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How to Quiet Squeaky Stairs

Squeak, squeak, squeak . . . it can really get to you after a while, so why not fix that troublesome tread? If you have access to the underside of a squeaky stair, you can make an easy, invisible and effective repair. It's only slightly more difficult from above, and with the right fasteners and a crayon for cover-up, no one will notice the repair.

Working From Below

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  1. For squeaks at the nose of the tread, cut short lengths of 3/4-inch (2-cm) quarter-round molding, coat them with wood glue, and toenail them into the inside corner formed by the tread and riser (see A).

  2. For squeaks at the rear of the tread, use a countersink bit to bore a pilot hole through the back of the riser into the tread. Then drive in a 2-inch (5-cm) screw to join the two parts and eliminate any friction. Install additional screws as needed.

Working From Above

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  1. For a squeak at the nose of the tread, nail the tread into the top of the riser. To make nailing easier, bore a pilot hole slightly smaller than the nail's diameter through the tread. Drive one or more pair of nails about 2 inches (5 cm) apart and at opposing 45-degree angles for maximum holding power (see B).

  2. Alternatively, use Squeeeeek No More (for carpeted stairs) or Counter Snap (for hardwood stairs) fastening systems (see Tip). The trim screws in both systems break off just below the surface, leaving only a tiny hole, and Squeeeeek No More screws go right through the carpet without damaging it.

  3. Fill any holes with color-matched wax-filler sticks or crayons, and buff any wax residue off the face with a dry cloth.

  4. Put graphite or talcum power into the crack at the rear of the tread to stop squeaks there.

Warning

  • Toenail (angle) nails so they won't penetrate the face of the tread or riser.
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