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Historic Preservation - Technical Procedures

Spectitle:

Silencing A Squeaky Wood Stair

Procedure code:

0643003R

Source:

Hspg Prepared For Nps - Sero

Division:

Wood And Plastics

Section:

Stairwork & Handrails

Last Modified:

10/23/2014

Details:

Silencing A Squeaky Wood Stair



SILENCING A SQUEAKY WOOD STAIR


PART 1---GENERAL

1.01 SUMMARY

    A.   This procedure includes guidance on silencing squeaky
         wood stair treads.  Several methods are described.

    B.   Squeaks in a stair tread sometimes develop as a result of
         building settlement, poor original construction,
         shrinking or warpage in wood, or use and abuse over time.

1.02 DEFINITIONS

    A.   Butt Joint - A square joint between two members where the
         contact surfaces are cut at right angles to the faces of
         the pieces; the pieces fit squarely against each other
         and are not laped.

    B.   Rabbet Joint - An edge joint formed by fitting together
         boards having a longitudinal channel, groove or recess
         cut out of the edge or face of the member.

    C.   Tongue and Groove Joint - A joint formed by inserting the
         tongue of one member into the corresponding groove of
         another member.

1.03 SYSTEM DESCRIPTION

    A.   For the stair covering and structure to be considered in
         good condition, any settlement in the building structure
         must be controlled.  Also, the treads and newel must be
         rigid, the connections between all parts must be tight
         and sound, and all trim pieces must be present,
         undamaged, and adhered properly.


PART 2---PRODUCTS

2.01 MATERIALS
   
    A.   8d nails

    B.   Wood filler

    C.   No. 8 wood screw

    D.   Paraffin or soap

    E.   Wood dowel to plug screw holes

    F.   Wood glue

    G.   Hardwood wedges

    H.   Prefabricated metal shelf bracket

    I.   2x stock for blocking

2.02 EQUIPMENT
   
    A.   Hammer

    B.   Driving block - small block of wood to aid in hammering
         wedge in place.

    C.   Drill with a variety of bits

    D.   Nailset

    E.   Screwdriver

    F.   Sandpaper

    G.   Knife for determining joint type

    H.   Knife to cut off wedge excess


PART 3---EXECUTION

3.01 ERECTION, INSTALLATION, APPLICATION

    NOTE:  THE SILENCING OF A SQUEAKY TREADS IS SOMETIMES A TWO
    PERSON JOB.  THE FOLLOWING IS A SERIES OF REPAIR PROCEDURES
    ORGANIZED BY LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY AND QUALITY OF REPAIR IN
    ASCENDING ORDER.

    A.   Nailing tread:

         1.   Locate source of squeak on tread.

         2.   While other person stands on the tread, drill two
              3/32" pilot holes at opposing angles over squeak
              and drive in two 8d nails.

         3.   Sink nails with nailset and fill holes.

    B.   Screwing tread:  

         1.   Locate source of squeak on tread; screw will be
              placed at tread/riser connection near squeak.

         2.   Drill 3/32" pilot hole through tread into riser and
              11/64" shank hole into tread.

         3.   Apply paraffin or soap to 2-1/2" No.8 wood screw to
              ease turning and install.

         4.   Countersink screw and fill hole with glue-soaked
              dowel of same wood species. Sand dowel level with
              tread surface.

    C.   Wedging from above:  Determine joint type by removing
         cove moulding under tread at riser and carefully
         inserting a knife at joint.

         NOTE:  THE JOINT TYPE WILL DETERMINE THE DIRECTION OF THE
         WEDGES.  SEE SECTION 1.02 ABOVE FOR DEFINITIONS OF
         JOINTS.

         1.   Insert glue-soaked, sharply tapered wedge following
              path of knife.  Drive the wedge in hard using a
              hammer and driving block.  

              NOTE:  DRIVE WEDGE IN ONLY ENOUGH TO STOP SQUEAK;
              OTHERWISE TREAD WILL BOW.

         2.   Using a utility knife, cut off excess wedge flush
              with surface and cover by replacing moulding.  If
              joint repaired was at rear of tread, shoe moulding
              could be installed to cover.

    D.   Wedging from below:  If access to underside of stair is
         possible, tighten existing wedges and add new wedges
         where needed.

    E.   Bracketing from below:  Install metal shelf brackets to
         underside of tread and inside of riser. Install with
         screws shorter than depth of wood.

    F.   Glue blocks from below:  

         1.   Use woodblocks, 1-1/2" square and 3" long. Coat two
              sides of block with glue and press into place at
              underside of tread/riser joint.

         2.   Attach block to tread and riser with nails or
              screws. If previously installed blocks exist,
              remove them, clean surface of tread and riser to
              bare wood, and reinstall clean blocks or new
              blocks.  

                         END OF SECTION