We've lived in our present home for a bit more than two years, and we're generally quite happy with it. However, the floor has always been very squeaky, especially in the carpeted areas. When someone was walking around, it really did sound like a haunted house at times, what with all the eery squeaking from the floor.
Although the noise annoyed me, it never did so enough to merit moving all the furniture, pulling up the carpeting, and fixing the problem with some nails. Nor was I much interested in trying to solve it from below, in our roughly 18" tall crawl space. So I just put up with it. Until this week.
A while back, someone told me about this ingenious device that would help you fix squeaky floors without pulling carpet or entering the crawlspace. I was doubtful, and just never seemed to have enough time to investigate further. But with some time off the last couple weeks for the new child (and family in town to help babysit), I finally tracked down the device at Home Depot. It's called (I am not making this up) Squeeeeek No More, and it looks like this (click for a larger version):
The way the device works is you find a squeaky spot on the floor, and then find a floor joist running along that line (they include a tool to help find the joists). Next, put the screw holder down on the carpet, press down around it, and drive the special screw in using their provided power drill insert. Once the screw reaches its limit (the device will only let it go in so far), remove the screw holder, turn it on its side, and grab the head of the screw with the opening seen in the left of the device in the above image. Rock it back and forth a couple times, and the head snaps right off (the screws a pre-scored to break easily). When the head comes off, the screw vanishes from sight beneath the carpet. It's that easy.
Because of the way our home was built, I had it even easier. When I went into the crawl space to check the orientation of the joists, I found that our flooring was built more like a deck than a traditional floor. Instead of joists every 16", they were spaced in a box pattern about 8' on a side, anchored to 4x4s sitting on cement piers. Across the box shapes, a series of 2x4s formed the basics of our floor. On top of that, I'm guessing (as it's not visible from below) is the actual plywood flooring, on top of which sits the pad and carpet. This is probably why our floor squeaks so much to begin with, but it made my job much easier--I didn't have to find any joists; I could just send the screws down wherever I found a squeak, securing the plywood to the 2x4s below.
So after an hour or so and 28 screws (I told you it was a very squeaky floor!) drilled into the floor, I was thrilled to find that our home is now nearly squeak-free. There are a couple spots I missed, which I'll get tomorrow, but it's now possible to walk around without sounding like Casper the Ghost and friends. I highly recommend this thing if you have carpet-covered squeaky floors. (It will also work on hardwood floors, but you'll have to do some patching of the hole when you're done.) A low-tech but very effective solution to a highly annoying problem.