Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13
  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Northeast MA, Massachusetts, USA.
    Posts
    182

    Installing stair treads

    I want to remove the carpeting from my stairway, remove whatever treads and risers I find under that, and install some nice hardwood (probably maple) treads and risers. Anyone have any tips, suggestions, or a primer on how to install these? The cuts seem like they will need to be fussy to avoid gaps at all of the surfaces the boards will meet. Looks tricky! Thanks!

    Norm

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Gaylord, Michigan.
    Posts
    4,974

    RE: Installing stair treads

    First we need to know if they are housed or on stringers. What's under the carpeting now?

    I used to specialze in stairwork back in my finish carp days and trying to "remodel" an existing stair case can be problematic at best.

    Dano

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Northeast MA, Massachusetts, USA.
    Posts
    182

    RE: Installing stair treads

    I havenít pulled up the carpet yet, but if I remember right (when the carpet went in 8 years ago) there are rough pine treads attached to 3 stringers. I donít remember if there are any risers. The carpet is pulled up at an angle from the back of each tread to the nose of the step above. Hard to tell if there is anything where the riser would go. I suspect that once the carpet comes out I can easily remove the existing treads.

    Both walls are solid and have stair skirts. No open railing with balusters to complicate things.

    Thanks!


  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    .
    Posts
    2,438

    RE: Installing stair treads

    Yes, tricky is right, lol! Use a sacrificial tread as a template. It needs to be the same thickness and width as the finished tread. A good slide type saw works well here. Cut the template tread a little short of finished size, place it in position then scribe the right side. Set up that cut and cut the template,don't move the saw, then go check the fit and if it's good, cut the right side of the real tread. If not, keep tweeking the template until you have the fit you like, then cut the right side of the real tread. Now do the same on the left side, once you have an acceptable fit, take a measurement to get length, and cut the left side of the real tread. Cut it a hair long and sneak up on it to fit. After a couple, you will develop a knack for the process. Anyway, hardwood stairs are intolerant of gaps ;) at least appearance wise and top mounting treads cleanly will prove to be a fair excercise for your carpentry skills. Slow and steady wins the race here :)



  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    217

    RE: Installing stair treads

    I'm preparing to do the same thing. I've made the 12 treads from 4/4 hard maple, but I haven't cut them to size yet. I've been really concerned about gaps at the sides, and I figured making a template out of cardboard for each step would be the best strategy.

    I'm not crazy about seeing nails or having to cover screw heads. Any advice on attaching the treads to avoid these problems? I'm currently planning to screw them down, and cover the countersink holes with maple plugs. But, the BIG problem with that plan is that I'll have to finish the stairs after they're installed... I would much rather stain, glaze, and seal the treads before installation, but I haven't thought of a practical way to do it yet.

    Any more stair building advice out there? Thanks!


    Jeff
    [http://home.comcast.net/~namruts/aajeffsindex.html]

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    217

    RE: Installing stair treads

    Funny how the mind works... I just had an idea for installing the treads, after finishing and sealing the treads. What about using 2 pocket screws, one front, one back, through each of the two stringers? That would allow four screws per tread, which seems pretty reasonable. I could completely finish the treads before installation, saving myself tremendous back ache and frustration. Whatcha think?


    Jeff
    [http://home.comcast.net/~namruts/aajeffsindex.html]

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Northeast MA, Massachusetts, USA.
    Posts
    182

    RE: Installing stair treads

    Wow, Dano. The "right way" is more involved than I imagined. I figured it was a matter of removing the existing treads and risers, then cutting the new pieces so that they butt up against the stair skirts, cut exactly to fit without gaps. I guess that explains why they get so much money for putting them in.

    I know the existing stairs were done by the framers - the house was built for us and I used to visit often to make sure things were as we expected. The carpet on the stairs has seen better days, so it's coming out. Once I've pulled it I'll be able to see what's involved.

    Am I understanding what you're describing correctly? It sounds like the ends of the treads and risers should fit into slots that have been routed into the stair skirts. I'm sure the skirts are now just a solid "one-by" that the treads and risers butt up to. Did you say to use them as a template for their length and end cuts? I don't think there will be any features along the steps that I could copy.

    As far as the tread thickness, you said I have to match the thickness of the existing treads. Is this so that the first and last steps are the same as all the ones in the middle? What if that is less than the 5/4 minumum thickness that you mentioned?

    Questions, questions, questions!!! :+
    Thanks for the help!


  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Gaylord, Michigan.
    Posts
    4,974

    RE: Installing stair treads

    Norm,

    I figured it was a matter of removing the existing treads and risers, then cutting the new pieces so that they butt up against the stair skirts, cut exactly to fit without gaps.

    You could do that, I suppose. But, I forsee major headaches in getting a satisfactory fit without dinging up the skirt. In your case this skirt is merly trim so it was put in after the dry wall. It was layed out "in reverse" or mirror image of the stringer, in effect it sits on top of the treads. My assumption is that the carpeted stairway was is the specs, how good of job the trim guy did on the fit will only be known when you pull up the carpet.

    Am I understanding what you're describing correctly? It sounds like the ends of the treads and risers should fit into slots that have been routed into the stair skirts. I'm sure the skirts are now just a solid "one-by" that the treads and risers butt up to. Did you say to use them as a template for their length and end cuts? I don't think there will be any features along the steps that I could copy.

    Sort of. What I'm suggesting is that only the treads need to be let into the skirt board not the riser boards. The riser boards will cover the riser cuts on the stringer. So by routing out for the new treads, you'll end up with the appearence that your stairs are housed (if done correctly). Just remember to add to the tread length half the thickness of the riser boards, rabbet the bottom of the riser boards to accept the tread. This would also be true if you use the old skirt as a guide. I'd be surprised if the existing treads butt up to the current skirt board, unless they were taken out before the dry wall was hung, then new ones put in....


    As far as the tread thickness, you said I have to match the thickness of the existing treads. Is this so that the first and last steps are the same as all the ones in the middle? What if that is less than the 5/4 minumum thickness that you mentioned?

    Yes. Again, I doubt that the existing treads are less than 5/4 since this minimum thickness is UBC (Uniform Building Code).

    Dano





  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Gaylord, Michigan.
    Posts
    4,974

    RE: Installing stair treads

    Norm,

    To say I'm surprised would be an understatement...Yeah, that sounds about right, though I'd leave a little more than a 1/4" gap...Saving the existing trim board would be a big help.

    Dano

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Northeast MA, Massachusetts, USA.
    Posts
    182

    RE: Installing stair treads

    Thanks, Dano. You've been a big help! This project is on a loooong to-do list of house project for this year and it's the one I was most unsure of how to tackle, until now. I think I save it for the end of summer/fall, when I should have some big chunks of time to devote to it.

    Thanks again!

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •