How To Fix Squeaky Stairs

by Jennifer Porterfield | Last Updated: June 22, 2023
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We’ve all been there, right?

Whether you’re a parent who has finally tucked their sleeping child into bed for the night, a teen tip-toeing in after sneaking out during the early hours, or you simply just fancied a midnight snack and didn’t want anyone else to learn of the seemingly shameful act. 

How To Fix Squeaky Stairs

In so many cases, we have been tattled on by the unapologetic groan of a wooden floorboard. One incorrect step, and the whole household is awake. Game over.

How great would it be to have a full night’s sleep without the creaky footsteps waking you in the middle of the night? Even in the daytime, that familiar sound can ruin anyone’s day. Something has to be done! 

Well, you’re in luck: here are some options to help you to fix those squeaky stairs.

Fix The Underlying Problem

Sometimes, the best option is to head straight for the source. This is a tricky task if you’re not the most talented when it comes to manual work, so if it makes your life easier, you may want to hire someone for the job.

This advice also goes for the majority of the methods on this list.

If you’re up for the challenge, your best bet is to firstly remove the carpet, or anything covering the steps.

Once your surface is bare, remove each tread (the long horizontal part that you stand on) underneath with a flat bar: you will be reusing the treads, so you should also remove all nails, carpet pads, and staples.

Screw the outsider stringers into each stud, and then apply a layer of subfloor adhesive atop the riser, stringers, and along the back of the tread. Once this is done, place the tread back in place.

You will then need to drive a couple screws through the top of the tread into each of the stringers, and between. 

Once you have done this with each step, you shouldn’t use the stairs for at least a couple of hours while the adhesive sets. 

After that, you should be good to go: bye-bye squeaky steps!

Lubricate The Staircase

To save you prying up your whole staircase and creating a mess, it may be easier to simply soften the blow. 

You’ll want to fill the small space between the treads and risers with something that’ll moisturize the board: wedge a long piece of paper, or several pieces, into the crack and sprinkle some powder onto it (talcum powder has proven to be a good option for many, as well as powdered graphite).

Then, use your fingers, or something small and agile, to deeply massage the powder between the tread and the rider, preventing the boards from rubbing together too loudly, and therefore eliminating the squeaky sounds whenever someone steps onto them.

You’ll want to avoid using anything too slippery as lubricant, such as anything oil-based, for the obvious reasons… you don’t want to cause a nasty fall for any of your household members, or yourself. You can’t fix many things with a broken limb.

Buy A Special Kit

If the ‘Fix-It Felix’ life isn’t for you and you’re looking for a quicker, more convenient fix, then you’re in luck! There are actually kits you can purchase that specifically prevent squeaky staircases, making your task so much easier. 

There are many kits available, and they are often simple enough to use: most of the time, all you need to do is drill a couple of screws into the front side of the tread, through the carpet or floor covering.

You will then need to snap off the head of the screws, as they will be sticking up above the step: once the head has been removed, the remainder of the screw will be hidden beneath, safely allowing your and your fellow housemates to run up and down the staircase without fear of being pricked. 

This is a great option for those who have never held a tool in their lives, and feel they would do more damage than good if using their hands to do more than simply stick a screw into the ground.

Now you can feel useful and spend the rest of your evening thankful that you don’t have to hear those dreaded creaky footsteps for the foreseeable future. You’re welcome!

Hire A Professional

Okay, maybe this is the easiest method on this list.

While it may use the least effort, it will most likely be the most expensive option: although, you can feel more comfortable knowing that the job will be done correctly, with no sticking-out screws or torn up carpets, damaged beyond repair.

There are many services that can provide you help, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find your perfect handyman in your local area.

Your best option is to type it up on Google, as who you pick to be your chosen employee for the day will depend on where you are from, and what type of staircase you have in your home.

You’ll also want to consider prices and which services you can get for cheaper, although, usually, you will get a better job completed if you pay a little extra: you don’t want to go for the cheapest option now just to end up paying extra in a month or so because your chosen worker didn’t do a good enough job.

Do thorough research before choosing anybody! There will be good and bad reviews left for each company, and you’ll want to scan through them in order to be confident that you will be left satisfied by the time they’ve finished their work. 

As we pointed out previously, this option will prove itself to be much pricier than the others due to a professional stair-fixer being hired to do the job for you.

However, you will be able to relax knowing the problem should be permanently fixed. After all, you can’t put a price on comfort, right?

Choose Wisely!

Now that you have your four options, you are ready to make some decisions. Are you willing to spend a little more cash for a job well done, or are you prepared to get your own hands dirty? 

Either way, we wish you luck, and hope you’re happy with your new, squeak-free household. It will make all the difference in your home and how you live.

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