carguy123 PowerDork
10/22/12 6:27 p.m.

I'm wondering if the GRM collective has any wisdom for me about quieting down a staircase?

The staircase in question is currently raw 2" x 10"s & runs along the outside wall of a bedroom. We've lived in the house for almost 5 years and it hasn't been used as I've left the whole upstairs unfinished, but now I'm beginning the finishing off process and was wondering of anyone had any ideas of how to quieten it down other than carpet.

I don't like carpeted stairs as they very soon get an obvious wear pattern plus in this case because the media room is where this staircase leads, so I'm sure there will be multiple spills as people bring food & liquids up & down.

Does tile make it quieter than wood runners?

vwcorvette Dork
10/22/12 6:29 p.m.


Streetwiseguy SuperDork
10/22/12 6:32 p.m.

Quiet down, as in so your footsteps don't wake the neighbors, or quiet down as in squeaks?

There used to be rubber pads stuck in all the old houses I used to visit.

Kenny_McCormic Reader
10/22/12 6:33 p.m.

Carpet the bottom?

oldsaw PowerDork
10/22/12 6:36 p.m.

I don't know that tile will do any better than wood in absorbing noise. And if you're concerned about transporting food and drink, glass containers are more likely to break on tile and that leads to other problems.

You might consider painting the stairs and using an easily-replaceble carpet runner; when it wears out do an R&R. And put a big berkeleying shoe rack at the bottom.

SVreX MegaDork
10/22/12 6:44 p.m.

Take off your shoes.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn PowerDork
10/22/12 6:48 p.m.


SVreX MegaDork
10/22/12 6:52 p.m.

Do you have access to underneath?

If so, stuff it with insulation to make the cavity more dense.

Tile won't be quieter.

There is a product called Homosote, which is essentially pressed newspaper sold in 4x8 sheets 1/2" thick. It is a sound deadening board. You could put it on top of the treads, but it is not a finished surface. You would have to put something over it.

Another alternative- floating floor laminated flooring, but only if you install the padding under it.

If you can remove the treads and reinstall them, you could put foam strips (like weatherstripping) between the treads and the stringers.

Might be worth trying some of the automotive products like Duramat, or a spray-on material like LizardSkin on the bottom side of the treads.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
10/22/12 6:55 p.m.

Lose 30lbs :)

dj06482 HalfDork
10/22/12 7:32 p.m.

Be the first to Plasti-Dip your stairs!

On a serious note, you may want to try something that will absorb sound on the other side of the stairs, as the space under the stairs acts as a giant speaker.

carguy123 PowerDork
10/22/12 7:32 p.m.

Cork. I wonder where I can get that nowadays. I'd have to replace it often but that should be easy.

Homosote sounds interesting. Maybe it or cork could be put on and then topped off with something.

That made me think of rubber. Is there anyplace to get thick rubber that's not crude like the rubber stall mats? If I can find the right product rubber wouldn't look half bad either.

I can't get underneath any more. Had I been thinking I could have done things differently.

And weight isn't an issue, it's the sound of feet steps. Hard sole shoes being the worst.

Does anyone have a tile covered staircase? I was wondering if the different densities of the wood and the tile might actually cancel each other out slightly or at least give a less booming noise.

1988RedT2 UltraDork
10/22/12 8:01 p.m.

A short loop-pile carpet of good quality, properly installed, will wear very well and quiet the stairs considerably.

So, I'm gonna say carpet, even though you don't want carpet, because I'm just that way.

Kenny_McCormic Reader
10/22/12 8:06 p.m.

Blown in insulation?

petegossett UltraDork
10/22/12 8:23 p.m.

Salvaged industrial/institutional carpet squares. They would do wonders, and often times you can find plenty of the squares that have very little use.

Or you could just go buy new ones, but where's the fun in that?

Woody MegaDork
10/22/12 8:46 p.m.

Use church or school grade carpet.

carguy123 PowerDork
10/22/12 11:46 p.m.
1988RedT2 wrote: A short loop-pile carpet of good quality, properly installed, will wear very well and quiet the stairs considerably. So, I'm gonna say carpet, even though you don't want carpet, because I'm just that way.

I've got the short loop industrial grade on the other stairway and it does quieten it down but after living with it for a while the look just doesn't do it for me, but it definitely is the fall back position.

Carpet squares got me to thinking, I've got some geometric squares I got for almost free to do the floor of the office in my shop which I still haven't gotten around to building out either. Can you say "SLACKARD!"

I don't think the insulation will do any good because it's the sound travel through the wood structure. That's why I'm glad you guys got me thinking about the underlayments. The carpet squares are still carpet, but they've got a dense foamy/rubbery backing that might do a lot towards deadening the sound and controlling the wear paths. I'll have to go dig it out tomorrow and see how it looks.

My wife even kind digs the rubber treads, but I haven't had time to search to see if they even make such a beast. I like the "industrial" look and it would be a complete counterpoint to the rest of the house. It could even change what I'm thinking about in the design of the media room.

I'm making 2 raised platforms (like a giant stairstep) for rows of sofas in front of the big screen and underneath the platforms will be pull out queen sized beds for when the whole family comes over. It almost makes me think a little metal might be in order for the sides. But I'm betting that would be a hard sell for the wifey.

I had always wanted to do a car themed restaurant with car parts all over the walls. I wonder if she'd dig that? I know the kids would.

914Driver MegaDork
10/23/12 6:47 a.m.

Is the back (underside) of the stairs open or closed off?

If it's open, insulated the heck out of it and close it off. If it's already sealed, ensure there's insulatioon in there, otherwise it's a drum.


Apexcarver UberDork
10/23/12 7:53 a.m.

Rhino line it...

Just don't get it on your hootus

carguy123 PowerDork
10/23/12 8:54 a.m.
Apexcarver wrote: Rhino line it... Just don't get it on your hootus

I'm not even sure under what circumstances you'd have your hootus out while you're applying Rhino. And if you do, then I guess you deserve to have your hootus coated as well.

N Sperlo
N Sperlo PowerDork
10/23/12 8:57 a.m.

Padding padding padding. You can be creative. Quark was a good idea. Between the boards. No glass packed mufflers, though.

iceracer UltraDork
10/23/12 9:21 a.m.

I have carpetting on my stairs that is about 20 yrs old. and shows very little wear.

Stairs are used daily.

Our Preferred Partners