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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi guys,


I just installed some cove moldings on my existing oak staircase in my 1960 home. The stairs appear to have had cove moldings under the treads at some point in their history (based on pattern seen in paint). I'm guessing they were removed when the stairs were carpeted in the past. They had the carpet removed before I bought the home...coves were not re-installed.


Anyway, my stairs were very quiet. But the unfinished look bothered me (and a few of the risers had unsightly gaps at the top where they meet the tread).


So, I installed 11/16" cove moldings. Now my stairs all squeak/creak. It makes sense I guess. I installed by hand with finish nails. Looking back, some nails may have gone into the risers, and some definitely went into the treads. When someone walks on a step, I can see the treads moving a bit in some cases, and the cove molding moving along with them.


I should have nailed the moldings to the risers or the treads?


(I'm also guessing the some of the treads always visibly moved a bit when walking on the but since they weren't rubbing anything, there was no noise. I really hope me nailing upward didn't loosen anything...doubtful probably.)


Thanks for any thoughts!


Alex
 

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It is probably the cove molding you installed. It is usually Scotia mold instead of cove mold, but that doesn't make any difference. If you can pop the mold back off, shim and glue between the tread and top of the riser, but be sure it is solid as possible all the way across. Hopefully the riser is glued and nailed to the rear of the treads, otherwise it will squeak from there.

It wouldn't hurt to glue and nail the molding back in place also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
It is probably the cove molding you installed. It is usually Scotia mold instead of cove mold, but that doesn't make any difference. If you can pop the mold back off, shim and glue between the tread and top of the riser, but be sure it is solid as possible all the way across. Hopefully the riser is glued and nailed to the rear of the treads, otherwise it will squeak from there.

It wouldn't hurt to glue and nail the molding back in place also.

Thanks! I can try to gently remove the coves without damaging my treads.



As for shimming...anything special about the shims? I have cedar under-coarse shingles lying around...too soft?


And also, when I re-install the coves, should I be nailing to the riser or the tread (if it matters)? And on a related note, I read something somewhere about small pin nails being less likely to make noise. Should I invest in (or rent) a nail gun and do that...or are the finish nails I've be doing by hand fine?


Thanks again!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Maybe the same thing happened to a previous owner & he removed them for the same reason.

It is possible...but the whole main floor and stairs were carpeted, and then the carpet was removed and the oak floors and stairs were refinished prior to our purchase. I'm guessing the cove moldings on the stairs needed to be removed for the carpet to fit properly.
 

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Thanks! I can try to gently remove the coves without damaging my treads.



As for shimming...anything special about the shims? I have cedar under-coarse shingles lying around...too soft?


And also, when I re-install the coves, should I be nailing to the riser or the tread (if it matters)? And on a related note, I read something somewhere about small pin nails being less likely to make noise. Should I invest in (or rent) a nail gun and do that...or are the finish nails I've be doing by hand fine?


Thanks again!!
Cedar would be too soft for shims. I would suggest hardwood like oak, birch maple etc for shims. If the shims are tight enough and the risers are glued and nailed to the back of the treads it won't matter which you nail into.
 

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Naildriver
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I'd also only nail in one direction, not into the tread AND riser. This will create a bind and the molding won't "float". Possibly nailing it to the tread only will allow it to float down over the riser without creaking.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks guys.

One more follow up question...

Ideally how should I be nailing this? I used finish nails, by hand. I did notice that the ones that hit the oak treads were a lot harder to set fully. The risers are not oak and definitely much softer. I worry that all that upward poundig could loosen the tread after I've tightened it up with shims. Should I really be using a nail gun for this? And if so, what kind? I also need to do shoe molding for my entire upstairs eventually...so I would not mind investing in a tool appropriate for a home owner who does occasional small projects.
 

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Naildriver
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It's the 21st century, and everyone should be issued compressors and nail guns at birth :eek: Either rent or buy a compressor, hose and 18 gauge brad nailer to install this with. Too many nails and too few fingernails to hit like you are doing.
 

