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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings,

I am putting the finishing touches on my "rebuilt" stairway. I have an external 11' maple skirt on one side of the stairway. The stairway was COMPLETELY quiet until I *nailed* a single piece of 3/4 x 5/8 oak scotia under the lower edge. Then it squeaked and creaked like crazy. I have since removed it (completely quiet again) and am going to replace it with a piece of maple scotia (same dimensions).

The big question: Nail it? (didn't work well with the oak piece), Glue it? (if so with what) Or both?

I used this: http://www.loctiteproducts.com/p/pg_ca_hduty/overview/Loctite-Power-Grab-Heavy-Duty-Interior-Exterior-Construction-Adhesive.htm when constructing the rest of the stairway.


If anyone can clear this up for me, it *may* save my marriage. It would be unfair at this time to mention which side I am on and which one my wife is on.

Thanks.

P.../NH
 

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Where did you install the Scotia mold under the tread or elsewhere? It sounds like you nailed it under the skirt, if you did was it the skirt on the open side of the stairs? I am sorry that I am unclear where it was installed.
 

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Hi Jim,

Thanks for the reply. Here is a pic that might help. Yes, it is under the external skirt board on the edge of the 1x12. The pic shown is as it stands. No trim on it (yet).
Thanks

Paul.../Nh
That is a first for me and I have been at it for 42 years, I have never see a squeak from the molding on an outside skirt. That skirt has got to be moving to cause a squeak, if, it is coming from the Scotia. I always just nailed mine as glue wasn't necessary. Make a mark under the skirt and have someone go up and down the stairs or maybe even bounce, watch the mark and skirt to see if there is any movement, there should not be any movement there at all. Is the sheet rock nailed to the stringer under the skirt board or is the sheet rock butted to the bottom of the skirt?

I can see a squeak with the mold under the tread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Keith & Jim,

Once again, tnx for the replies.

Attached are two more pix that may help. I took them when I had the stairs apart. As you can see I used the existing "carriage". IE Stringers etc. I did have to shim and level quite a bit during the rebuild.

The first pic (that's marked up) is taken, at the bottom of the steps, looking just about straight down on steps 1 and 2 (if the treads were there). They're not. It shows the geometry of the components.

The other one is taken from diagonally opposite of the one in the first post. You can see the OLD (pine) skirt in this pic.

IIRC, the new, maple skirt is nailed through the sheetrock. I am pretty sure I got through to some "meat". IE either the edge of the cap plate, or the studs. As you can see from the second picture, it is NOT nailed to the stringer, as the stringer is a good 4" to 6" in from the skirt.

I have no doubt that the skirt is moving/bending ever so slightly under stress as we use the steps. I can't *see* it deflect, but if I put my fingernail under it I can feel it when someone walks close to the edge.

Paul.../NH
 

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Keith and I must have posted at the same time.

Is there a support wall under the three main stringers? I have a feeling there isn't or it was added after the sheet rock was installed. The whole carriage must be moving to cause the movement in the skirt which looks like it is serving as a stringer instead of a skirt. There should have been an additional stringer with that wall built under it for extra support. The sheet rock should have been nailed to that wall and stringer then a skirt board installed over the sheet rock. In the event there isn't a support wall under the three stringers one needs to be installed.

That is not going to be an easy fix as you have already installed the treads and risers and started your rail system. In addition to the support wall under the three stringers, you need to fasten the two main outside stringers to the walls and that is where there may be a problem as there is no access. What is under the stairs, is it a finished storage or bathroom?
 

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if your hearing squeaks on your stairs something is moving causing wood to rub on wood.. the small molding has nothing to do with it.

when i finish stairs i use construction adhesive for gluing both the treads and riser to the stringer.. in combination the joint between the tread and riser also get glued and nailed together from the back. additionally the skirt board gets glued to the wall. by using construction adhesive it not only bonds the wood together but it stops hte wood on wood rubbing
 

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On the left side facing up the stairs was there a 2 X 4 laying flat on the wall installed before the stringer went in? It's there to space out the stringer enough for the sheetrock and stringer to fit in behind it.
On the right side in the picture it looks like someone built the wall the sheetrocks attached to out of 2 X 2's. That would give the outside stringer 0 support.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the news (albeit not what I wanted to hear). I'll try and answer all the posts.

Jim, The two walls on the sides are finished walls that extend downstairs and are the walls for the finished stairway to the basement. IE the two stairways are stacked on top of each other. There is no support under the middle stringer. It is one long stringer from the second floor to the first. Actually I think both the middle and right are like that. The left one is actually attached to the wall half way up the stairs.

Kirk, you are correct it is wood on wood. It IS the skirt (maple) rubbing on the scotia trim (oak). Once I removed the trim, no more noise. Perfectly silent.

Joe, both walls are 2x4.

All, I (obviously) didn't build the house. I AM the only owner. I've owned it since it was built (1984). The builder built it to someone's specs, and then their financing went south, so the builder put it on the market. The more I find out about the house, the less faith I have in the builder. This is not the first blunder we've uncovered.

From a physical perspective, I think what is happening is, the "overhang" of the treads and risers on the right side only (beyond the stringer) approximately 6 -7 inches, are being supported by the skirt. The skirt is only attached to the wall in 6 or 8 places.

Unfortunately, I am in a predicament where (except for a few balusters) the project is finished. Everything is in place, filled, stained, urethaned, walls painted etc. To take it apart (in my lifetime) is not an option (speaking strictly from a domestic-peace point of view.

