How To Repair Squeaky Wooden Stair Treads

Old wooden stair treads add a touch of traditional style and beauty to a home.  Unfortunately, it's not unusual for old wooden stairs to become squeaky over time.  However, if you have a little basic DIY know-how and the right tools, repairing and replacing wooden stair treads is pretty straightforward.  This project takes just a few hours to carry out and should leave you with a silent staircase once again.

Here's how to do it.

What you'll need

  • chalk
  • electric drill
  • countersink drill bit
  • wood screw
  • screw gun
  • lint-free cloth
  • wood filler
  • coarse grain sandpaper
  • vacuum cleaner

How to do it

  1. The first thing that you need to do is to walk up and down the stairs in order to to identify the tread that's squeaking.  Place a chalk mark on each stair that has a squeak, so that you know which ones to work on.  
  2. When you've located all the squeaky treads, fit a countersink bit to your drill.  Drill a hole in the squeaky part of the tread, placing the hole so that it lies on the cross-section of the tread and the stair stringer.  The hole needs to be wide enough for the screw head to rest just below the level of the tread.  This is important so that you don't finish up with a protruding screw that could present a tripping hazard.  
  3. Now, insert the screw into the hole and hand-tighten it.  Set your screw gun to a low speed, and drill the screw right down into the stair tread.  Remember that the screw head must sit well down below the surface of the tread.  
  4. Stand on the stair tread to make sure the squeak is gone.  If it's still there, drill the screw deeper into the tread in order to pull it tighter in to the stringer.  It's this that will cure the squeak, so you need to get this part right.  
  5. When you're happy that there are no more squeaks, vacuum up any wood shavings and dust, and then wipe the stairs down with a damp, lint-free cloth.  
  6. Finish off the job by plugging the screw holes with wood filler to conceal the sunken screw head.  When the filler is dry, lightly sand across the surface of the tread to even out the finish.  Vacuum away any sanding dust and complete the task by wiping down the stairs again with a damp lint-free cloth to lift up any residual dust.

In conclusion

You can repair squeaky wooden stair treads quickly and easily by following the guidelines above.  However, if your wooden staircase is damaged or badly worn, you might need to seek the advice and services of your local general contractor as this will be a much bigger and more complex project.