How to Quiet Squeaky Stairs

The only purpose I can think of that squeaky stairs have is to let you know when your significant other has come home late at night. Or maybe they can alert you to the fact your kid is up at night and sneaking downstairs. Otherwise, the sounds of stairs squeaking can be quite annoying. If you have this problem at your house, quiet those squeaky stairs by following these instructions:

Newer houses don’t usually have the “Squeaky Stairs” problem. It’s usually found in older homes when the wood pieces that make up a staircase- the risers, stringers, and steps- have dried and shrunk over time. The nails that hold the wood pieces in place loosen up, and then the noises begin.

In order to quiet squeaky stairs, you’ll need to first find the exact location of the problem. Have an assistant walk up and down the stairs slowly while you listen for the squeaky areas. Since your stairway is composed of three different parts- the risers, stringers, and the steps- the problems have to be in these three areas.

The next step, (pun intended), is to pinpoint the exact location that’s causing the stairs to squeak.
Once you’ve found that, you’ll need to determine the cause of the noise so you’ll know how to fix it.

If, for example the squeak is at the back of a stair step, between the step and the riser, it might be that the two pieces of wood are rubbing together. Sprinkling some baby or talcum powder in between the wood pieces might quiet the squeaky stairs. Since talcum powder is slippery, it will stop the friction between the two pieces of wood.

To fix a squeak that’s coming from the back of a stair step, the problem might lie in the fact that the step is loose. Check the step to see if there are missing nails. If so, replace them, and the squeaking should quiet down. Or, use an electric drill with a small drill bit. Bore a hole into the rear of the step all the way through into the riser. Use a screwdriver to install a long wood screw into the hole. Tighten the screw so that it brings the step and the riser all the way together.

Maybe it’s the riser making all of the noise, and not the step. You can remedy this problem, and quiet the squeaky stairs, by using the same method as described above.

Are you still having a problem with squeaky stairs? If you have pinpointed the problem to be located at the front of a stair step, then you can use one of two ways to remedy this: you can use the electric drill and the wood screw method. Or, you can use a different approach that involves
two small pieces of thin wood. Slide the first piece of wood underneath the step at the far left end. Then, slide the second piece of wood underneath the step at the far right side. If the wood piece stay secure as they are, leave them be. If not, if they tend to slide around, secure them into place by using a good-quality wood glue.

To quiet squeaky stairs that are covered with carpet or a runner, you’ll need to remove the material so you can get to the steps. Or, if you can reach the risers, stringers, and the steps from underneath, you can work on them that way. Since my stairway is completely covered with carpet, I made my squeaky stairs quiet again by working on them from the basement.

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