How to Fix Squeaky Stair Steps

Updated February 21, 2017

Creaking stairs, most common in older houses, can disturb sleeping family members and cause embarrassment when guests come to visit. Stair squeaks result from loose wooden treads (the top part of the stair) rubbing against wooden risers, stringers and the nails or screws that hold the steps together. To fix the noise, you will need to retighten boards and fasteners that came loose with age.

Remove carpet from covered stairs to reveal the bare wood underneath.

Slowly walk up and down the stairs to identify the squeaky stair.

Step along the stair's tread. If the stair squeaks all the way down the tread, you'll only need to reattach the tread to the riser (the front part of the stair perpendicular to the riser). If it squeaks only on one side or near the back, you'll need to reattach the tread to one or more of the stringers (the supports that run all the way down the staircase). Most staircases have a stringer on each end and one or more additional stringers in the centre. Once you determine the exact location of the squeak, you can connect and strengthen the loose parts.

Ask an assistant to tightly hold the two loose wood parts together while you tighten them.

Drill two starter holes at 45-degree angles to connect the tread to the riser or one of the stringers. When tightening treads to stringers, look for the older fasteners to determine the location of the stringers.

Hammer a nail into each hole to secure the boards. Repeat this process for all squeaky stair parts.

Cover the nails with wood putty to create a smooth surface and neat appearance.

Replace the carpet after you make all repairs.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill
  • Finishing nails, 8d or 10d
  • Hammer
  • Wood putty
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About the Author

Christina Sloane has been writing since 1992. Her work has appeared in several national literary magazines.