At this point I either need to find a means of fixing it without any dis-assembly, or find a means of modifying it (maybe some kind of support from underneath), or just find a way of attaching the trim so that it doesn't make noise.

See attached pic of the underside of the stairs. I believe I can get to the back of all 3 stringers from the underside. Working from the underside of the stairs, would I buy any support by attaching a 2x6 horizontally to the underside of the stringers, and then find a stud on either side, and attach a 2x6 support on each side supporting the horizontal one? I could actually run the side supports down below floor level and attach then to the floor framing of the opening. See my red "markup" lines on the pic.

I understand this is not the "right" way to remedy this, but I made my bed and now I'll have to sleep in it.

Thanks again.
 

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It also looks like the stringers are installed over sheet rock or there is a space between the outside stringers and the walls. If it were mine I would dig the rock out where you install screws (if it is sheet rock there) and install shims and glue or solid wood at these points. Keith is dead on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Gentlemen,

Thank you for your suggestions. I am planning my attack as I write. I am going to go in from the basement stairwell. Probably just take some of the sheetrock of the top of the left wall (as viewed facing down the basement stairs), and the left side sheetrock under the middle and left stringers. This should give me the access I need. The one variable I have is whether (or how far up) the sheetrock from the left (rake) wall in the basement goes. I'd like to remove as little sheetrock as possible, but I am not sure I can get 1/2" wood spacers up between the stringer and the cap plate of the rake wall without taking down a lot of sheetrock. Thanks..
 

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Not that this is s fix.....but if you're not wanting to fix the actual structural issue....and you just want to attach the trim.....attach the final trim piece to the skirt, and not the drywall. This would allow it to "flex" with the skirt, instead of it rubbing against the skirt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Here's where I am at with my repair.

By the way, my personal feeling is that 1 jpg is worth 1000 txt's. If the forum would rather I post my pix elsewhere and reference them by link, I would be glad to do do that. Please let me know.

I am posting (if it will let me) 6 pix. 1. Is a "stud map" of the rake wall in question. The next 4 (in order) are where the stringer meets the rake wall displaying detailing the stringer/spacer gaps. The last one is the middle stringer.

Now that it is exposed, as far as fastening the stringer to the wall goes, I was thinking of getting some 4" 1/4" or 5/16" lag bolts with washers and lagging the stringer to each of the exposed studs (or the cap on the rake wall). Or I have a box of 4" Deck-Mate screws I could use as well. I would use the recommend PL premium above as well. I was also going to space out/shim the existing gaps accordingly so as not to "stress" the infrastructure when snugging it up.

With regard to the middle stringer, It appears that I have enough room for a 2x4 between the cutouts and the back edge of the stringer. I was going to PL and screw a 2x4 on to this for added stiffening. Finding a 10 foot steel plate locally is going to be difficult for me. I have a great hardwood place close by, given my limited dimensions, is there a better wood than a 2x4 to use for this purpose? I don't want to remove the rest of the sheet rock unless necessary, so I don't have access to the other side of the stringer.

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?

Thanks again for all the help.
 

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It looks like you pretty well have a plan, as for the gaps I would just put some glue on both sides of shims and install them in the gaps and cut off flush with the bottom of the stringers. Once you have the stringers lagged or screwed you can check to see if there is any bounce before doing anything to the center stringer, you may be OK without doing anything to it. If it were mine I would add a header half way of the stairs if there were any bounce.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Jim, Thanks for the suggestion. I like the wait and see approach. Even as it is now (I have taken no action other than removing the sheetrock), when someone walks on the steps, I can't *see* any deflection. But if I rest my fingernail against the stringer and a nearby stud, I can *feel* the movement of the stringer relative to the stud ever so slightly. I think your idea will be fine. Left stringer: Glue it up, and lag /screw it to the studs and rake let it dry and then do the "fingernail test". Also while I have the center stringer exposed, I will glue and screw a 2x4 to it as a stiffener. After that's all done, I can test and go further if necessary.

When you said you would " install a header 1/2 way up". What did you mean. I probably won't do it but I curious as to how you mean to do it.

Oh by the way I saw your album. Spectacular work. Nice teardrop too. I'm a big fan of teardrops, and travel trailers/RVs in general.

Keith, Thank you also for your help and advice. FYI, the risers are not screwed or nailed to the back of the treads. They are rabbeted and glued to the treads. The risers and treads are glued and nailed to the stringers. Do you still think adding nails to the back would be of value? It's easy enough for me to do with the left side open.

Thanks again, both of you have been invaluable in assisting me. I'll report back with my progress.

Paul.../NH
 

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Paul the way you are going I don't think you will need a header. The way I was talking about was nailing and glueing two 2X8s together with a solid piece of 3/4 inch plywood sandwiched between them. Place the header across so all three stringers rests on them mid way up the stairs. Make the header long enough that it can be nailed to the inside (3 1/2" way) of the studs on each side. Nail another cripple under the header against the stud to support the header down to solid support.

Thanks for the compliment on the little teardrop, it was a lot of fun to build and fun to camp in.

I just wanted to say this about Keith, I have been doing stairs for many years and there are very few types of stairs I haven't built, but Keith is one of the best stair men I have ever seen. He and another of our members, Millertyme, are artisans with stairs. I don't know if Keith or Millertyme have an album but they should.
 
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