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I have 3 or 4 carpeted steps that make a muffled crunching sound when being stepped on. There is no access from below.

How do I determine the location where the problem is and how do I fix the affected treads. I'm aware of kits that work through the carpet with breakaway screws, but how do I determine the location where the screw has to be drilled into the tread to eliminate the noise.

  • If you can get "under" the stairs, you could drive a few wedges between the treads and the stringers. – Lee Sam Aug 27 '17 at 5:37
  • Think of it as a burglar alarm feature. – blacksmith37 Nov 28 '18 at 16:09
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The squeaky floor repair kits have a special rod that you "drill" into the floor. If it slides up and down easy, you missed....move over and try again. Once you find the stringer, use the special screw, driver bit, knock off/standoff and drive the screw in. Break the head off and walk on,the step to see if it's fixed. After fixing the first step, the next step will be easy to fix.

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FIND the supporting joists they can be 16",24" or 12" on center. Use wood screws and screw the squeaky steps down. If possible,glue them and then fasten them2with screws. Screw on each end and measure to center.

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    Stair stringers (not joists) are not on standard centers. They're arranged depending on stair width. – isherwood Aug 26 '17 at 22:28
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    Could one use a stud finder (perhaps on 'deepscan') to find the location of the stringers? – Jim Stewart Aug 26 '17 at 23:56
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If you have standard residential stairs in the neighborhood of 36-42" wide, there's probably a stringer at the center and one at each side, just inside the drywall. If they're substantially wider, you may have four or more stringers. They'll generally be evenly distributed.

It won't hurt anything if you use extra screws and some miss, but you should be able to feel whether you're hitting lumber below the treads. Be very careful to not allow the screws to grab the carpet threads and zing a row out. There's no easy fix for that.

It could also be that the noise is the result of debris left between the stair framing and the wall. You won't be able to fix that without opening things up.

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