Quieting Squeaky Stairs

The typical interior staircase produces more squeaks and squawks than a flock of angry geese. The reason? Staircases are assembled from dozens of wood parts. Over time, these parts expand and contract and the joints between them loosen up. As a result, every step you take -- up or down -- emits an irritating creak or groan. Four simple techniques for reducing stair squeaks are shown here. Look for access to the back of the stairs in closets and the basement -- these repairs are the most effective. From the rear, tap glue-coated shims into the joints between the horizontal treads and vertical risers. Or, screw wood blocks into the corners where the risers meet the treads. When you can't get behind the staircase, try one of these topside repairs: Take several very thin wood shims and tap them into any loose or squeaky joints that you find . Neatly trim off the shims with a utility knife. Another way to reinforce loose parts is to glue and nail a length of quarter-round molding along each step.

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