Our house (c 1920?) has a split tread on a built-in staircase.
* I can pretty easily rmv the ceiling underneath. I'm considering just
cleating some sort of backer behind it, and leaving the existing
(damaged) tread in place. Any thoughts on this?
* If I do replace the tread, when sort of wood should be used?
I would glue and screw as you seem to be suggesting, try to clean out
any debris in crack to get a nice tight fit. Then use wood putty on
top if needed, sand lightly, stain, etc. I think this will be easier
than trying to match the appearance with a new piece. If you do decide
to replace, bring the split piece to lumber yard. Trouble is, lumber
available today may not match that from 1920.
I had a creaky questionable staircase in my '50s house when I moved in.
I did as you suggest and approached it from the bottom. I used 2 X 4s
and joist hangers (the metal things that are used to hang blind joists)
and screwed it all together with a cordless drill. You can gain a
little upward pressure as you screw the hangers in by slanting the
screw up a little. Mine are carpeted and I have no idea what is under
it, but they are solid and squeak free now.
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