Possible Causes of Squeaky Timber Stairs and What You Need to Do

10 June 2022

This is a scene you’ve heard and seen in countless horror films: the creaking of a stairway awakens the sleepy homeowner. However, squeaky stairs are a regular occurrence that can be merely inconvenient. Wear and tear on the wooden components of the staircase causes one piece of wood to rub against another or against a metal nail or screw, which in turn causes the staircase to wobble. You should take care of the creak as soon as you notice it, even if it helps you keep track of someone‚Äôs movements or serves as an effective deterrent to sneaking into the kitchen for a late-night snack.

Steps that squeak can be dealt with in a variety of ways. Repairing the stairs from the bottom up is the most effective method in most circumstances. This isn’t always possible, as the staircase is sometimes obstructed from the back by a wall. However, the front of the stairwell can also be repaired. Therefore let’s pretend that the stairwell in its back is inaccessible, so we’ll have to start our investigation at its very front.

Look for the Squeak

First, find the source of a squeaky wooden stair. Where the squeak is originating may determine the repair needed. Mark squeaky stairs with masking tape or sticky notes to pinpoint the source. In the middle of each squeaky step, sway back and forth to determine where the noise is originating from. If a step squeaks from behind, the riser is loose. If the step squeaks from either side, its stringer is probably loose. A stringer is a board attached to each riser on each side of the staircase. The saw-toothed stringer stabilises the staircase. After locating the squeak, choose a repair method.

Lubricate Squeaks

Powdered graphite or talcum powder can be used to fill up the breach between the tread and the riser above it to dampen creaks from the back or sides of the tread. If you use an oil-based product, it can distort wood, become sticky with dust, or leave objects slippery if abused.) Using a piece of paper wedged against the back of the tread, place a little amount of powder onto the paper, and then use your finger, a tightly twisted piece of cloth, or a stiff paintbrush to massage the powder into the split between the tread and the riser. The powder reduces friction, so the rubbing of the two wooden pieces isn’t stopped, but the noise is.

Tighten up Loose Treads With Screws

There is an easy solution to fix the front of your staircase that is making noises: screw in a few #8 screws to tighten up the fit between the tread and the riser; these screws are readily available at any home improvement store. Drill three evenly spaced pilot holes across the front of the tread, where it meets the riser, to begin. Install the three screws by drilling them slightly below the tread’s surface and then driving them in using a masonry bit. There is nothing more dangerous than a screw protruding from the tread. Apply some wood filler in an appropriate colour to cover up the screw heads and small indentations once they’ve been installed.

We at Planet Stairs sell and instal a wide range of stair parts and accessories. If you have any concerns or queries, please don’t hesitate to contact our courteous staff at (03) 9360 4692 or via mobile at 0413 378 773.

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