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Quieting an old staircase

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I've got a 100+ year old house.

The staircase is a nice old oak winder. 48" wide and all original.

We love it, but it squeaks and groans. It's not failing or underbuilt, just noisy as all hell.

I think the best solution is to add blocking from underneath. I can create access to the entire stairway because the ceiling underneath is beadboard as opposed to lath and plaster. 

My questions revolve around what approach to use for blocking.

Should I add blocks at 45 degree angles or straight across where the tread meets the riser?

Glue?

I'm open to ideas.

As always, thanks :howdy:

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From the underside, try shims, and glue. The expanding gorilla stuff. Although its nice to have a squeak or two when someone tries sneaking in at wee hours

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Posted (edited) · Report post

i did this fairly recently to my stairs.  most of the shims on the sides were loose i glued+screwed them in and replaced the cracked ones.  the treads were also only nailed in at 3 points from behind the risers, those nails moved and caused most of the squeaking.  i had my wife stand on the steps one at time instead of adding blocking i shot deck screws into the treads from behind the risers, and drilled with a kreg pocket screw tool up into the treads from the backs of the risers, all while having someone stand on the appropriate step.  total silence  for about a year now.  see crappy before/after pics

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Edited by gobigblue

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This is a great question.   What if you cant get to the risers ?  Is there a way from doing it from the top?  I have the same issue  with stairs and floor but my risers are walled up and no access to ceiling below floor

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Saw this issue on TV on one of those shows. If you have access underneath, be down there, and have someone step on each step slowly, When you hear the squeak, you can localize it.  Drive a screw (not a nail) up into the tread from the framework to pull the tread down.

Glue, no matter how good, is gonna get brittle, crack under weight, and fail.

If the stairs are carpeted, you can pull the carpet and drive the screws in from the top, and then put the carpet back. I suppose you could also used shanked finished nails and fill the hoes if it is not carpeted.

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We did this to the old stairs in my house during the Sandy rebuilding. We shimmed, we blocked where necessary and used a ton of construction adhesive. Unlike wood glue, it doesn't get brittle and crack with age. Kyle used this stuff everywhere during the rebuilding, floors, sistering rafters, floor joists...anything that should never move was glued and then nailed. 

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6 hours ago, Kml said:

My stairs make so much noise that no way I ever get killed in my sleep. I told my wife we don't need an alarm system with those stairs. 

you`ll just get killed scared stiff ! one must practice how to react if need be, because fright can be paralyzing, pissing,  crapping, all but proper reaction

people today are closer to amoebas than chimps like we should be, or even better baboon males

people are unprepared

( I have a wooden bed that squeaks like no ones business, and I tried to tighten the screws, lubricate with soap, all joints, spray with solution of water and soap, nothing works for long )

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I'll admit..i didn't read the thread...just wanted to see what tidbits of wisdom Glos had to offer.

 

 

#notdisappointed

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On 7/29/2017 at 4:11 PM, TimS said:

We did this to the old stairs in my house during the Sandy rebuilding. We shimmed, we blocked where necessary and used a ton of construction adhesive. Unlike wood glue, it doesn't get brittle and crack with age. Kyle used this stuff everywhere during the rebuilding, floors, sistering rafters, floor joists...anything that should never move was glued and then nailed. 

DIdn't you find out that a part of the front fascia of your house was just liquid nailed wit a sheet rock screw or two??

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If you have to go in from the top they make a screw that's scored so the head breaks off.  Helped a little, but much more effective if you can get access from underneath and do the shim/glue/screw. 

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I use blocks glued and screwed. One at each end of the tread locking it to the stringer. One (about 1/3 tread width) centered at the joint between  tread bottom and the back of the riser. Each block has three screws up and three screws horizontal. I build this into new staircases as well. Never a squeak. Never try to hold a tread up, always pull them down to the stringer. 

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