LESLIE: Paul in Connecticut has got a squeaky stair going on. What can we do for you?
Fixing a Squeaky Stair
PAUL: Well, actually, I have a set of oak stairways going down into my basement and the trim was broke on the side of them as well. And the problem that I’m having is they squeak and I can’t access them. I have no way of actually securing the stairs.
TOM: Why not? Why can’t you go right through the front surface of the step – the front edge of the tread – and simply plug it with an oak plug and then refinish it?
PAUL: That was the question that I was wondering. I didn’t know if I should …
TOM: Yeah. You can buy a bit at a hardware store or home center that basically will drill the hole. It’ll drill – it includes a pilot, a hole for the screw. You buy these bits to match the screw size and then it’ll countersink it for either a half-inch or a three-eighths-inch oak plug and you can buy the plugs there, too.
And so you put this in the drill, you drill down the hole and then you put a screw in – a couple of screws. And do it nice and neat so that the plugs are all lined up; you know, maybe two or three per step – one in the middle and one six inches from either side of the step. Then you secure that down and then plug it. You’re going to want to use a sharp chisel to get the plug carved nice and flush with the top of the step. A little bit of sandpaper and then a quick coat of polyurethane or two and you’ll be good to go and you can essentially lock that staircase together.
And I don’t know if you’ll completely eliminate the squeaks because what ends up happening is you stop it one place and sometimes it starts somewhere else but I think, overall, it’ll be a lot quieter.