Stair Repairs

Squeaking Stairs

Squeaking stair steps as you walk up and down the stairs are usually caused by a piece of wood rubbing against another piece of wood or a piece of wood rubbing against a piece of metal. As you are standing on the area that is squeaking you will be able to apply pressure with your foot on the space that is squeaking and let the pressure off creating a up-and-down motion. You will be able to pinpoint where the squeak is coming from using this method.

The most common form of stair squeaks are from the nails working there way loose as the wood begins to shrink caused by moisture evaporation from the lumber. Causing the wood stair tread to rub on the nail creating the squeaking sound.

Another form of stair squeaks is when the back of the tread rubs up against the front of the stair riser. This is caused by the wood flexing as pressure is applied to it while walking up and down the stairs. The tread will rub on the front of the riser creating a squeaking sound.

There Are a Couple of Ways to Fix This

If you have carpeting over wood stairs you will be able to screw through the carpeting and the padding into the tread and into the stair stringer. The problem here is actually finding the stair stringer. To find the stair stringer take a hammer and lightly tap on the carpeting above the squeaking sound. You might actually hit the head of the nail and drive it in and temporarily stop the squeak. But more than likely you will have to tap on the tread and listen for sound difference. If you're hearing and feeling a hollow sound then you are not where the stair stringer will be. As you continue tapping tried to feel and listen for a solid sound and you will be in the general area of the stair stringer.

As you locate a solid sound move some of the carpeting strands away and start to screw a 2 inch long screw into the stair tread hoping to hit the stringer. If this screw does not feel like it is grabbing anything and will not pull the stair tread down you probably missed the stringer the stair stringer is usually an inch and a half wide. If the screw did not pull the stair tread tight then remove the screw and move it over an inch in either direction (take your best guess as to which direction). If you do not hit the stair stringer repeat this procedure moving to your right or left until you get the stringer to pull the tread down tight eliminating the squeaking sound.

You might have to put more than one screw in to stop the squeak. This does not require removing the carpeting and you will not see the screws after you are finished. If you find yourself using more than 10 screws to stop a stair squeak you might have structural damage which will require removing the carpeting in the stair tread to solve the problem.

A special note to remember, make sure you screw the screws down to where the head of the screw is not sticking up creating a trip hazard in the stairway itself.

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