Oak caps for stair treads

Just moved into a new (well, new to me, house). First floor is all tile and hardwood (oak). Second floor is all hideous teal carpet (all the rage 10 years ago, I guess). We have ordered all new carpets, but SWMBO wants me to change the stairs to oak treads and white painted risers. The stairs are still carpeted, so I am not positive, but I think they are make out of OSB.
My idea is to make a cap for each stair out of 1/4" plywood with a solid edge. I have a few questions:
-What type of plywood should I use? Just BORG oak face or is there a better grade out there that I should find?
-How should I adhere the tread to the stairs so it remains adhered when I want it to, but I can remove and replace if it is damaged? Titebond II? Hide Glue? Nails? or some type of Mastic?
I know I could replace the entire tread, but I am hoping to do this job with minimal effort.
Thanks in advance
Montyhp
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On Wed, 18 Aug 2004 17:43:32 -0700, "Montyhp"

it's more of a can of worms than you might realize.
first, the veneer on plywood is very thin. it'll get torn up right away if you walk on it.
second, the regs on stairs are pretty tight. you are *not* allowed to just go randomly changing the rise...
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bridger responds:

Way too thin.

Not really regs, but stairs need to be almost dead even in size. Any significant (over 1/4" or less) variation causes tripping.
Basic solution: find a carpet you like better.
By the way, I tend to doubt the stair treads themselves are OSB. Possibly plywood, though even that is a rotten choice.
Charlie Self "Bore, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen." Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
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I have been "gearing up" for a similar project in our house for about 3 years. I have done some research and so far, the best solution I've found seems to be the soid oak stair parts sold at Home Depot. These consist of 1/4 in thick overlay for the tread and separate bullnose for the front.
Our stairs are fully carpeted also. Our plan is to cover both sides of each step and bullnose the front (about 8-10 inches on each side). leaving the center of the step untouched and eventually carpeted. This way, we will not be changing riser height on the first and last step.
The solid oak overlay HD sells is about 1/4 inch thick as I recall. I fully expect to be scribing each of the 13 steps to get a good fit. I may resaw my own overlay oak and just buy the bullnose.
To make matters more complicated, the steps we have now are already bullnosed, but not oak, so I will be routing/chiseling off the bullnose from each side of each step also.
Hope this makes sense!
Good luck to both of us.
Lou

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lou responds:

Well, good luck to you. Your toes will probably tell you of the difference in bottom riser and top riser heights when you're done.
Charlie Self "Bore, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen." Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
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Charlie - maybe I'm missing something. The middle part of each step will remain exactly the same as it is now. I will only be adding oak to the sides of the steps - thus forming a 1/4 inch "slot" which will get carpeted.
I don't think this will have any affect unless someone walks on the 8 inch (or so) oak sides.
I could be missing something.
Lou
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Lou responds:

You're not adding a tread cover? If you're not, no problem. If you're covering the treads, the bottom tread/riser combo will be 1/4" higher than the next step up. The end step will be 1/4" lower.
Charlie Self "Bore, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen." Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
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Charlie Self wrote:

Doesn't have to be: In my case, I added the same thickness material in the foyer so the relationship is the same. I also added the same material for the path from the stairs to the kitchen door. Everything is in the exact same relationship.
But even if it is: On the stairs from the lower level to the foyer, I added nothing to the bottom so it was 1/4" difference to the first step tread for about 6 years. No one ever noticed. I've since added engineered wood in the hallway so now it is 3/8" less than the past six years. No one has ever noticed. The laminate thickness is about the same as the carpet and padding the OP has in place now.
Adding laminates to stair treads is done every day in hundreds, maybe thousands of homes. If it was a concern, the govenment would have new laws to protect us from ourselves and our stairs.
--
Ed
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