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retired painter
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With a nail gun you rarely have to set a nail :smile: IMO that is the number one reason to use a finish nailer. Helps too when you eyesight is no longer as good as it once was.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Porter-Cable-6-Gal-150-PSI-Portable-Electric-Air-Compressor-16-Gauge-Nailer-18-Gauge-Nailer-and-3-8-in-Stapler-Combo-Kit-3-Tool-PCFP12234/203471431

Something like this good for a homeowner with no air tool experience?
 

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I bought pretty much that exact kit many years ago and it still serves me well. I just used it last week.

I don't, and may have never used the stapler, but I sure as heck have gotten a ton of use out of the 18 and 16 gauge nail guns.

They are incredibly easy to use and I've never had an issue with mine after probably a thousand nails I've shot with them.

Be warned. A compressor and nail gun will magically create dozens of new projects for you to work on. You might even decide to install some new trim then 5 years later rip all that out and install some entirely different trim. At least that's what has happened to me. :biggrin2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Great to hear!

I was about to ask if something like this is better as there is no compressor hassle:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Ryobi-18-Volt-ONE-Lithium-Ion-Cordless-AirStrike-18-Gauge-Brad-Nailer-Tool-Only-with-Sample-Nails-P320/203810823

But sounds like u have had a good experience with your kit! And I can get attachments and use that compressor to fill car tires, etc, right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
And also..forgive this newbie question...but these guns sort of self adjust to account for wood species, etc? Like I set a desired depth and then it doesn't matter if I'm firing into pine or oak, the gun "knows" how much pressure is needed to sink the nail properly?
 

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retired painter
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I'm not too familiar with the electric or gas nail guns but with pneumatic you adjust the air pressure to coincide with what you are nailing. It takes less pressure for soft or thin wood compared to hardwood. Shouldn't take but a few shots to dial it in. Too much pressure and the nail might blow thru the wood, not enough and it won't be set.
 

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Great to hear!

I was about to ask if something like this is better as there is no compressor hassle:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Ryobi-1...er-Tool-Only-with-Sample-Nails-P320/203810823

But sounds like u have had a good experience with your kit! And I can get attachments and use that compressor to fill car tires, etc, right?


That nail gun is worth every penny, and as to a compressor Ryobi has a battery powered air compressor to fill your tires also,look for model # P737 and it also is a good buy and works like a charm, here's a list of all their tools.

https://www.ryobitools.com/power-tools/products/details/18v-one-plus-power-inflator
 

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And also..forgive this newbie question...but these guns sort of self adjust to account for wood species, etc? Like I set a desired depth and then it doesn't matter if I'm firing into pine or oak, the gun "knows" how much pressure is needed to sink the nail properly?
I haven’t shopped for years but the guns in the kit have a depth adjustment that you can use for different wood and thickness of the wood. Mine is just a knob that you turn to increase or decrease the depth. It’s really easy.

I frequently use both the 16 and 18 gauge guns. So the compressor kit gives you more options than that single 18 gauge gun.

The compressor itself isn’t much or a hassle you just plug it in and turn it on. It’s noisy but they might be quieter now. Releasing the pressure isn’t a big deal either. And yes I use mine to fill the air in my tires as well.
 

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https://www.homedepot.com/p/Porter-Cable-6-Gal-150-PSI-Portable-Electric-Air-Compressor-16-Gauge-Nailer-18-Gauge-Nailer-and-3-8-in-Stapler-Combo-Kit-3-Tool-PCFP12234/203471431

Something like this good for a homeowner with no air tool experience?
Those are good guns and compressor, at least they use to be. That is one heck of a good price also. I have in the past spent twice that for one nail gun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Those are good guns and compressor, at least they use to be. That is one heck of a good price also. I have in the past spent twice that for one nail gun.

Like most things, I'm sure they've been cheapened over the years. Still, probably more than enough for a homeowner small time diy person.


I do need to think about going for a cordless ryobi gun or two, or something like that compressor kit.


Went back over the stairs...really only 5 treads really need attention I think...the rest are silent or barely a peep. So this may not be such a disaster.


Thanks everyone for all of the advice. I will cross my fingers that I'm able to fix them!
 
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