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Fixing creaking stairs

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Stairs creaks because wood is rubbing on wood. Either a tread or riser is not secure and can be remedied fairly easily if the under-side of the staircase is accessible. Under the stairs the ends of the treads are often supported by wedges. Use a hammer to tighten them by tapping their ends.

There should be tongued and grooved joints between the rise and tread sections of each step. Sometimes there are glued triangular blocks in place, which may need tightening, or replacing with metal repair plates (or shelf brackets can be used). It is useful to have someone walking on the stairs so you can locate where the creaking is.

If the under-side of the stairs is difficult to access due to decor or plaster covering, then try to remedy from the front. Locate the position of the creaking and try lubricating the join with talcum powder or French chalk.

If the treads and risers are not jointed together, gently prise them apart with a screwdriver and fill the join with wood glue.

If the treads and risers are jointed, drill and countersink clearance holes approximately 25cm apart through the tread. At the top of the riser drill pilot holes in the same positions. Insert screws into the front of the tread to the riser. Tighten the screws and cover the heads with filler. If the stairs are varnished use a coloured filler to match, otherwise carpet will hide the join. Sand the area for a smooth finish.

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