How to Fix Creaking Stairs

What You'll Need
Coarse-thread drywall screws, 2-inch
4D finishing nails
Drill and driver
Countersink bit
Quarter-found molding
Wood glue
Utility knife
Talcum powder
Counter snap kit
Masking tape

If your home has more than one floor, then you have stairs. Stairs are fairly simple to build and are typically constructed out of wood. Over time this wood can warp and see a lot of use that can cause stairs to creak. While creaking stairs do not pose a danger, they can be excruciatingly annoying to listen to day after day. Fixing creaky stairs does not require the services of a contractor or carpenter as most homeowners can solve the problem with a little know-how.

Step 1 - Identify the Creak

Slowly walk up the stairs stopping on each step; distribute your weight evenly on the step and then rock forward followed by a side-by-side rocking motion. If it makes a creaky sound mark, it with a small piece of masking tape. Repeat with each step until you have identified all the problem areas. The creak can occur in one of two areas: the front or the back of the step. The method of fixing the creak differs slightly depending on what part of the step is the problem. You can either work from the top of the stairs or from underneath. If you have a cupboard under the stairs or basement stairs, you can work from underneath. You may not have a choice in the matter so both methods will be described.

Step 2 - Rear Creak from Underneath

Use the countersink bit and drill a hole in the back of the riser and into the tread. Make sure that it goes all the way through the wood. This will be a pilot hole. Drive one or more of the drywall screws through the pilot hole to join the pieces together. This will take care of any friction that may be causing the creaking stairs.

Step 3 - Front Creak from Underneath

Cut the molding into small 3/4-inch pieces. Apply wood glue and insert the piece where the riser and tread meet at the inside corner.

Step 4 - Rear Creak from Top

This is the easiest fix you can have for creaking stairs. Take talcum powder and pour it at the back of the step where the pieces meet. Use your hands to push the powder to the back and brush it in as much as you can. Brush off the excess talcum powder.

Step 5 - Front Creak from Top

Create a pilot hole that is smaller than your nails in the front of the tread and to the rise then nail them together with several nails. Place the nails at 45-degree opposing angles. You can also use a counter snap kit. The screws in this type of kit are meant to break off just below the wood surface. Melt colored wax and pour inside the holes made by the nails or screws then buff the wax from the stairs.