Fixing broken stairs is not always as difficult as it may seem, but it's important for safety. In most cases you will be able to do the repairs yourself by following these simple guidelines.
Step 1 - Prepare the Area
Remove the carpet (if any) that covers the staircase. A simple cutting at the sides of the carpet and a forceful tug is usually all you have to do. Remove the remaining nails and staples from the staircase and brush the dust off. Inspect the treads of the staircase. Identify the ones that need replacement. Place a chisel in the cleft between the broken tread and the riser, tilt the chisel at an upward angle and tap it with a hammer until the tread comes out. Clean the surface of the stairs from any nails and wood glue by using pliers and/ or a putty-knife.
Step 2 - Take Measurements
Purchase wooden treads that closely match your staircase in material, color and thickness. Measure the length and width which each tread should have. It won’t do any harm to repeat the measurement so as to avoid mistakes. Place a tread on a table cutter and, with a slow and steady push, cut it down to size. Be extremely careful when operating the cutter, especially if you are a newbie in repair works.
Step 3 - Fix the Tread to the Staircase
Once the measurement and cutting procedures are over, you are ready to fix the tread to your staircase. To do so, you can use wood glue or hammer and nails. Now, if your staircase is going to stay covered, it is advisable that you choose the latter option, as it will give you a much stronger fix. However, if you do not want to ruin the exterior of the tread, it is better to use wood glue.
On the market, you can find hundreds of wood glue brands, which vary greatly in contents and properties. Thus, urea-formaldehyde resin adhesives have a low cure temperature and are resistant to microorganisms and abrasion, but they tend to deteriorate in a hot and moist environment. Polyurethane-based glue, on the other hand, is extremely water-resistant. However, it is more expensive, and you won't need to use it if you live in an area with a dry climate.
Step 4 - Apply Glue
In order to select the best glue for your staircase, you are advised to consult a professional or do some research on the Internet. After you have purchased the glue, you must apply it to the tread edges in zigzagging lines. Be sure to read and comply with the manufacturer's instructions about the glue’s open time.
Fix the tread to the stair and wait for the glue to form a good bond (the cure time of the glue should be indicated on the tube). Afterwards, clean any glue that has crept out by using the appropriate solvent. When working with strong adhesive glue, always wear protective rubber gloves and avoid contact with the tongue and the eyes, or you may seriously harm your health.
Use these simple steps, and you will soon become an expert in the repairing of stairs.