Stair repair: helpful tips

If your stairs are not as silent or as sturdy as you'd like them to be, follow these helpful tips to take some simple steps towards repairing them.

  • Staircases are complex structures. Do what you can to make the connections between individual elements as strong as possible. A pair of nails, placed several centimetres apart and angled towards each other, will make a stronger hold than a single nail. For an even tighter grip, drill pilot holes slightly smaller than the nails you're going to use. Fill the nail or screw holes with wood putty, then sand lightly.
  • To silence squeaky stair treads, try getting underneath the staircase and tapping small wood wedges or "shims" into the joints until they're just snug. To make sure the wedges stay put, you might want to coat them with wood glue.
  • You can also soften the sound of a creaky stair tread with L-shaped metal shelf brackets. Install two brackets, positioning them underneath the tread and behind the riser. Evenly space the brackets so that they divide the length of the tread into thirds.
  • As a house settles, handrails and balusters that once sat firm can become loose. Drill a hole at an angle through each baluster and up into the handrail, then use a screw to lock them into place and tighten them.
  • A very loose baluster can be tightened with a small wood wedge. Using a block and a mallet, gently tap the shim into the gap between the baluster and the rail.
  • To tighten up a loose newel post, attach small angle brackets on either side of the base, and screw them into the sides of the staircase. If you want to make the repair less conspicuous, chisel out a 0.3 centimetre (1/8 inch) recess for each bracket. Once the brackets are attached, cover them with wood filler, then sand and finish the surface with paint or stain as necessary.

Following these helpful tips will help you make your stairs quieter and sturdier.

Stair repair: helpful tips
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