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Last modified: 2023-01-11 | Approximate reading time 4 mins
When you come home late at night, you desperately want to try to minimize the sound of your every footstep so as to not wake anybody up. However, this very mission can be hindered by squeaky stairs that may complicate your end goal. Even throughout the day, there is nothing more irritating than the squeak of the stairs at one’s every step.
Remodelling your entire staircase is not always an easy task, however, one must find the source of the problem in order to fix it. In this article, you will come about multiple ways to fix a squeaky staircase.
Identifying the causes of your squeaky wooden staircase is a must before you even consider renovating it. The easiest way to determine the cause of the squeaking is to test each step, one by one. Go up and down the stairs to find the exact location of the problem.
Ask yourself if the squeaking is coming from the front, back, or side of the step. Squeaky stairs are usually a result of dried-out wood and loose threads between the steps. Therefore, the friction causes the squeaking. Other factors can cause this problem, such as the ambient temperature and the humidity of the house, as well as general wear and tear, and a lack of maintenance. Note that poor thread or rise installation can also be a factor in the mix.
Wooden staircases are inherently durable, but still, require upkeep every 10 to 15 years to preserve their appearance and avoid any future damage. First things first, check the degree of physical damage to every step. If they are squeaking, then chances are there are other damages lurking beneath the surface.
If you notice any obvious flaws, then the next step is to check if it is only a superficial problem or if it is a major problem that will require you to change the treads or risers. In the event that the treads are too worn out in the middle or that the varnish and/or paint is peeling, a full staircase renovation is probably best.
If you are a DIY-type person, you can do the work yourself. Check out our staircase renovation guide to find out just how to proceed. However, it is always a good idea to hire a certified contractor to ensure that the repair is done the right way and safely so.
Squeaky steps are commonly caused by loose wooden planks, which will emit a sound when they come into contact with one another. Albeit, there are numerous ways to fix this problem.
This method is fairly complicated and involves rubbing linseed oil or wax into the space between the tread and the riser. This will act as an oil drying agent to thicken the inside of the treads and therefore, avoid further friction between the step and the riser. Note that it is also possible to accomplish the above by using wood glue.
Another way to prevent loose stair boards from rubbing against one another resulting in a squeaking sound is to bridge the gaps between the steps and risers by using ''flipots''. In the woodworking industry, this term refers to a small piece of wood that is inserted into a gap and then concealed.
This method is quite simple and consists of applying a little glue on the flipot before hammering it into the gap that needs to be filled. For this, it is best to position yourself under the staircase, although if you have no choice but to proceed from overhead, you will have to conceal this repair by trimming the flipot at the same level as the riser using a box cutter.
The last method consists of tightening the step and riser by screwing them together to eliminate squeaking. If you can do so from underneath the staircase, just put in a screw and you're done, as it will be unnoticeable. Keep in mind that if the noise originates from the stair riser, you will then need to screw in a piece of wood under the staircase. Note that if your stairs are covered with a carpet or some other lining, you can just lift it and screw the piece of wood directly into the step and riser.
However, if you do not want the screws to stick out, then it is important to widen the hole on the outside so that you can get the screw in deeper and fill in the hole with putty. Once the hole has been filled in, simply allow it to dry, sand it down, and then you are ready to apply a new coat of paint to your stairs which no longer squeak.
However, if you are unable to fix your squeaky stair problem using the above-suggested methods, you may need to look into calling a professional who can determine the cause of the squeaking and provide a better-suited solution.
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Are you worried about damaging your stairs? If so, it is probably best to hire a carpenter. To get the best deal, do not hesitate to ask for three quotes.
Should you be thinking about replacing your staircase instead, check out our article Staircase Renovation Tips: From Installation to Maintenance.
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