How to Repair Stairs - staircase repairs - stair repairs

The most typical issues with stairs and staircases are normally squeaks and loose or damaged parts. In this post and the posts noted top right, you'll discover handy details for fixing these type of problems. For information on repairing patio actions,


Fixing Squeaky Stairs

A lot of actions in older houses creak and squeak underfoot due to the fact that the wood has actually dried and diminished in time. Squeaks in stairs are typically brought on by a loose tread rubbing against a riser or a stringer when the stair is stepped on.

Treads can become loose when wood shrinks or when supporting blocks or nails work loose. This is normally not a problem unless the parts end up being very loose or the creaking suggests that an area of the stairs is nearing the snapping point.


There are 2 techniques to repairing squeaky stairs-from listed below the stairs or from above. It's more suitable if you can fix them from listed below due to the fact that your repair work is less most likely to reveal.

As soon as you discover the source of the noise, you can normally fix it reasonably quickly. If the noise comes from the area where your foot meets the tread, focus your repair work efforts there. If the noise comes from one side when you action in the center or if it comes from the back of the tread when you step at the front, the opportunities are respectable the entire tread is moving or deflecting.

If you're worried about the noises, start by investigating the source of the noise. Stairs with open undersides (such as when basement stairs or closets are developed listed below) make this task much easier. Where the underside is not accessible, you might need to pull down a completed ceiling below to get an excellent appearance.

Before making any repair work, attempt lubing the parts with talc or powdered graphite to minimize the friction where the parts rub together. Forcefully blow the powder into the joints, specifically where the backs of the treads satisfy the risers. If this does not help, you'll need to handle a little carpentry work.


Check that the wood wedges, used to lock the treads into their mortised slots, haven't worked loose or fallen out. If they have, glue them back in location and tap them firmly house. Blocks under the treads where they fulfill each riser also can fall away. If so, nail and reglue them also. Try to find longitudinal splitting or fractures throughout the width of the stringers, which carry the treads. Also check the vertical plumb and horizontal level of the huge parts to determine if the stairs are leaning in any specific direction-the noises you hear might show that the structure is moving or in threat of collapsing.

If you can get at the stairs from beneath, you can use wedges, brackets, or wood blocks to secure the treads to the risers. (Wear eye protection to keep sawdust and other particles from getting into your eyes.) Glue and screw wood blocks under the tread and against the riser. Make certain not to drive the screws through the tread's surface area.


If you don't have access from below, you'll need to work from above. To avoid the wood from splitting, drill pilot holes before inserting nails or screws; counterbore the holes if you plan to fill them with dowel plugs. Otherwise, set the heads somewhat listed below the surface and cover the holes with matching wood putty.

Because they anchor the handrail and should be able to take the weight and stress regularly imposed on them, stair newels need to be well secured to the staircase or floor framing.

When one becomes loose, and you can't see its anchoring point under the stairs, it might be necessary to work through a ceiling to get at the underside or remove a piece of flooring on a stair landing in order to make the repair.

Fixing a Broken Stair Tread

Specific treads can be replaced when absolutely needed. Depending upon how the staircase is constructed, this can be easy or it can be far too made complex for an amateur to tackle. If you can, try to fix the tread without eliminating it. If this proves difficult, consider your choices carefully:


If the treads are "open" on both sides and resting atop the stringers and the hand rails balusters aren't attached to the steps, it may require only pulling up the harmed tread and getting rid of the nails that hold it to the risers above and below it. New, incomplete hardwood treads can be quickly cut to fit.

Nevertheless, if the treads are glued into mortises cut into the stringers on both sides (a "closed" run), or if they are held in location by balusters mortised into each step, eliminating a single tread might entail disassembling (and perhaps damaging) much of the staircase while doing so. Before you attempt this work, get an estimate from an expert with proven experience in stair building and repair.

Tightening a Loose Baluster

Techniques for tightening loose balusters in banisters typically include placing wedges or securing loose parts with screws.

Use a syringe-type glue bottle to squeeze wood glue into the baluster sockets at top and bottom. If you're utilizing screws, drill pilot holes for them to avoid the wood from splitting. Be sure to cover any visible screw holes with wood plugs.

If you're utilizing nails, drill pilot holes sized for small (2d to 4d) completing nails through the baluster ends and into the wood. Utilize a nail set to bury the nails into the wood and then fill the nail holes with wood putty.

Repairing a Broken Baluster

If you can't re-glue a split baluster, carefully saw through it and remove both parts by "working" them out of their sockets.

Purchase or make a replacement baluster and cut it so that it is 1/4 to 3/8 inch longer than the initial.

Bore the existing top hole in the handrail 1/2 inch deeper, however make sure not to bore through the top of the rail.

You ought to have the ability to place the baluster into the top hole far enough to enable the bottom end to drop into its socket. Glue and nail the replacement into the sockets.

Repairing a Loose Rail or Post

Due to the fact that they anchor the handrail and should have the ability to take the weight and tension regularly troubled them, stair newels need to be well protected to the staircase or floor framing.

When one becomes loose, and you can't see its anchoring point under the stairs, it might be needed to overcome a ceiling to get at the underside or eliminate a piece of flooring on a stair landing in order to make the repair work.

On older stairs, the base of a newel is often doweled or mortised and glued in location. Modern stairs may have bolts, lag screws, or other conventional hardware to hold the newel.

As soon as you've found the problem, reinforce the newel with brand-new hardware. Usage hefty adapters that can hold their own versus daily use, and make sure the newel is vertically plumb when you attach it permanently in location.

If you have wall-mounted hand railings, make certain they are peacefully protected to the wall-loose railings are a major risk.

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