Basement stair: are 8" riser, 9" tread OK?

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I want to finish the stairs to the basement with some laminates. The pre-assembled flywood stair is of 8" (risers) and 10" (treads). After cutting the nose (or fill under the nose), I only have 9" of width to play with.
So as a result, I will have 8" risers and 9" treads. It seems a bit of steep, and not deep enough of treads. But does violate any rule? One ballpark rule I found on the net says 2 riser+ 1 treads = 24" to 25" and that seems OK. But are there specific code on the sizes?
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Another old rule is the rule of 17 (one riser one tread).
That said, modern building codes seem to prefer a 10" tread. I would check local codes before I made a mess out this. I just saw a client have to tear out an entire staircase and redo it before he could get a final inspection to move in because his treads were 1/2" short.
Colbyt
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Applying finish risers and treads to a rough staircase is not going to change the slope or steepness of the staircase. I don't quite see why the finish materials would decrease the useable tread depth. How are you going to be applying the laminate?
As to rules, I believe the UBC requires max 8" risers and minimum 9" treads. However, my understanding is that these requirements are for the rise and run of the staircase, not the actual depth of a finish tread. For example, I believe that nosings are ignored.
Cheers, Wayne
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Wayne Whitney wrote:

Thanks.
The tread depth (distance between 2 risers) is 9". Each rough tread has a 1 1/8" nose. The finished laminate nose pieces only have 1/4" or so noses. So difference before/after laminate installation is about 1" from the nose difference.
Anyone finished a stair with laminate w/o tread depth change even though noses change?
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OK, so if the "run" is the horizontal distance between risers, then the actual treadth width is run + nosing. Not sure whether "tread depth" refers to run or actual tread width, I think it usually means run.
Anyway, you have a 8" rise 9" run stairs now, and as long as you use a finish material of uniform thickness, you'll have a 8" rise 9" run stairs when you are done.

If you think about it, I believe you'll find that "new nosing = old nosing + laminate overhang - laminate thickness". The "- laminate thickness" part is based on using a finish laminate riser.
BTW, the 1997 UBC requires a nosing between 3/4" and 1 1/4" on stairs with solid risers.
Cheers, Wayne
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Wayne Whitney wrote:

But the noses are between 1/4" and 1/2" for laminate nose pieces at HomeDepot. I must checked more than 10 types, and did not find any big nose.
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I'm not sure what the cross-section of the nosing looks like. Does this diagram represent what you are planning to do? (Use a fixed width font to view it.)
---------------------------- laminate ! \ ---------------------- C | ! | rough tread ! / ---------------------------- | | | | A | B | | | |
A = rough riser B = finish riser C = nosing piece
If so, then the nosing piece just has to be thick enough to cover the thickness of the rough tread. I'm not sure what dimension you are measuring as 1/4" or 1/2".
Cheers, Wayne
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Wayne Whitney wrote:

Wayne,
Borrowing your diagram:
---------------------------- laminate ! \ ---------------------- C | ! | rough tread !_____ / | |<-S-> | ---------------------- | | | | A | B | | | |
The laminate nose size S is ususally 1/4" to 1/2". Also the laminate is usually not thick enough to cover rough tread nose thickness, -- mine is 1", while laminate nose pieces only cover less than half.
J.
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| <-S-> | | <- T -> | | <- U -> | | V |
A = rough riser B = finish riser C = finish nose piece
S = projection of finish nose piece T = rough nosing U = finish nosing V = laminate thickness
U = T + S - V

This is actually what you want to maintain the "nosing" of the stairs, where "nosing" is the horizontal distance from the riser to the front of the tread. When you finish the stairs as in the diagram, you change the old nosing T by increasing it by S (the nosing projection), and decreasing it by V (the laminate thickness). So in order to not change the nosing much, you want S (the nosing projection) to be about equal to V (the laminate thickness, I think 3/8" ?).
As to the vertical gap between the bottom of the nose piece and the bottom of the rough tread, that does seem unfortunate. Perhaps there is some sort of trim piece that you could use here?
BTW, stair treads may not be the best application for laminate. Have you considered solid wood?
Cheers, Wayne
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Wayne Whitney wrote:

But I believe that laminate nose pieces are designed such that risers are placed immediately behind the nose projection, which result in a short fininished nose.
The laminate I was looking for is 5/16" in thickness.
The hardwood treads would usually be 3/4" in thickness. There are one piece tread that includes a nose area at Home Depot. The thickness is 1"+. That will throug riser size by more than 1" - top step would be 1" less and bottom step would be 1" more.
Another consideration is cost - I don't really want to sunk much money that will not be recover much, if any, at the time of sale in the distant future. You can only recover 15% of cost from a basement finish per: http://houseandhome.msn.com/improve/whichimprovementspayback.aspx
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Given that you have a 1 1/4" nosing on the rough tread, would you be cutting off this overhang in order to use the laminate nose piece this way? The reason you can't find a laminate nose piece with a 1" nosing is, I assume, that the laminate core material is not strong/thick enough to support such an overhang.
I'm pretty sure that the 1997 UBC requires 3/4" to 1 1/4" nosing, so if you use the laminate nose piece the way you describe, it would not be compliant. You'd need to figure out a way to retain the rough nosing and wrap it with laminate.

Since you mentioned your rough tread is about 1" thick, how about removing the rough (plywood?) tread and using a hardwood tread in place of it?

I was under the impression those special laminate nose pieces are quite expensive, so that at the end of the day hardwood treads would not be so much more. But I haven't priced them.
Best of luck.
Cheers, Wayne
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Wayne Whitney wrote:

That will be really a tough job, as the plywood stair is pre-fabrcated at factory.

