Repair/Replace Stair Tread

I just pulled up the carpet on my main stairway with the intent of sanding it down and restaining the treads and painting the risers/stringers. To my dismay, 2 of the treads at the top are cracked. In addition, this is a "closed" stairway, and it appears the treads are inserted into slots in the stringers. Underneath the stairs is another stairway down to a finished basement (ceiling above lower stairway is fished), so if I needed to access the underside of the stairs I would have to remove ceiling (no real big deal, as it's only 3' ). Can I remove/replace treads easily? If not, could I just re carpet? Pictures of the situation are at:
http://home.comcast.net/~lvenick/stair /
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. LV
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<< Can I remove/replace treads easily? >>
Probably not.
<< If not, could I just re carpet? >>
Most cost effective for now. For a future major remodelling, research custom built stair assemblies at local millwork shops, internet sites, advertisers in "This Old House" and similar publications. Also consider some type of tread covering if you like the painted/stained look. Such treads are inherently safer than carpeting on stairs if you have kids or older people in your home. HTH
Joe
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Larry:
I'm just an amature remodeler and have only refinished 2 sets of stairs, so I hope someone else will chime in on this one.
If it were up to me (being a "Damn the torpedos! Full speed ahead!") kind of guy, I'd carefully saw the damaged treads in the middle. That way, you can pry (carefully) in the middle and pull each end out of the stringer recess.
Next, take the new treads and cut them just a fraction, say 1/2 " (1/4" on each side) too long for the stairway width.
Now you can insert one end of the tread into the left stringer slot and shift it into the slot as far as it will go. If it's still too tight and dosen't go into the slot more, then cut another 1/8" off and try again. When the tread will shift into the left slot, say 1/4", then lay the tread down on the riser and shift it right just enought to engage the other stringer slot. The tread will still be "in" the stringer slots and solidly heald down.
Don't forget to put adheasive on the risers and stringer slots first to help avoid squeaks later.
This all supposing of course that the rear of the tread is not recessed as well, but even so, this trick should work even if you also have to tap the tread rearward when it lays flat.
Hope this helps or gives you a better idea.
Richard
Larry wrote:

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- Larry -

- Richard Holliingsworth -

- Nehmo -
That would work. But the old treads are repairable, and matching the old wood with new isn't easy.
From the bull nose front of the tread drill horizontally but perpendicularly toward the crack. Drill first larger hole (the countersunk hole), perhaps 5/16" diameter, to accommodate the screw head and its bit. This hole should go to a depth of an inch shy of the crack. Next drill a hole in the bottom of your larger hole the same size as the shaft of the screw; drill only through the front piece. That is, don't drill past the crack much.
Now air blow and vacuum the crack.
Next flood the crack with glue (not polyurethane glue because it's difficult to sand).
Use a square-drive or torque-drive screw, maybe a trim screw, and use about five holes and screws. Screw the pieces together completely submerging the screw head to the bottom of the countersunk hole.
Wipe off the excess glue.
Use plastic wood filler in the holes over the screw heads.
When dry, sand the top of the now-repaired crack, sand the filled holes, and sand the other threads as well.
Apply stain.
If done properly and the crack is not unusual, this repair is invisible to the casual eye.
--
*********************
* Nehmo Sergheyev *
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Larry wrote:

Before pulling out the existing treads, try running loctite or some other clear glue into the cracks, and clamping them shut. If you're going to paint the risers anyway, you could also drill through them, and glue addition support to the underside without taking the treads out. If it doesn't work, you can always yank the treads later.
--Goedjn
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