Oak stair treads - Help Please


The wife want me to remove the carpeted stairs in our home and replace it with oak stair treads.
She wants to re-carpet the center of the stairs with the oak showing on each side.
I am wondering if I could use a good quality oak veneer plywood with a solid oak bullnose.
The oak will not be walked on with the center carpet.
Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.
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Aren't most stair treads 5/4? I'd check to see the thickness of what you replace, but it seems to me that 3/4 (or 23/32) treads might be less than satisfactory in the noise department (this is just a gut feeling without any experience to back it up). Besides, I suspect 5/4 just looks right, while thinner tuff would look chintzy. I suppose you could make the nose of the tread 5/4, but I still wonder if the stairs would 'thud' right as you go down in a hurry.
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Jim
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Tom H wrote:

You _can_ although I personally don't like to do it that way as it only takes one ding once to screw up the thin ply veneer and it's a bear to repair. To save cost in such an installation, some use oak only for the two ends that show and just plain ply or stair tread in the middle. Note that stair tread is normall thicker than just 3/4" ply so you'll want to match existing thickness to keep the rise/run the same.
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Oak veneer is very thin. Even if not walked upon, any scratches will likely go through the veneer. If you do not want to go for solid wood, what about the oak flooring panels (1/4 in x 12 in x 24-36 in) glued to a plywood backer and the oak bullnose. Seems a lot more effort than solid oak, but this may depend on how much oak goes for in your location.
Dave Paine.

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"Tom H" wrote in message

First, it's your stairs and you can do what you want.
That said, what about the next owner who may want to remove the carpet? Although you will often see plywood stairs treads in cheaper homes in areas with little traffic (steps up to an attic, etc.), it is a cheezy alternative on the main stairs to my mind.
IME, plywood is simply not the best material for treads over the life of the stairs.
In short, and as long as you are going to the trouble of doing it, my bet is that you will ultimately kick yourself for not using solid wood treads in the first place ... besides being far less work.
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One problem with tearing out the existing treads is that they are likely 1 1/2" thick and even solid oak treads are usually 5/4 so you have changed the top and bottom rise. If an inspector a factor you may not pass and even if he isn't it'll take time to get used to the change.

This is sometimes done as a less expensive alternative to solid treads. I don't like plywood on the tread just because it can be damaged fairly easily although replacing one is not too difficult. Another method is to glue up some solid 1/2" or 3/4" thick oak to make the tread ends out of. I suppose you could even use a laminate flooring but I've never been asked to do that. Don't tear out the existing treads but apply these to each end of the treads. You haven't changed the rise at all where the carpet will be.
You might also check with your local lumber yard to see what stair parts are available. Most stair part manufactures make a solid piece to do exactly what you are talking about. The piece is normally 1/2" thick and comes with a nose for just the front or to turn the corner if one end is exposed. Don't forget you will also need something for the rise but plywood might be okay if the carpet will hide the raw edge.
Check page 25 of this pdf. www.coffmanstairs.com/literature/c_173.pdf
If the link doen't work just go to coffmanstairs.com and poke around.
Mike O.
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Thanks to all for the good advice.
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