Staircases are exposed to a lot of wear and tear, just think about all of the traffic they get! Having small amounts of damage is common, but when left without repair, any amount of damage can be dangerous. Make sure to thoroughly check your staircase regularly so that you are aware of any minor or major damage. Joints can loosen over time, wood may crack, and parts can become worn and tired, but the damaged parts can almost always be easily fixed or replaced.
The treads and risers of the staircase take the biggest hit and are exposed to the most damage. Many problems aren’t obvious, especially at first glance, so be sure to regularly check the condition of old staircases. Detecting any movement when using the stairs is a good sign that something may be going on. Access to under the stairs is the easiest way to inspect for damage and to fix it. While inspecting underneath, ask someone to walk up and down the stairs while you are checking for any movement in the joints. Using a pencil or tape, mark any areas that need further attention. This will give you visual reference especially if you aren’t able to make repairs at that time. If you have no access underneath the stairs, you will have to try and fix them from above. If this is the case, you may need a professional to assist in repairs.
Treads and risers are usually secured into position, but the wedges can loosen causing the stair to move and creak. If this starts to happen it may be that you will need to make repairs. If the treads or risers split, they can be replaced in an open-string staircase. Start by removing the balusters and fasteners from the damaged tread or riser and slide out the broken part. You can use the broken part as a template for a new one. You should be able to easily slip the new part into place. If it is a closed-string staircase, you may need a professional’s help to replace treads or risers as it is a more elaborate procedure.
If the nosing of a tread is damaged, you can often repair it without removing the whole tread. Cut away the damaged area. Then glue and screw the patch in place.
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