Actually, using the prefinished hardwood tread is not that expensive, if I can replace the plywood with the hardwood. I once asked a contractor who said that he can remove the rough treads with hardwood treads. He suggested to use carpet after looking at the stair - so I decided to do it by myself with laminate.
Now I am thinking to it, I think I will just wrap around the rough nose part with laminate, then use a corner trim piece to cover the horizontal/vertical joint. If I can find some 2"x2" corner pieces that are 1/4" or less thick, then I am in business.
Home Depot has 1 1/8" x 1 1/8" x 1/4" corner trims. If I can't find 2"x2" ones, I might use that. I am not sure how the nose would look at end though.
Thanks,
J.
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I thought you said the rough tread was 1" + thick, in which case the 1 1/8" corner trim would seem to fit the bill. Is it 2" thick? If so, you could try to use two pieces, one on the top corner and one on the bottom corner.
Cheers, Wayne
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Wayne Whitney wrote:

Yeah, my rough tread is 1" thick. But I was thinking to wrap the laminate around nose edge: 5/16 on top, 5/16 at bottom, and 1/4 or so of the corner trim thickness. That will add to about 2" total thickness.
But your idea of putting two corner trims is excellent, if I can figure out ways to make the seam unnoticable.
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Several problems and potential code violations exist.
If your code jurisdiction has adopted the 2003 Internationa Residential Code you are required to have:
-A maximum riser height of 7 3/4" -A minimum tread depth of 10" -A variation between riser heights no more than 3/8th inch
At issue and potential code violations will occur because: A) Your existing stair will have exceeded maximum riser height B) Unless you also raise your lower floor landing by an amount equal t the thickness of the added laminate and also raise the upper landin floor height an equal distance, your top most riser and bottom mos riser will exceed the minimum variation for risers in a set of stairs.
Added considerations are that the nosing must have a radius o curvature no greater than 9/16 of an inch and a nosing shall be betwee 3/4" and 1 1/4" deep on all risers with solid risers.
It appears that any alteration you make to these existing stairs ma require you instead to replace the entire stair unit since the curren risers and potentially new treads will not meet IRC 2003 code. (Sectio R311.5.3 Stair treads and risers.)
Check your local code juridsiction before proceeding.
The information you have been given to date may not be permitted fo you at all
-- manhattan4 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- manhattan42's Profile: http://homerepairforums.org/forums/member.php?userid=4 View this thread: http://homerepairforums.org/forums/showthread.php?tu73 This post was submitted via http://www.HomeRepairForums.or
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This is a good point, although the OP discussed using a 5/16" laminate, so if the current staircase is perfect (to within a 1/16"), the result would not be a violation. But this bears paying attention to. Maintaining equal riser heights is one good reason to consider replacing the existing treads (plywood?) with new hardwood treads of equal thickness.

Perhaps it's naive, but if someone is just applying a finish material to an existing stair case, which doesn't change rise or run, I wouldn't think that would trigger a requirement that the stair case be rebuilt to current code (should the 2003 IRC be operative).
Cheers, Wayne
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Wayne Whitney Wrote:

That's not what the code states, however.
Depending on the thickness of the laminate, it could increase th minimum riser height above allowed for the bottom riser and shorten th top riser distance.....Both code violations.
And since the existing riser height already exceeds maximum height according the IRC 2003, any alteration may necessitate the complet reconstruction of the stairway to meet prevailing code depending on th interpretation of the original poster's code enforcement office.
Colbyt already mentioned that in the 2nd post in this thread which ha been largely ignored....but is correct.
Generally speaking, unless we are speaking about using a veneer that i say 1/16th of an inch thick which will be wrapped and glued over th existing treads, what is being proposed by adding a laminate over th existing treads is generally not allowable under code because it cause trip hazards at the top and bottom step and could require the complet reconstruction of the stairway
-- manhattan4 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- manhattan42's Profile: http://homerepairforums.org/forums/member.php?userid=4 View this thread: http://homerepairforums.org/forums/showthread.php?tu73 This post was submitted via http://www.HomeRepairForums.or
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On 2005-03-02, manhattan42 wrote:

OK, obviously it depends upon the interpretation of the local authority. But I would say that the if the modification does not change the typical rise and run, and the "all risers within 3/8 inch" rule is met, that it would be unreasonable for the local authority to require the stairs to be rebuilt. That's my opinion.
If we're talking code details, another issue is the 80" of vertical headroom requirement, from the diagonal connecting the noses of the treads. If the noses are moved up or out, then one should verify there is still 80" of vertical headroom.
To the OP, I agree with manhattan42 that it is important to obey the "all risers within 3/8 inch" rule. It would be a good idea to measure each riser now and seem if they are equal. Do you have a strategy to deal with the topmost and bottommost riser? For example, perhaps you are installing laminate on those floors as well. If not, then between this issue and the laminate trim issue, I would suggest that replacing the treads with hardwood would be a better solution.
Best wishes, Wayne
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manhattan42 wrote:

My stair is prefabricated. The treads is embeded into the stringers, making them almost unreplacable.
I wonder how those stair get finished then? Whether adding a laminate or carpet, the top and bottom step height will change.
In my case, I installed 5/16" thick tiles at the basement. As the tile thickness and laminate thickness is the same, I don't need to worry about the bottom step. I am not sure how anyone dealt with the top step then? Maybe glue a piece of 1/4" thick wood at the stair entrance upper floor?
I went to dozens of home with finished basment stairs. Nobody did anything special. They just add carpets or laminates. A few did replace the raw treads with finished hardwood treads. But those raw treads are easily replacable.
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What are the treads made of? It seems odd to make a stairs like this and not to use a finish material for the treads.
Cheers, Wayne
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