Pre-Finished Stair Treads?


Hi All,
I'm on the tail end of a basement refinishing project and have two questions:
1. Are pre-finished stair treads (for interior staircase) common and something I would be able to find easily, or do they typically sell them as unfinished? I'm looking to avoid the toxic aroma associated with finishing them in their entirety if it can be avoided.
2. Present plywood treads are glued/nailed to stringers. To remove could potentially damage the stringer. Is it feasible to overlay the new tread directly onto the existing plywood tread? I realize it could skew the height of the top or bottom stair by the thickness of the tread....
Thanks in advance!!
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1 . DAGS search for pre-finished stair treads. Yes, they are readily available, on-line and in stores. Of course, unfinished will be cheaper and can always be finished outdoors or in a well ventilated area prior to installation. Damaging the finish during installation is a wash whether you do the finishing yourself or purchase pre-finished treads.
2. My grandfather, a mason and woodworker who built countless stoops and staircases, had a saying related to steps: "The feet remember." If the top, bottom or any step in between has a different rise, even just the thickness of a tread, you will create an "uncomfortableness" at best, a tripping hazard (especially when carrying something) at worst. Remove the old treads. Pull the nails and sand off any remaining wood/adhesive. Obviously I can't see how the existing treads are attached, but I'm not sure I would be concerned about "potential" damage. I'd be more concerned about uneven risers.
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"Jim Conway" wrote

Yes, but may not be at the box stores where you are. Google will show many of them you can order online.

Actually that will work fine but be sure you do it with all of them. Like the other person said 'feet remember'. It's ok if the bottom step is a bit different, but the one's between should be the same.
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re: It's ok if the bottom step is a bit different.
I beg to differ, in a most polite manner.
If I'm carrying something down a flight of stairs, such as a large box or a laundry basket, and my feet have figured out the distance of each riser, they're going to expect the ground to be at a certain place. If it's lower by tread width (~ 3/4") then there's going to be a "jolt" as my foot keeps going after it expects to stop.
It's kind of like stepping out of a tub whose "floor" is higher than the bathroom floor. The eyes may not pick up the difference in depth and that extra inch or so can be disconcerting as your foot keeps going after you expected it to stop.
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Jim Conway wrote:

What "toxic aroma"?
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Perhaps 'unhealthy aroma' would have been a better choice of words. I'm talking about the smell of the polyurethane which would require open windows until it abates, but as I've also learned (having previously painted with an oil-based primer) which would also be susceptible to creating an exhaust-like smell due to hot-water, dryer, or furnace pilot igniting the fumes....
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Jim Conway wrote:

If you decide to go with prefinished, I'd air them out for several days in someplace other than the house. I remember unboxing kitchen cabinets and stair parts as a kid, and the outgassing from the finish after it was trapped in a hot truck or warehouse, would knock you on your ass. Any fresh finish will smell for awhile. Factory finish will probably abate quicker, since it is partially cured when you get it. I understand modern water-based urethanes are much better that way, but have never worked with them personally. Big virtue of factory finish is that it is much harder and more durable than anything you can do in the field. (In my experience, at least.)
-- aem sends...
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re: If you decide to go with prefinished, I'd air them out for several days in someplace other than the house.
And then I'd bring them in the house, preferably fairly close to where they will be installed, and let them acclimate for a day or two. This should be done with any wood product prior to installation.
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