw, you'll see that the shank of the nails is smooth, assuming regular nails. So, the only thing keeping them secure is the pressure of the material (typically wood) around the shank when installed. In contrast, the shank of the screw has a spiral groove that yields much more resistance to being pulled out of the wood it has penetrated.

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