Stair Repair: How to Repair a Squeaky Set of Stairs

What You'll Need
A piece of cloth
Countersink bit
2 inch coarse threaded screws
Finishing nails
Quarter round molding or small wood blocks
Wood glue
Knife or saw
Talcum or graphite powder
Wax-putty stick or crayon

Stair repair is sometimes necessary to get rid of those annoying squeaky sounds. Stairs may produce squeaky noises because either the wood dries and shrinks over time, or the supporting nails are loose. Depending on whether you have access beneath the stairs, you can fix them from above or from below. Fixing the stairs from below is easier and has other advantages. The repair work will be invisible. There are also efficient solutions to do a hardly noticeable job from above. Follow these easy step to repair your squeaky stairs.

Step 1 - Remove Carpet

If your stairs are covered, lift the carpet before you start working.

Step 2 - Identify the Squeaky Area

Walk on the stair tread to detect where the squeak originates. It can come from the sides when you step on the center, or it can come from where your foot touches the tread. If the noise comes from the sides or from the rear part of the tread, it is very likely that the entire rear is moving.

Step 3 - Drill a Hole in the Tread

If the front of the tread is squeaking, fix it with nails. Pre-drill a hole in the tread to reach the riser beneath it. The drill bit’s diameter should be slightly smaller than the diameter of the nail you are going to use. Pre-drilling facilitates nail insertion and prevents the tread from cracking.

Step 4 - Drive Nails

Drive the nail into the pre-drilled hole. Driving the nail at an angle will make it more difficult to pull out. Drive at least two more nails into the tread and riser. Space the nails roughly 2-inches from the one another. To increase the holding power, insert all opposing nails at opposite 45-degree angles.

Step 5 - Countersink the Nails

To prevent the head from aligning with the surface of the tread, use the nailset to countersink the nail heads.

Step 6 - Fill the Remaining Holes

Use a wax-putty stick or crayon to fill the hole around the head of the nail. Make sure the color of the wax matches the color of the tread. Wipe the excess wax with a piece of cloth.

Step 7 - Use Talcum or Graphite Powder

If you cannot reach below the stairs, use talcum or graphite powder to stop the squeaks at the rear part of the tread. Force the powder into the line connecting the tread and the riser.

If you can get underneath the stairs, fix quarter round molding pieces or small wood blocks in the corner where the tread meets the riser. When choosing the nails, make sure they are not too long; otherwise, the points will emerge through the tread.

If the rear part needs to be fixed, drive screws through the tread into the riser above it to secure them. Use as many screws as needed.