Saturday 26 January 2013

How I Stopped My Stairs From Creaking

My mission seems to have been surprisingly successful. I say surprising because really I was expecting more work to achieve a creak-free finish but so far so good.

This is part of the duelling DIY staircase challenge that I am taking part in.

The story of the stairs goes like this: They are only a few years old, they were factory made and assembled on site. However, they were initially installed by our less-than-competent builders, they were not hung correctly. We employed new builders who took out and then re-installed the same staircase, fixing extra wedges to secure everything properly... but it still squeaked really badly.

The staircase is mostly pine, with MDF corner treads and plywood risers.

Before I go on, a few things to take note off when working on stairs
  1. Work from top to bottom 
  2. Work on the stairs before working under the stairs.
  3. Knee pads and head protection are highly recommended.
My first trial at this was unsuccessful, I used a decorators caulk on the top of the stairs and adhesive below. I have discovered that you get much better results using a 'grab and fill' tubed adhesive for both above and below.

This was my simple solution to stop the squeaks:

• I started by running a bead of no-more-nails type adhesive along the underside of the tread. Using the thinnest bead possible (what I mean is: don't trim the nozzle down at all)

A simple solution to stop stairs squeaking

• Next I ran a bead of the adhesive down the sides of the risers...

• and round every edge of the tread. Paying special attention to any gaps or holes. I squeezed in as much adhesive as possible where there was a wee space. - This is a grab/fill adhesive so should both grab and, you guessed it, fill all the creaking joints

• Next, I smoothed everything of and gave it a wipe with white spirit on a paper towel, so I wouldn't leave any big gloops or finger prints

• The biggest gaps were on the newel post at the front of the treads, I pumped these full of adhesive which should hold everything tight.

I did this on every stair, the corner stairs were by far the worst.

I will give it all a quick sand before painting.

Then I moved to the underside:

Some of the wedges and supporting battons had pretty big gaps, so I used a mixture of shims and adhesive.

An assorted bag of these plastic shims cost a few pounds,
I don't imagine we'll ever have to buy any more.

• I jammed the shims in as far as they would go.

• Then I added a bead of adhesive round every wedge and along the bottom of the riser... pretty much anywhere I could squeeze adhesive I did.

Once I was finished I left the whole thing to set for 2 hours. It didn't state any setting or curing time on the adhesive, 2 hours was an educated guess.

Our stairs no longer creak! Which means we don't hear Small sneaking downstairs for a late night  kitchen raid... But also means that we don't wake Small when we sneak down for a late night kitchen raid.


  1. Glad your stairs don't squeak... but what about a burglar? you won't hear him...

  2. Followed your directions and our new stairs are silent! Thanks so much. I found some new Evostick Serious Stuff glue which should mean till last forever.

    1. Yeah!

      Almost a year on and one of my stairs (the worst squeaker from before) now makes a bit of a cracking noise sometimes when I walk over it*, so I think I need to revisit that one some day, but apart from that they have stayed much quieter.

      Thanks Mark, glad it helped.

      *possibly pregnancy related ;-)

  3. We don't have access to the underside of our stairs that creak LOUDLY ... Do you think the adhesive alone would be enough to help the problem?

  4. Sorry, I'm a bit late in answering....

    I'd think the adhesive is at least worth a try.



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