I have a carpeted creaky 13 tread 40 year old staircase that I've tried to repair several times with the breakaway screw systems found in the squeak elimination kits using breakaway screws that screw into joists through carpeting. The method has not worked for me, and I am considering ripping the carpet off the staircase and rebuilding the stairs.

I have not been able to locate any middle of tread stringers under the plywood treads to secure the the loose treads. I have also had no luck screwing the screws into the risers.
Has anyone had this problem and resorted to removing the carpeting and fixing the creaks by rebuilding the staircase. Would appreciate any experiences fixing creaky stairs

  • the creaking problem has practically disappeared in the last two weeks and I suspect it has something to do with the lower house temperatures of 66 degrees which is 4 degrees below the indoor temps in the warm months. – provlima Dec 3 '17 at 3:10
  • Voting go close as too broad. There's no specific question posed. If photos were provided showing the stair construction we'd have something to work with. – isherwood May 18 '18 at 15:26

You should not have to rebuild the whole staircase. Rip up the carpet so that you can see the problem. In most cases it is caused by treads becoming loose. If this is the case I would take the treads off, put some construction adhesive down, and screw the treads back. If you see that you have a broken riser then you may have to replace the stairs or fix the riser. Let me point out that the treads will most likely be unfinished under the carpet so you might consider either replacing the carpet or installing a bull-nosed wood tread.


You may want to consider checking out just what thickness of tread material is in use on your stairway. You have hinted in your answer that it is plywood. If that plywood is say just 1/2 inch thick (~12mm or so) with a span larger than 16 inches between adjacent stairway stringers when it would not be surprising to expect a lot of flex in the treads and leading to a squeaking as nails work loose.

Repair for such situation will require carpet removal and replacement of the thin plywood treads with suitably thicker material. This may very well need to be the standard full 1" thick material or even 1.5" thick if you just have two stair stringers on a wider staircase.

Note that when you used the break away screws they may present some challenge when removing the stair treads since they will not be readily accessible with normal tools. It may even require cutting the existing treads into sections to remove them.

In some instances, if you have thin plywood treads, it may be possible to securely fasten them in place with screws and then install some new treads over the top of the plywood. But my recommendation is to rip out back to the open stringers and replace with proper thickness treads.

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