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Dingo 08-17-2011 05:51 PM

Creaky Stairs
2 Attachment(s)
Hi, I'm hoping someone familiar with carpentry can give me few tips on this one....

Obviously, our stairs are creaky. The problem, we have a new baby coming shortly. The two don't necessary go together.

I've attached two photos to which I'll refer.

There is really only one stringer, on the side of the stairs facing the living area. In the photos are the other side facing the exterior of the hour. The treads and risers rest on 1/2" blocks of wood nailed to the wood on the side. I thought this was odd, however, I have since seen it in other houses.

In Stairs1, you see the main block. Above this is a little piece of wood about 1/4" thick which almost seems like a thick shim under the tread.

The riser is clearly visible. In the shadow behind this is another piece of wood about 1/2" x 1/2" behind the riser. This is more clear in Stairs2.

I tried to insert bits of wood underneath the risers hoping this wood prevent the wood from going down each time their stepped on, and therefore straining the nails holding them to the treads. (You may notice that there isn't anything underneath the risers.) I thought this would at least alleviate the sound but it didn't have any effect.

Another thought was to use L brackets to tighten up the connection of the tread to the rise where it points out. But after looking at closer, I'm not so sure that would have much effect.

Any suggestions, other than inserting a stringer up the middle of the steps.

nealtw 08-17-2011 06:48 PM

Ok, if you are looking at these like I am, they look awful but, there is another style of building stairs. This is when slots are routed out for treads and risers and they are installed with wedges. No nails no screws but likely glue. Have another look, you may be able to just tighten them up with a hammer. I will google and see if I can find a picture.

nealtw 08-17-2011 06:59 PM

See the little picture when you go to this site.
Google Image Result for

Dingo 08-18-2011 02:32 PM

Hi Neal,

You are correct. I took another look, after viewing the link you attached. They "blocks" are actually part of the side. However, the little slivers of wood, on underneath the treads and behind the risers are added.

Do you think it would be worth drilling a couple of screws through the bottom of the risers into the back of the treads? Maybe I can do the same at the top of the risers to pull it tighter?

BTW, thanks for the quick response; it's very much appreciated.

nealtw 08-18-2011 03:44 PM

I haven't worked on this style but I beleive that they router the back of the riser slot and the bottom of the tread slot on an angle and the pieces of wood back there are wedge shape to fit, so the further you push them in the tighter they get. So if they have no nail or screws and no glue you could just hammer them in a little to tighten them up. Not sideways but from the back, Hammer on the end grain.

Snav 08-18-2011 08:47 PM

Congrats on the new baby.

Per the noise and baby issue - we've had four children. We found that the more noise they adjust to early in life the better sleepers they are when they age which makes chores and late-night activity less constrained.

I relished being able to vacuum while the kids napped in the same room and cut hardwood flooring in the livingroom while they slept at night. If they didn't sleep so solid I'd never get any home improvement projects done between nursing and the need for my own sleep.

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