squeaky stairs

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  #1  
Old 03-19-16, 08:17 AM
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squeaky stairs

I have two flights of stairs (split level ranch) both are extremely squeaky . No carpet. For a few stairs, I nailed the treads to the stringer and it has improved. But I think there are some squeak where it is touching the riser .

Q 1: Is nail the right things or should I use counter sink screws ?

Q2: How do I address the squeak near riser ?
 
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Old 03-19-16, 09:37 AM
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Nails may help for a bit, but screws are a better long term solution. Trim head screws need a smaller hole that is easier to patch. If you use nails, use adhesive coated ring shank nails for best long term holding.

Do you have access from underneath the stairs? It's often easier to fix from beneath using glued wedges and screws to tighten up all the joints, and then you don't have to patch all the holes.
 
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Old 03-19-16, 09:53 AM
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Have access under one flight (but not the other). Can you explain how to fix from below ?
 
  #4  
Old 03-19-16, 10:30 AM
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It depends on how your stairs are constructed. If the ends of the treads and risers are let into routed grooves in the side stringers, then you can make wedge shaped shims that you coat with wood glue and drive in to any gaps between the groove and the tread or riser.

If the treads just sit on top of the stringers, then you can also drive glued wedges into any gaps there.

You can screw through the risers into the back of the treads to tighten that connection. Or through the treads into the bottom of the risers, depending on how the stair was built.

You can glue and screw blocks of scrap wood to the joints between the riser and the tread, screwing into both the riser and the tread to pull the two together as tightly as possible.

If you have or want to buy one of the small pocket screw jigs, that's another way to screw treads and risers together or tighten the connections to the stringers.

A good first step is to have someone step on and off each tread at each end and in the middle while you watch from underneath to see and feel what is moving and where; then you can select from the above methods the best way to stop the movement at each point. It also a good idea to have someone stand on the area you are fixing while you are doing the fix; the weight helps tighten the joint while you secure it in the tight position. (That's also a good idea when you are fixing from above)

When working from below, just make sure to choose screw length carefully to avoid punching through the other side. Good luck!
 
  #5  
Old 03-19-16, 10:57 AM
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Here are a couple of pics of stair shims and screws through the riser into the tread.

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My risers were nailed to the treads with a couple of 6d nails. The treads squeaked. I added screws and that quieted them down. The shims will be glued. If you need to tighten them you can probably bust the glue joint or even chisel the old shim out and replace it. I think most squeaks are at the tread/riser joint and adding screws will probably do the job. I had a couple of steps where I could see daylight between the top of the riser and the bottom of the tread. I added caulk to those areas.
 
  #6  
Old 03-19-16, 10:53 PM
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That's one messed up looking set of stair's.
Looks like they used 1/4 round to shim it up for some reason.
Looks like there was no 2 X 4 spacer was used against the wall to allow enough gap for sheetrock and an apron.
Looks like someone used 3/4" material for the stringer.
How far apart are the stringers?
 
  #7  
Old 03-20-16, 01:14 PM
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You aren't telling me anything I don't already know. When I took the old railing down I found that it was attached to the newel with one 2" drywall screw and at the other end to a stud with two 8d finish nails. The newel was attached to the end of the stringer and skirt board with finish nails and nothing else. The shims shown are not 1/4 round, and the "stringer" if you want to call it that is 1X on the one side against a stud wall and 2X on the open side. The 1X stringer is nailed to the studs on the adjacent wall. I don't understand your sheetrock/apron comments. The stringer was installed on top of the sheetrock.

The bottom line is that the stairs are in a 90+ y/o house, although the stairs were done during a large reno in the 70's so they are at least 40 years old. They were there when we bought the house in the mid 80's. The stairs are solid (no bounce or tread sag) and now thanks to me, squeak free.
 
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