fixing creaky stairs from above

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Hi folks, happy new year! I've got some creaky stairs and I'm struggling to figure out where I should be screwing them down to secure them.

I've put some screws in near the edges and also tried screwing so it goes through the tread and the riser but it doesn't seem to make much difference.

Could you folks please give me any pointers where best to screw them? There is no access from below, house is 1930s. I have a cartridge of pu glue if that would be better.

Cheers

Larry
 

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The problem is that to cure them you really do need to take the underdrawings off, retighten the wedges and (re)glue them as well as possibly reglueing the glue blocks - things you can't do from above. This shows the sort of thing you'll see if you view closed riser stairs from below:

Stair Wedges from Beneath.jpg


You can clearly see the wedges beneath the (softwood) treads and behind the (plywood) risers as well as one of the glue blocks. There are generally 3 or 4 glue blocks behind the riser/beneath the tread and these are rub glued so they can detach:

Stairs Glue Blocks .jpg


If you look aty how thin the risers are (often just 1/4 to 5/16in - 6 to 8mm - plywood, or maybe 1/2in - 12mm - softwood) and that they are often grooved into the underside of the tread above, and the back of the tread below (or simply nailed to the back edge as in the example I've posted), it stands to reason that trying to pull such thin stuff together isn't going to work that well.

PU glue might well expand, but it doesn't set rock hard, rather it is still a bit spongy, so by drilling and injecting it you might get a temporary fix, you might not. There are just no guarantees that it will work.

One of the few things I've found to work if the creaking is at the stringers is to drill and countersink a couple of screws at an angle into the ends of the treads near where they meet the stringers. This has the effect of pulling the tread down onto the wedge and into the stringer, but it isn't pretty. It can also leave you with a gap along the edge of the tread where it is housed into the stringer and can damage the connection between the riser and the tread where the glue blocks are, so only really suitable as a temp fix if the stairs are to be replaced

I'm afraid that in this case the old saw that if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well really does ring true
 
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Hi JobAndKnock, happy new year and thank you very much for your detailed and enlightening post.

I don't plan on replacing the stairs if I don't need to so I guess I'd need to bite the bullet and take off all the cladding and plasterboard etc to get to it. There's an understairs storage space we redecorated last year haha why didn't I think of the timing.

I take your point about doing a job properly, I took all the floorboards up on the landing, removed the nails and screwed then down and it's great that they a so much less noisy now, hoped to do the same for the stairs but maybe a little later in the year.

Thanks again for your help
Larry
 
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Maybe consider using MDF or hardboard for underdrawings when you reinstate? I've seen this a lot in older houses where there was evidence of lath and plaster underdrawings originally
 
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