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Old 08-05-2015, 11:38 AM   #1
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Fixing Stair Squeaks


I am trying to fixxing annoying squeaks and creeking from a my carpeted staircase. I had a repair company down, They drove a ton of screws into the treads and risers and seemed to resolve most of the problem. 3 days later all the squeaks and creeking is back. I was told by a number of companies they may not be able to fix this. The company who did the repair. Says there is nothing more they can do with it other than tearing the whole staircase apart.

Just wondering if the stringers on either side should be screwed into the studs on the opposing walls? I did not see any evidence that this has been done. I am curious is perhaps the staircase is moving? Is this something I should do.
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Old 08-05-2015, 12:37 PM   #2
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Squeaks are caused by wood rubbing against wood or wood moving on a nail.

Do you have a full mortise stairs or a stairs with just stringers. Can your stairs be accessed from underneath? If someone (with good hearing) could sit on the stairs as someone walked up or down the stairs, locate the squeak.

I have see where the Scotia mold, under the tread nose, was nailed to the tread and not the riser, the tread gave when stepped on, the mold would rub against the riser and squeak.
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Old 08-05-2015, 12:58 PM   #3
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Its a Stair case with 2 side stringers (no center stringer)
Yes I have access from underneath.
Their appears to be wood blocked glued on to the risers,

So screwing the stair case to the wall is not likely to resolve the problem?

Where should I drive more screws in from underneath? thx
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Old 08-05-2015, 01:15 PM   #4
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2 stringers? How wide are the stairs?Blocks glued to the risers will do no good in most instances.Depending on the width of the stairs there probably should have been a middle stringer.This would not allow your treads to creep when walked upon.
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Old 08-05-2015, 01:26 PM   #5
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Let me make it more clear ..Any stairs should be at least 36" wide and have 3 stringers .At 36" wide with 2 stringers your tread could be rubbing the board in the rise if they wee not properly attached.They could be bowing in the middle and rubbing the skirt on one side or the other or they could be rubbing the wall.
A staircase with two stringers is not a proper staircase.
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Old 08-05-2015, 01:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mako1 View Post
Let me make it more clear ..Any stairs should be at least 36" wide and have 3 stringers .At 36" wide with 2 stringers your tread could be rubbing the board in the rise if they wee not properly attached.They could be bowing in the middle and rubbing the skirt on one side or the other or they could be rubbing the wall.
A staircase with two stringers is not a proper staircase.
Mako, a full mortise stairs usually has only two stringers, if it is built correctly it is usually a good strong stairs. The trick is to make the upper and lower risers carry the weight of the tread and transfer it to the stringers.

doolenberg, Look at the stringers where the tread is mortised into it, cut some long wedges, put some good glue on the wedges and drive them in under the treads at the mortise, this will tighten the tread against the stringer. If this doesn't stop the squeak then the tread is flexing in the center causing the top of the tread to rub against the top of the mortise or the riser is moving up and down. Screw the riser into the stringers and see if that stops the squeak.

If the stringers are rubbing against the studs, lag bolt them to the studs.
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Old 08-05-2015, 02:40 PM   #7
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BigJim: I understand a full mortised stair case and have built several but doubt that is what we are talking about in the OP?
What would make you think it is considering the original post?Could be but without more info who knows?We don't even know the year the house was built?
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Old 08-05-2015, 03:19 PM   #8
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Here is a picture of the Stairs. They are just a normal staircase built in 2002.

http://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details....=true&uli=true

The picture of the underneath is going down. I put those shims in but they do nothing.
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Old 08-05-2015, 04:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mako1 View Post
BigJim: I understand a full mortised stair case and have built several but doubt that is what we are talking about in the OP?
What would make you think it is considering the original post?Could be but without more info who knows?We don't even know the year the house was built?
Mako, when he said side stringers and maybe the whole staircase moving was what lead me to think it was a mortise stairs. I probably took too much for granted.

doolenberg, thanks for the pictures. It does look like the stringers are floating and with the gap between the wall and stringer there is a chance the whole unit is moving and rubbing the studs. I would shim between the stringers and the wall to make it unit tight, then lag bolt it to each stud.

It looks like the treads are plywood, if they are that could cause a lot of flex.
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Last edited by BigJim; 08-05-2015 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 08-05-2015, 04:45 PM   #10
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Jim:I understand .Just don't see a lot of them done that way around here anymore.
Looks like the typical contractor stairs to me.If the carpet was put in originally it could be a couple stringers with some pine or osb risers and who knows what kind of treads.
This leads me to believe that they are just not stiff enough overall or built well enough to avoid some kind of movement.
The movement creating the noise could be anywhere really.
If you have access to the underside ,adding a stringer could really stiffen things up and MAYBE alleviate the issue.Hard to tell without being able to see the structure.
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Old 08-05-2015, 05:03 PM   #11
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Thanks you. Do I remove the Shims once the Bolts are in? Or do I have to leave the shims in once bolted?
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Old 08-05-2015, 05:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doolenberg View Post
Thanks you. Do I remove the Shims once the Bolts are in? Or do I have to leave the shims in once bolted?
Leave the shims in, you might want to glue them in and cut off the excess after bolting.
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Old 08-06-2015, 04:14 PM   #13
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I tried some Shims all the way up the wall last night in various places. It made the problem worse. Hopefully the Bolts will make things better?
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Old 08-09-2015, 12:43 PM   #14
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A few years ago I decided to rip out the builders grade carpeting on our stairs and replace the treads and risers with solid oak. I test fitted one of the new oak treads and noticed some flex in the center and was sure that there would be squeaking if I didn't do something. There is no center stringer and the stairs are 42" wide. I decided to toe nail a 1"x6" board to the stringers under each tread. This prevents the center of the treads from flexing and eliminated all of the squeaks, except for a minor one on the second step, which isn't that bad. This is probably not the way a stair builder would have done this but it's worked for me.
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