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How to Repair a Staircase

How to Repair a Staircase

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September 26, 2006

Quick solutions for common staircase problems.

Problems with a staircase can be both annoying and dangerous. It may be just a squeaking stair or a more serious problem like a loose post or cracked or warped tread. Whatever the problem, here's some quick tips on how to repair a staircase.

Squeaking stairs are usually caused by a loose joint where your weight makes one piece of wood rub against another. If your staircase construction is exposed underneath, it's easy to fix the problem. You can tighten or loosen joints by driving a wooden wedge into the seam between the treads and the risers. Screwing on a shelf bracket can also reinforce the tread-riser joint.

Learning how to repair a staircase if the problem is worn, cracked or warped treads is not difficult. Begin by removing molding or nosing and balusters from the tread. Pry the tread loose enough to remove nails. If you can't pry out the tread, drill a starter hole at the rear of the tread and cut the tread out with a keyhole saw. Once the old tread is out simply replace.

How to Repair a Staircase

Tightening posts is a very common part of how to repair a staircase. Because of their location at the end of the stairway and because they can't be braced side-to-side posts are especially prone to becoming loose. To tighten a loose post you can try to tighten the bolt holding the post base from beneath the stairs. If the connection to the banister is loose, drill through the post and secure the joint with a screw or lag screw. Countersink the hole and conceal the screw-head with a wooden plug.

To tighten a connection between the baluster and the railing you can take a piece of wood, wedge the joint and secure it with a screw. To remove a damaged baluster it helps to cut the damaged piece in half and remove each section. Some newer railings have a molded track top and bottom. These are easily replaced by matching the angle cuts and nailing into place.

Boston, MA

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