Squeaky or loose treads

A loose or squeaky tread may be irritating but indicates little other than that a wedge beneath the stair tread has worked slightly loose. Wedges hold treads and risers firmly in place.

Another cause may be that glue blocks reinforcing the joint between treads and risers may be a little loose and need refixing. These are triangular in shape and are held in place by glue and screws, usually 75mm long.

The trouble is only serious if you can feel the tread move physically beneath your feet; it is time to cure the problem or serious trouble may occur, since wedges or blocks, or both, have become seriously loosened.

Access to wedges and glue blocks is beneath the stairs. If the underside of the stair is open, this is simply a matter of reglueing and refixing where necessary.

Wedges should be removed one at a time and then refitted. Any warped or broken ones must be discarded and new ones made. The original slope of the wedge should be exactly followed in the new.

Loose glue blocks should be reglued and screwed back firmly. Take care that all surfaces are first clean and dry or a poor joint may be the result.

Cracked treads should be reinforced with blocks of wood or corner-screwed steel angle brackets.

On older staircases, you may find that the underside is covered with a lath-and-plaster skin. This will first have to be removed, so you can obtain access.

It is unavoidably a dirty job and you should mask off, with dust sheets or poly- thene sheet, as much of the surrounding area as you can.

Wear protective clothing and cover your head, then hack out the plaster work with as little dust as possible.

It is a good idea to replace the plaster with boarding or some other removable surface for easy future access.

Newel posts

Newel posts can become loosened – usually at the floor joist to which these are fixed.

Usually, these only need re-screwing, but you will need to take up floorboards to do this.

If either the joist or post is damaged or split, use steel angle reinforcing brackets to make the repair.

These should be firmly screwed into place; glue or fit back damaged sections and support these with reinforcing blocks if needed.

Another problem is where the joint between the newel post and the outer strings becomes loosened, for this also loosens all the treads and risers. The post must be braced with woodblocks, 32mm square, which are glued and screwed into the inside corner.

Worn nosings

The rounded front part of a tread, the nosing, on conventional staircases, projects slightly and may become worn or damaged. This may happen on uncarpeted stairs, where the wear is usually in the middle of the nosing.

To replace a tread involves considerable work, but the nosing can be easily replaced with new timber. Make sure surfaces are clean and dry. Measure the amount of nosing to be removed and cut a section of hardwood to the corresponding width and thickness.

Mark the section accurately so that you cut it off completely flat. Next, cut away the worn section, just slightly forward of the riser, using a small saw.

Do not go completely back to the riser, as the joint, particularly if it is a tongued-and-grooved one, may be weakened.

The new section should be pinned and glued into place and allowed to dry thoroughly. Fixing pins should be punched below the surface of the wood and the small hole filled with a proprietary filler.

The nosing can be rounded with the spokeshave to correspond with the nosings on the staircase.

Worn steps

It is a simpler matter, on many staircases, to replace a worn bottom step; however, it is important to preserve both the height and width of the old one, since the ‘going’ or slope of the staircase should not be altered. This could be hazardous and cause someone to trip.

Squeaking can be caused by side friction between boards. The way to cure this is to dust the joints with a talcum powder or French chalk. Warped boards tend to lift nails slightly, allowing the boards to creak. These can be reinforced with countersunk screws, fixed at intervals.

10. November 2011 by admin
Categories: Featured, Handyman Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Squeaky or loose treads

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