Repair Squeaky Stairs with This Easy Tutorial

A squeaky stair tread is an annoyance that can easily be fixed with a few basic tools and materials. However, the repair method varies according to whether you repair it from above or below. Included in this article are both methods of eliminating squeaky stairs, ensuring that you will meet with success when you try this easy home improvement project.

Before beginning to stop any squeaky stairs you should know why they occur. Most squeaks happen because tread is not being properly supported by the riser and is able to move around. Squeaky stairs can be caused by a warped board or even poorly assembled stairs. To fix this problem, you must identify which part of the tread is moving. Doing this is simple; just walk up and down the stairs, noting where your foot is placed to create the squeak. Mark these areas with masking tape as you discover them, and then continue with the appropriate repair.

Underneath the stairs

If you have access to the underside of your staircase you should almost always use this repair method to fix squeaky stairs. One advantage is if the underside of the stairs are hidden from view, you will not have to be as concerned with disguising your handiwork. To repair a squeaky tread this way you will only need some small blocks of wood, wood glue, a hammer, and some nails.

Perhaps the easiest way of eliminating a squeaky step is to use small blocks of wood to stabilize the treads and prevent any movement. A piece of a 1″x1″ is perfect for the job. Just apply wood glue on two adjacent sides of the wood. Then stick the piece of wood in the corner created by the tread and riser. Then hammer a few nails through the block and into the riser. Be sure to choose nails that are not long enough to completely penetrate the tread, but are still long enough to reach it to add extra support and stop the squeaky tread.

Above the stairs

There are two different methods that can be used to repair squeaky stairs. The first, and easiest, is to nail through the treads and into the risers to add stability to the stairs. To do this, it is best to have a partner who will stand on the treads to keep them in place. Then the other person should drive nails at an angle through the top of the riser and into each tread. Sometimes if the tread is warped, a screw to should be used instead to hold the stairs in place. Whichever method you use, you should countersink the screw or nail and then putty the resulting hole, sand and refinish the affected treads.

The other method to fix a squeaky step is to use small wood wedges to keep the treads and risers into place. You can buy these small wedges at any home improvement store. Before beginning the repair, you should know what kind of joint is being used to attach the tread to the riser. Most of the time, it is a butt joint, where the two pieces of wood are just placed up against each other and attached with some sort of fastener. In this case, you should coat a wedge with glue and using a mallet drive the wedges as firmly as possible into the crack between the riser and tread. Then trim the wedge with a utility knife so it is flush with the riser or tread.

If your stairs are joined with a rabbit joint or a tongue and groove joint, the process is the same to eliminate a squeaky tread. However, you will only be able to do this by driving the wedge parallel to the tread facing the riser. This wedge placement is less desirable because it is more visible and is not hidden by the tread, but once trimmed you can touch up the wedge with some matching stain or paint to help it blend in.

Fixing squeaky stairs is an easy repair that should only take a few hours to repair the entire staircase. Of course, if you don’t have the time to complete this project, or feel that your squeaky stairs will require extra attention, call a contractor. This professional should be able to identify any problems of concern and prevent any feature squeaks.

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