I'm seriously considering remodeling my staircase. I want to do this
myself to save money.Currently the steps are carpeted and under the
carpet is just pine lumber or plywood. I want to install hardwood steps
but need a little guidance as far as procedures. I do plan to keep the
Can anyone recommend a book or a website, or even better, if you did
this yourself, please provide and overview of what procedures were
taken. (Knocking out risers and treads etc....)
Thanks in advance.
When I did mine, I was guided by several articles in" Fine
Homebuilding". One in particular was very helpfull. Unfortunately, I
did not save the issue but you might be able to do a search in the
Fine Hombuilding website archives and bring up the article. It may be
under the Taunton Press web site.
Try searching this newsgroup for an note from Tom Watson about this subject.
About a year or 2 ago, he wrote a very nice summary of building stairs. He
even mentioned the orientation of the treads to keep the bark-side up
because it wears better.
Yup. Been there done that. My experience was with a 140 year old staircase,
so I can't say that yours will have been put together the same way as mine.
In my case, I replaced the treads, moulding under each tread, and spindles.
I kept the risers and the original hand rail and newels.
The order of operations was :
Prebuild all treads glued up from solid stock. Prefinish. Slightly oversized
for later triming
Turned all new spidles. Prefinish.
Rip out spindles and treads.
Install new treads, custom trimming each tread as I went. It's an old house;
nothing is square.
The new treads were pretty straightforward. The new spindles and keeping
the old handrail was insainly complicated/fussy/time consuming.
I have pics if you like.
I've done it, I didn't find it difficult, although I thought a lot about
it before I started and made lots of drawings. I just "floored" right
over the pine treads and risers, which were originally carpeted. I cut
off the existing tread nosings first with a jig saw, and a hand saw for
the last inch or so against the skirt (the treads are morticed into the
side skirts in my stairs).
I started at the bottom with the first riser, first tread, and so on...
I considered white painted risers, decided against it because I figured
they'd remain white around my place for about 10 minutes :-) Purists
will argue that a solid tread is better than a couple of strips of
flooring . I'm happy with the way I did it, using 4.25" cherry planks,
full width. I routed a bullnose edge on the treads, glued the treads
down and used 3 screws at the leading edge, plugged with cherry. Here's
There's probably others.
Like all remods this can be an easy or not.
I would start by making sure what I have now as far as tread thickness
goes. A lot of stairs are framed using 2x12 treads which will be
1 1/2" thickness and some are framed using a manufactured tread which
might be 1 1/8" or it could be framed with something totally
different. Then check the stair part sites to see what you can buy to
replace the existing treads or decide what you might be able to make
yourself. If you change the thickness of the treads you will change
your top and bottom rise which you might be able to live with or not.
Or you can scab on to or cut off of the jacks to fix any variation
caused by a different thickness of tread.
If you want full oak treads, then I think replacing treads and risers
is the way to go in most situations. If you want a carpet runner
(with just the ends exposed) then there are less expensive ways to cap
the existing treads and not have to remove them.
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