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flipfriddle
Creaking stairs with a catch
flipfriddle

So after watching Silva's video here on those snap off screws to help quiet creaking stairs, I ordered some and sat down to try them out. The main stairs on my 1924 foursquare creak like crazy. They are all original stained oak treads with gumwood risers and wall stringers. So I got a thin steel rule out to run down the gap at the back of the tread to figure out where the stringers are so I know where to put the screws. Surprise! There isn't a center stringer on the staircase. After some more investigation, I discover that the treads are resting inside dados in the wall stringers, and that the risers were nailed onto the treads from the back side before the downstairs ceilings were installed. Most of the gaps and creaking is coming from the risers' nails connected to the inner, back side of the treads. I can send some screws down from the nose of the tread into the riser below to help a bit, but I have no idea what to do with the backside of the tread and the riser above it. Any ideas? Shims maybe?
Thanks.

HoustonRemodeler
Re: Creaking stairs with a catch
HoustonRemodeler

Do you have access from the under side ?

dj1
Re: Creaking stairs with a catch
dj1

Also, how wide are the stairs?

Mastercarpentry
Re: Creaking stairs with a catch
Mastercarpentry

I'd bite the bullet, open up access from underneath, reinforce the existing stringers and add one in the center. Urethane glue everything and screw fasten all- no nails. You could probably get by with less, but then you'll probably end up doing another repair job on them down the road.

If usage is heavy or repair access is tough, overkill may be a good option so you only repair once!

Phil

Re: Creaking stairs with a catch
HoustonRemodeler wrote:

Do you have access from the under side ?

Nope. And the ceiling below was just patched, replastered and repaired a year ago after fixing a leak in the upstairs bathroom.

Re: Creaking stairs with a catch
dj1 wrote:

Also, how wide are the stairs?

I need to measure but they aren't abnormally wide; they seem fairly standard and comfortable.

Re: Creaking stairs with a catch
Mastercarpentry wrote:

I'd bite the bullet, open up access from underneath, reinforce the existing stringers and add one in the center. Urethane glue everything and screw fasten all- no nails. You could probably get by with less, but then you'll probably end up doing another repair job on them down the road.

If usage is heavy or repair access is tough, overkill may be a good option so you only repair once!

Phil

Ugh. If that's my only option, then I think it's time to just put a basket of earplugs at the bottom of the stairs. :)

HoustonRemodeler
Re: Creaking stairs with a catch
HoustonRemodeler

Normally we suggest dim lighting and a throw rug, but in your case a quiet radio playing a drum solo may help.

Re: Creaking stairs with a catch
dj1 wrote:

Also, how wide are the stairs?

Treads are 39 inches wide.

dj1
Re: Creaking stairs with a catch
dj1
flipfriddle wrote:

Treads are 39 inches wide.

I was waiting for this answer. Your staircase needs at least 3 stringers (with thicker treads, like 1-1/8 or 1-1/2), OR 4 stringers (with 3/4 thick treads).

Re: Creaking stairs with a catch

Hmmm. Oh well. Guess they cut corners in 1924 too. The treads are 5/4 oak. Looks like I'm out of luck short of ripping down the ceiling underneath.

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