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Old 06-02-2008, 02:01 PM   #1
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Stair Tread Replacement Question


I recently replaced several hardwood treads and risers on my staircase leading to the basement. The new treads look great but squeak like a mother, very, very annoying.
So... a little late to ask, but what is the correct way to attach a hardwood tread? Do you guys use mainly construction adhesive, nails, or a combination. The old school nails I used just aren't cutting it, shims aren't helping either.

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Old 06-02-2008, 02:24 PM   #2
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Stair Tread Replacement Question


Not a pro, but I used adhesive, counterbored #8x3" screws and installed a tapered plug for the 1" threads. For the 3/4" risers I used adhesive and 15 ga.x 2" fiish nails. No squeaks.
Can you get under the stairs and cut the old nails with a recip. saw and reinstall with adhesive?

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Old 06-02-2008, 03:03 PM   #3
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Stair Tread Replacement Question


Nails are a no-no, especially vertical nails. That's guaranteed squeaks.

When a trim carpenter builds hardwood stairs, he typically routs a recess in the stair stringers for the ends of the treads and risers to glue into.

If possible, can you get to the underside of the stair jacks and install screws into the treads from the bottom? Stiff angle brackets could be used for this purpose. That should draw them down tight, which will help eliminate sqeaks. I'd install at least one bracket and a couple screws at each stair jack, or at least three brackets per tread.
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Old 06-03-2008, 08:38 AM   #4
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Stair Tread Replacement Question


HVAC system is under the stairs, access is limited but not impossible. It almost sounds easier to pop the treads off and redo them.

At the moment, to fix this, I may need to use a combination of adhesive and
the brackets. Using whichever I am able to access. Man...I should have put a little more thought into this when there was no installed HVAC.

Just curious, original treads(40yrs old) were installed with just standard vertical nails and were rock solid with no squeaks. Mine, installed same way, obviously very squeaky. How were the old ones quiet?
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Old 06-03-2008, 10:20 AM   #5
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Stair Tread Replacement Question


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Originally Posted by Mikedks View Post
Just curious, original treads(40yrs old) were installed with just standard vertical nails and were rock solid with no squeaks. Mine, installed same way, obviously very squeaky. How were the old ones quiet?
Were they glued 40 years ago? Glue will make a BIG difference. You should definately use a high quality wood glue on your installation (Titebond II is my favorite). The slightest difference in tolerance will create a squeak in any nailed flooring or stair tread. All it takes is a tiny gap due to two surfaces not quite mating perfectly for the nail to be able to squeak.

Another option would be to use screws and wood plugs from the top. You'll see the plugs, but they can be made to look nice. The disadvantage to this is you aren't able to glue the tread down.

If you end up trying the angle bracket idea, I'd suggest something as small and as stiff as possible. Otherwise it will allow movement by moving itself. Get something solid, not something like a joist hanger framing angle...Too thin.

Last edited by Termite; 06-03-2008 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 07-14-2008, 02:10 PM   #6
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Stair Tread Replacement Question


If you are going to brave going under the stairs, instead of brackets, try pocket holes. Kreg has a jig (for this you want the individual jig probably) that drills a hole at ~15 degree ange, then you drive the screw. They work great and you can set the depth to make sure the tip of the screw dosen't poke through the tread. But if the hvac stuff under the stairs is going to make it too difficult, you are probably better off pulling it out and starting over.
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Old 07-14-2008, 04:04 PM   #7
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Stair Tread Replacement Question


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Originally Posted by daxinarian View Post
If you are going to brave going under the stairs, instead of brackets, try pocket holes. Kreg has a jig (for this you want the individual jig probably) that drills a hole at ~15 degree ange, then you drive the screw. They work great and you can set the depth to make sure the tip of the screw dosen't poke through the tread.
Very true. Pocket holes are very strong and very handy, and there are endless uses for them. Clamping the jig to the stair jack from the underside will be next to impossible without removing the tread. I don't think Kreg has any clamps with a deep enough throat to secure the jig from the underside of the stair jack. You could probably freehand it by just holding the jig in place, considering that you'll never see the pockets in this application.

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