Fixing squeaking stairs and floors is a simple procedure. You can either fix them from the basement or crawlspace or you can silence them from the surface of the stairs or floor. All you need are some simple tools and a little time.
Fixing Squeaky Stairs from Below
To fix squeaks on your stairs from beneath the stairs, have a helper walk on the stairs to help you pinpoint to location of each squeak. Depending on the location of the squeak, wedge thin, glue-covered wooden shims into the space between the stair and the stringer (joists), between the stair and the riser above it, or between the stair and the riser below it.
Fixing Squeaky Stairs from Above
If you are working from the surface of the stairs, locate the squeak. If the squeak is toward the front of the stair, drive a wedge into the space between the surface of the stair and the top of the riser below. If the squeak is toward the back of the stair, drive a wedge into the space between the back of the stair and the bottom of the riser above. If the spaces are too tight for wedges, use spiral flooring nails. Drive two nails at an angle toward each other into the joint where tread meets riser, either at the front or the back of the stair. Countersink the nails, and fill the holes with tinted wood putty.
Fixing a Squeaky Floor from Below
Have a helper walk the floor upstairs and stop when they hear a squeak, then knock on the floor at that location so you can pinpoint it from below. Drive a wooden shim coated in wood glue between the joist and subfloor. Screw it into place at an angle through the joist and subfloor with a 1.25-inch drywall screw.
If you have so many squeaks that you would need a dump truck full of shims to quiet them all, consider using a handy “Squeak Ender,” available at home improvement centres. A piece of hardware with a bracket that attaches to the subfloor, the Squeak Ender features a rod that pulls the subfloor tight against the joist to silence squeaks in a larger area. Screw the Squeak Ender into the subfloor, butted against the joist. Tighten the threaded rod. The subfloor will be pulled tight against the joist. Place the Squeak Enders as far apart as necessary to quiet the squeaks along the length of your floor.
Fixing a Squeaky Floor from Above
Purchase a Counter-Snap kit from your local home improvement store. This kit comes with a depth-control gadget, a screwdriver bit and 25 screws whose tops break off once they reach the right depth in the wood. To use the kit, drill a hole 3/32-inch in diameter at the location of the squeak. Place the depth-control gadget over the pilot hole. Screw in one of the screws until the top snaps off. Fill the hole with tinted wood putty, allow it to dry, and sand it.