Silencing A Squeaky Wood Stair

Procedure code:
643003S
Source:
Hspg Prepared For Nps - Sero
Division:
Wood and Plastics
Section:
Stairwork & Handrails
Last Modified:
07/05/2017

PART 1---GENERAL

1.01 SUMMARY

  1. This procedure includes guidance on silencing squeaky wood stair treads. Several methods are described.
  2. Squeaks in a stair tread sometimes develop as a result of building settlement, poor original construction, shrinking or warpage in wood, or use and abuse over time.

1.02 DEFINITIONS

  1. Butt Joint - A square joint between two members where the contact surfaces are cut at right angles to the faces of the pieces; the pieces fit squarely against each other and are not laped.
  2. Rabbet Joint - An edge joint formed by fitting together boards having a longitudinal channel, groove or recess cut out of the edge or face of the member.
  3. Tongue and Groove Joint - A joint formed by inserting the tongue of one member into the corresponding groove of another member.

1.03 SYSTEM DESCRIPTION

  1. For the stair covering and structure to be considered in good condition, any settlement in the building structure must be controlled. Also, the treads and newel must be rigid, the connections between all parts must be tight and sound, and all trim pieces must be present, undamaged, and adhered properly.

PART 2---PRODUCTS

2.01 MATERIALS

  1.  8d nails
  2. Wood filler
  3. No. 8 wood screw
  4.  Paraffin or soap
  5. Wood dowel to plug screw holes
  6.  Wood glue
  7.  Hardwood wedges
  8. Prefabricated metal shelf bracket
  9. 2x stock for blocking

2.02 EQUIPMENT

  1.  Hammer
  2. Driving block - small block of wood to aid in hammering wedge in place.
  3. Drill with a variety of bits
  4. Nailset
  5. Screwdriver
  6. Sandpaper
  7. Knife for determining joint type
  8. Knife to cut off wedge excess

PART 3---EXECUTION

3.01 ERECTION, INSTALLATION, APPLICATION

NOTE: THE SILENCING OF A SQUEAKY TREADS IS SOMETIMES A TWO PERSON JOB. THE FOLLOWING IS A SERIES OF REPAIR PROCEDURES ORGANIZED BY LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY AND QUALITY OF REPAIR IN ASCENDING ORDER.

  1. Nailing tread:
    1. Locate source of squeak on tread.
    2. While other person stands on the tread, drill two 3/32" pilot holes at opposing angles over squeak and drive in two 8d nails.
    3.  Sink nails with nailset and fill holes.
  2.  Screwing tread:
    1.  Locate source of squeak on tread; screw will be placed at tread/riser connection near squeak.
    2.  Drill 3/32" pilot hole through tread into riser and 11/64" shank hole into tread.
    3. Apply paraffin or soap to 2-1/2" No.8 wood screw to ease turning and install.
    4. Countersink screw and fill hole with glue-soaked dowel of same wood species. Sand dowel level with tread surface.
  3. Wedging from above: Determine joint type by removing cove moulding under tread at riser and carefully inserting a knife at joint.

    NOTE: THE JOINT TYPE WILL DETERMINE THE DIRECTION OF THE WEDGES. SEE SECTION 1.02 ABOVE FOR DEFINITIONS OF JOINTS.
    1.  Insert glue-soaked, sharply tapered wedge following path of knife. Drive the wedge in hard using a hammer and driving block.

      NOTE: DRIVE WEDGE IN ONLY ENOUGH TO STOP SQUEAK; OTHERWISE TREAD WILL BOW.
    2. Using a utility knife, cut off excess wedge flush with surface and cover by replacing moulding. If joint repaired was at rear of tread, shoe moulding could be installed to cover.
  4. Wedging from below: If access to underside of stair is possible, tighten existing wedges and add new wedges where needed.
  5. Bracketing from below: Install metal shelf brackets to underside of tread and inside of riser. Install with screws shorter than depth of wood.
  6. Glue blocks from below:
    1. Use woodblocks, 1-1/2" square and 3" long. Coat two sides of block with glue and press into place at underside of tread/riser joint.
    2. Attach block to tread and riser with nails or screws. If previously installed blocks exist, remove them, clean surface of tread and riser to bare wood, and reinstall clean blocks or new blocks.

END OF SECTION

Last Reviewed 2017-07-05