I have tried searching several terms, but I cant find what I am looking for. I am assuming I have to remove the drywall in my pantry to get to the back of the stairs. I have very loud, creaking, and other noises, stairs. I just pulled the carpet off to get a look. It looks like there is quite a gap between the riser and tread. What does this mean? Are my treads warped? They seem like nice wooden ones so I hope I dont have to replace everything. There are also cracks in the risers. May I have your opinions?
It looks like typical wear and warping from age.
If you are going to recarpet, you can glue the gaps and surface screw the treads back down. All this can be done from the top. If you ever want to refinish the stairs or even paint, then you'll need to remove that drywall so you can tighten things up from underneath with shims, glue and screws.
Thanks so much for your reply. I am not going to be putting any carpet back down. I figured I would have to remove the drywall-bummer. Does it look like everything is mostly reusable as far as treads and risers go? Or does the warping make them worthless? I just moved in this weekend and so far my diy/building/anything knowledge is nonexistent, but I am pretty determined
They look OK, really just cosmetic things going on - all depends on what you expect to get out of them. I doubt they will ever be in good enough condition for a stain and poly finish - most likely never were made with the right material for that anyway. So you are looking at a painted stair. As such, you can probably get rid of the squeaks by shimming, filling and nailing/screwing from the top, without removing all the drywall underneath. You'll just have to fill any surface screws and paint over.
i see two main things: Warping from drying out over the years and worn areas from years of use. I will guess that these stairs went a long time without carpet to begin with. You can fill and shim cracks, but you will never get the treads perfectly flat and level. As long as you are OK with that they they will do fine. Often on stairs like these it becomes a compromise - finish them like they will be painted, then install a carpet runner up the middle. The carpet hides the minor sins that may be there yet you still get the wood look on the outer 6" or so.
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