Squeaky stairs are a very common problem in older homes, and a very aggravating problem too. Over time the wood stairs make the risers, stringers or treads shrink and dry. Then the nails holding the wood loosen. You can easily fix squeaky stairs yourself and restore your peace of mind. There are several common reasons for squeaking of the stairs and very easy methods to fix it.
First you must establish the locations of the squeak. Get the assistance of someone else to walk slowly up and down the stairs until you locate the squeak. Once you know which stair is squeaking you need to determine which part of the stair is making the noise. Since stairs are basically comprised of only three parts: the riser, stringer and tread, the problem must be one of these things.
A squeak near the rear of the step is where the tread and riser meet and the problem could be caused because the tread and riser are rubbing together. If the stairs are not covered in carpet or any other covering then simply sprinkle some baby powder in the space where the wood meets wood. If this is the problem it will eliminate the friction and stop the squeak.
If only the rear of the step squeaks it is probably just the tread and the rider has nothing to do with the problem. Most likely the tread is loose which is also an easy fix. Simply use an electric drill through the rear of the thread through to the riser. Insert a wood screw and tighten it. Just make sure the screw is long enough to secure both pieces of wood. If you determine it is the riser that’s squeaking use the same procedure to tighten the riser.
There are two approaches if the front of the thread is what’s squeaking. First you can once again drill a hole through the front of the tread and into the riser, and tighten the two together with a wood screw. Or you will need two pieces of wood. Secure each piece at the corners of the underside of the tread. You can do this with either a wood screw or wood glue. If the stairs are carpeted then a finishing nail will probably work better.