How to Repair loose or squeaky steps

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Repair a stair tread from beneath if the stair's underside is open or if the covering is easy to remove.

  • Have someone walk up and down the stairs to help you locate a loose tread.
    Then drive glue-coated wooden wedges into the treads seams. Or fasten small wooden blocks along the front seam with screws and glue.
    If the treads back edge moves, drill pilot holes and screw it to the riser.
    If a wedge in a grooved stringer is loose, chisel it out and scrape the dried glue from the groove.

  • Then cut a new wedge; tap it in tightly, using glue.
    If you can not work under the stairs, drive wedges into the seams from above. Use thin cedar-shingle scraps coated with glue and trim them flush with a sharp utility knife. Carefully remove and replace any molding.

  • You can also nail a treads front edge to the riser. Drill pilot holes and drive in pairs of ringed-shank finishing nails angled toward each other.
    Sink them with a nail set and fill the holes with wood putty. If you are going to carpet the stairs, substitute long, thin flathead screws for more holding power. Because of the intricate joints in most stairs, it would be wise to have a carpenter replace worn or damaged treads.

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