My flooring--second story, carpeted--squeaks. I tried the scored screws solution answered in this question. I covered the entire room and adjacent hallway with scored screws on all the joists, every 6 inches, per the instructions. After the fix, the squeak still exists, but walking around the room/hallway, the squeak now seems to be more localized--specifically, the sound emanates from the edge where the wall meets the floor. I can walk in the middle or the side of the room and the sound still comes from the edge.

How do I fix (or verify) the cause the squeak? I'm happy to provide more info; but I'm not even sure how to proceed to gather more information.

  • Without having access from below, you've likely done all you can do. Do the joists run parallel or perpendicular to the edge where you're hearing the squeak?
    – Tester101
    Commented Jan 28, 2014 at 19:04
  • I agree with tester, scored screws usually do the trick. If you don't have bottom access, or don't want to remove the carpet, your done for now. Consider listing the carpet, screw the underlayment down and reinstall the carpet. Commented Jan 28, 2014 at 20:52
  • I should add. squeaks are always loose wood against wood. not knowing what the floor structure is layered in, makes giving you an answer difficult. Commented Jan 28, 2014 at 20:55
  • We have had squeaks in floors when they were glued and screwed down. They were coming from the joist to plate connection in one case, it has happened in other framing connections too. Hard to fix, those are.
    – Jack
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 2:32
  • @Tester101: The joists run perpendicular to the edge (central wall).
    – JJ Zabkar
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 0:12

4 Answers 4


Squeaking usually comes from two places:

  1. Joists. Loose, overloaded, damaged, braced improperly, not even. Fix is usually lateral support using crosses.

  2. Plywood. Poor quality, warped/damaged, not thick enough, not glued down, not screwed properly or enough, pattern not well thought out (edges should be on joists or supports). Usually have to pull them up to figure out the issue.

In your case you don't want to open up first story ceiling so you need to pull up a couple pieces in high-squeak areas. Figure out what the issue is. If the joists aren't even (note that I didn't say level) the boards will eventually squeak. If there is no cross-bracing then the joists certainly have movement which itself can cause a squeak but also loosen screws or make screw holes bigger over time. These are just common examples. You can keep adding fancy screws every inch but you don't know the root cause yet.

  • 1
    Any recommendations (links) where I can learn about cross-bracing joists?
    – JJ Zabkar
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 0:13
  • 2
    See diy.stackexchange.com/a/38041/5960
    – Bryce
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 8:58
  • @Bryce has a good illustration for cross-bracing. An old carpenter that has done work for me does a combo actually for squeaky floors. He puts a block at the top of the joist and a cross right under. And he staggers this configuration every 2 feet or so in-between each different pairs of joists if that makes sense at all. The key is when you are bridging to form good tension. Not so much that you hammer the 2xs to death but they should hold without nails (you do nail them in).
    – DMoore
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 14:56

The suggestions from @sborsher, @Bryce, and @DMoore were fantastic, and gave me a lot to investigate (and budget) for. However, for my specific case, I had talked to over a dozen contractors. One - Sasha Grote - suggested a fantastically simple & effective solution that fit my budget, was minimally invasive, and even if it had failed, it would have provided a solid actionable data.


  1. Remove the baseboard along the squeaky wall
  2. Using an impact drill, insert 4 inch screws every 3 inches or so.
  3. If it works, DONE
  4. If it doesn't work, you know it's not the wall-anchoring-to-the-floorboard.




Do you have manufactured joists? My previous home was built with them, and some of the floors had a lot of give. Under the Master Bedroom, which was 16X16. we had to take down a center strip of the Living Room ceiling below and install stiffeners between the joists. That helped a lot. We never had a squeak, but we did, initially, have a lot of motion in the floor, which was probably putting a lot of strain at the wall interface.

Also, my office was above the garage, and, although they did finish the garage, they failed to put strapping on the manufactured joists first. That floor had a creaking crunchiness to it as the sheet rock rubbed against the joist as the flexed. I fixed that problem by strapping the garage ceiling below the sheet rock, and then unscrewing the sheet rock from the joists.

I had that house custom built in 1996, and I learned a lot. A full page fax, minimum, went to the builder every Monday morning, after we inspected the work over the weekend; although we did also close the house up every night because there were many storms during that period. This was at the beginning of the big ramp up in house construction that ultimately led to the housing crash.

  • No, the joists are not manufactured.
    – JJ Zabkar
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 0:10

It's time to remove the carpet and use screws with real heads.

It's possible your problem comes from the plywood edge directly against a stud. Your better screws should solve this, else you could try construction adhesive in the crack (remove baseboards first).

If that does not solve it, it may be time to take up sections of floorboard and add cross bracing: https://diy.stackexchange.com/a/38041/5960

  • The "take off the baseboards, add construction adhesive" certainly seems like the least-cutting-invasive option listed here; thanks. I'll have to consider the risks (i.e., mess, further obfuscating complications) if it is unsuccessful.
    – JJ Zabkar
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 0:15
  • I ultimately decided not to go with this option, since the sound was very clearly localized to the base of the walls as opposed to unevenly throughout the rooms.
    – JJ Zabkar
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 3:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.