Installing oak flooring on stairs

I've been asked by a friend to install 3/4" thick, unfinished T&G red oak strip flooring on a stairway (about fifteen steps) in her house. She is going to pay me to do this. The main floor was done by someone else who is not available to do the stairs. I've done some work with hardwood floors, i.e. refinishing, replacing split boards, etc. but I've never installed on stairs. I've been searching Google for any advice on how to tackle the stairs but so far have come up with very little information. I've also checked my local library for books and videos and have found a couple that cover installing for the main floor but don't cover stairs at all. My friend already has the oak but doesn't have the stair nosing boards so I will need to order these but after that can anyone guide me in the right direction to get this project rolling? I have a pancake compressor and she actually has a flooring stapler. The subfloor material on the stairs is plywood, which appears to be about 1" thick. Should I lay rosin paper or roofing felt over the plywood and staple it down? Or just lay the hardwood directly over the plywood? Start at the top or bottom or does it make any difference? Any advice or book/video recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Dale
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If she doesn't want to buy oak stair steps and risers, ask her to find someone else, because you are asking for a fitting and finishing nightmare.
Tom J
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remove the plywood or their will be a great height difference with the top and bottom step.(but you knew that..........Right) after all ...................you are getting paid to do this.
solid block in between each stringer (flush with the top of stringer...not on top). install the front nosing and finished return side 1st (miter the corner or interlock the corner with the t&g) install the rest of the hardwood in between wall and finished end nosing.
why order nosing? use a router and put a bull nose edge on the tongue side (after ripping off the tongue) this way the grooved end will be facing the "field" flooring. all pieces must interlock together.
also rosin paper or roofing felt will work. the paper is just so the hardwood can expand and contract with no resistance.
Maybe you should offer to do it for free just for the experience.
M.C. somewhere in Ca.
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You and she would be far better off buying 1 1/8" solid stair treads. About $23/tread/riser. You can cheat with oak plywood risers if money is real tight, otherwise go with the 3/4" solid oak risers. You will be spending far more time sanding than the extra cost of good materials and it will *never* look as good. You will have a much stronger staircase too. Nosings can work but over the years traffic will pull them loose. Rounding over 3/4" stock is ridiculous, it is not strong enough to bear the weight of a large person. Taunton Press has a stair book, probably a companion video too. The floor stapler will be of little or no use, the space is too tight. You need to be sure all rises are within your code, mine is 1/4" of the surrounding risers. The top and bottom will often be out of whack and adjustments should be made.
M Hamlin The Oak Floors of Marco Los Gatos, CA

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