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How to Fix Squeaky Stairs

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The problem of squeaky stairs is really not too mysterious.

Squeaky stairs are caused by wood rubbing against nail shanks. Because stairs get a lot of traffic, it is almost inevitable that nails will begin to loosen from the wood.

How Not to Fix Squeaky Stairs!

If you are familiar with the process of fixing squeaky floors, this is much the same. You may already know that hammering down loose nails or doubling up on nails is only a temporary fix. The reason is that the squeaky nail is already loose. So hammering it down won’t do much good.

Pounding a second nail in next to the squeaky nail is a little bit better—but only a little. One thing to watch for is whether the new nails will split the stair nosing. This is a definite possibility with old stairs (and why would you be fixing anything but old stairs?)

Screwing Down Loose Treads

The best solution is to pre-drill a hole next to the squeaky nail. Then send in a screw and secure the tread down.

If you have access to the wood—that is, if the stair treads are not covered with carpeting—you can squirt some caulking into any squeaky joints or gaps. Now, keep in mind that the caulk doesn’t glue the joints or cracks together. Caulk acts as a kind of cushion, letting the joint still move—but make less noise. {h3]Get Under the Stairs If Possible It really helps if you can have access to the underside of the stairs. The fix then is much like the fix you would undertake for a squeaky floor. With this method, you can investigate and see if there are any blocks that were attached to the joints between the riser and tread. There may be a chance that the blocks have fallen out or loosened. In this case, you reattach the block with wood glue and finish nails.

Or, underneath the stairs you may find that there are wedges at the riser-tread joint. In this case, you can tap in new wedges along with a light coating of wood glue on the wedges before you drive them in. It doesn’t take much force. In fact, if you force the wedges in too far you risk separating the risers and treads.
Related Video
How to Fix a Squeaky Door Hinge
Fix a Loose Kitchen Cabinet Door
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