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A thick, sound-absorbing rub or carpet will help to dampen the sound of squeaks and even reduce the pressure on the floor at any one point, reducing the chance of squeaking in areas prone to this. Carpets or rugs with high Noise Reduction Coefficients are best. Sound absorption pads are also good.
Squeaky floors can be annoying, especially at night when every little noise sounds like an explosion. Rugs are an easy way to dampen or even deaden the noise your floor produces. You’d just have to purchase one and place it over the offending area.
In this article, I explain how carpets can help you reduce the noise produced by squeaky floors. I also explain how you can get rid of the underlying cause of the squeaks because carpets are a band-aid, not a cure.
Carpets Can Only Help, Not Solve
Contrary to popular belief, not only hardwood floors produce squeaks. Laminate and engineered wood aren’t exempt from this annoying occurrence. Squeaks usually occur due to movements in wood that may be caused by seasonal changes, subfloor/joist movement, or movement caused by poorly installed or inappropriate fasteners.
As a result, to completely rid your floors of squeaks, you have to first deal with the underlying cause. That said, if you are not ready to embark on any carpentry project or the squeak is not that much of a bother to you (and any downstairs neighbors!), you can use carpets to dampen the sound that the floor produces so that it isn’t as sharp or as disturbing.
Carpets Can Dampen the Sound
The Carpet and Rug Institute affirms that “carpets work as a sound barrier between floors by helping to block sound transmission.” However, not every type of carpet would be effective in dampening the sound produced by squeaky floors. You’d have to buy a carpet with thick padding.
Thick carpets can dampen vibrations and reduce sound to a reasonable extent, so you wouldn’t have to worry about waking up the entire house or getting a complaint from your downstairs neighbor while walking around at night.
For reduced noise penetration, you can add an absorption pad beneath your carpet. This improve the acoustic performance of the carpet by dampening a decent amount of sound before it reaches the carpet.
The composition of stairs makes them prone to squeaking, so if your noisy stairs are a bother, you can install thick rugs to help reduce the creaky sounds they produce.
For optimal results, it’s best to use carpets that are rated to have soundproofing or sound insulation qualities. Not only will it reduce noise coming from the squeaky floor, but it will also limit sounds from constant foot traffic. This is especially beneficial in upstairs locations, where you wouldn’t have to worry so much about trying to walk quietly.
Thick/Sturdy Carpets Can Reduce Pressure on Floor
The general rule is that thicker carpets offer better sound insulation. The more fibers a carpet has, the better it is at dampening sound.
Thick multi-frayed carpets and tightly woven carpets are great at reducing sound and pressure from the floor. This translates to reduced squeaks, creaks, screeches, or whatever sound you associate with your noisy floor.
Apart from muffling the noise from the floor, thick carpets also distribute body weight beyond the affected area. So, depending on the cause of the creak, they can reduce the sound or even eliminate it completely.
A helpful tip is to check the Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) of the carpet you intend to purchase. A higher coefficient equals a higher sound absorption.
High-traffic areas with squeaky floors are more at risk. Consistent pressure on moving or poorly installed subflooring can worsen the situation. By distributing the pressure caused by foot traffic, you’d reduce the level of damage that the floor might incur.
Best Rugs for Noisy Floors
Real wool is best for dampening sound. However, you can also use carpets made from synthetic materials as long as they are thick and have sound-absorbing properties.
- Super Area Rugs Organic Wool Rug (amazon link)
The rug is made from New Zealand washed wool. With a thickness of over 2″, it dampens floor squeaks while providing a cushioned feeling under your foot.
- Gorilla Grip Thick Fluffy Faux Fur Rug (amazon link)
The rug is made from premium ultra-soft faux fur. It also features a durable rubber backing that is ideal for busy areas in the house. It has a thickness of over 2″, which can considerably reduce the noise from squeaky floors.
- Sonic Acoustics Acoustic Absorption Panel (amazon link)
Sonic absorption panel is crafted from high-density 100% polyester fiber. It provides superior sound insulation than soundproofing foam. Additional benefits include flame retardation, non-slip, odorless, corrosion-resistant, and fade-resistant.
- Rhino Acoustic Absorption Panel (amazon link)
This absorption panel is ideal for a variety of sound-absorbing functions. With its high-density fibers, the rug is effective for sound dampening, deadening, echo reduction, and a variety of sound-absorbing functions.
If you are the downstairs neighbor and the upstairs floor squeaks are becoming more than you can handle, then you can even offer to contribute or pay for a rug for your neighbor.
Best Options for Stopping Floor Squeaks
The best way to prevent floors from squeaking is by fixing the cause of the noise. You can either fix squeaky floors from the underfloor area of your house or from the room itself.
While it is easy to assume that squeaky floors are just normal and you don’t need to worry about them, they can actually indicate a problem, so making efforts to solve the squeak may unearth an underlying and possibly dangerous cause, so you will be glad you made effort.
To fix squeaks from the underfloor, you’d have to first determine the location of the squeak. So, have someone walk above and when they step on a creaky spot, they should notify you by knocking on the spot.
To fix gaps between joists and subfloor:
- Apply carpenters glue on a shim and fit the shim into the gap. Note that you shouldn’t force the shim into position with a hammer. Doing so can cause bumps on the surface above.
- Repeat on every squeaky part of your floor with gaps between the subfloor and joists.
For squeaky floors that are as a result of shrinking or warping joist:
- Nail a 2 x 6 or 2 x 4 piece of wood into the bad joist.
- Apply construction adhesion on the top part of the wood that touches the subfloor.
- Hold the wood against and joists and fasten with the correct screws.
To fix squeaks caused by detachment of floor from subfloor:
- Use a short screw to fasten the subfloor to the floor
- Note that a long screw isn’t suitable for this purpose because it might penetrate into your living space
To fix gaps between floor and joist from above:
- You’d have to first locate the joist in the squeaky area. You can use a stud sensor to do this.
- After you’ve identified the joist, drive a nail or screw through the floor and joist.
- Ensure that the nails or screws are below the surface of the floor.
- Fill the resultant hole with a wood filler.
- If you have carpeting in place, first cut a small hole that’s large enough for the nail or screw to go through.
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