Stairs in a 100 year old house are squeaking, and I'm looking for a way to repair it.

The squeak comes from a single nail that is connecting the tread and the riser, vertically, in the middle.

There is a gap between the tread and the riser, and I can see the nail. When someone is walking on the stairs, the tread flexes and rubs on the nail.

I've seen suggestions to use glue blocks and shims to support the tread from below, but since its a single nail - does it just make sense to remove or cut the nail under the tread, since it doesn't seem to be providing any more support?

2 Answers 2


Remove the nail and replace with a long deck screw and then patch over the hole to match the oak.

  • Hard to find a way to remove the nail without damaging the oak tread.
    – isharko
    Dec 27, 2020 at 20:50

Since it is only one nail I would see if you can reach in under the tread with a tool like shown below to just cut off the nail. If the space between the riser and bottom of the tread is a bit wider it may be necessary to make two cuts to fully remove the piece of the nail that spans to opening.

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This solution should be tried as first course of action since it is simple and will not add a batch of extra work trying to restore the visible surfaces.

  • Cut off a nail on one of the stairs using my dremmel multitool and the squeeking stopped! Will continue on the rest of the stairs. Thank you.
    – isharko
    Dec 27, 2020 at 20:49

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