Author Topic: Replacing carpeted stairs with hardwood  (Read 5144 times)

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Offline promark747

  • Posts: 473
Replacing carpeted stairs with hardwood
« on: May 22, 2015, 12:20 PM »
I've decided to replace the carpet on the stairway to our basement with hardwood, and have a few questions:

  • Once I remove the carpeting and tack strips, I plan on cutting the lip of the existing plywood (?) tread to be flush with the riser.  That way the new hardwood tread with bullnose edge will fit on top of it properly.
  • I am planning on not adding an apron to the side walls.  Do you think this is optional or something I should reconsider?
  • Should I glue and screw (with plugs) the treads, or is construction adhesive good enough by itself?  I plan on using standard oak tongue-and-groove flooring strips.
  • I think I will install the risers behind the treads, not on top.  There seems to be differing opinions...the main downside I see with putting the risers on top is that if a tread needs repair, it makes the job much harder.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Brian
« Last Edit: May 22, 2015, 12:23 PM by promark747 »

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Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 6614
Re: Replacing carpeted stairs with hardwood
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2015, 01:21 PM »
The nice thing about an apron is that it attenuates the free movement of air which reduces dirt movement & noise movement.

I would recommend glueing & screwing because I want to finish the job and then move on to the next one. I don't want to come back and try to fix a squeaky tread. My stairs do not have 1 squeek in them 15 years later.

I've installed risers behind treads and have not had an issue.

For the tightness of the tread/riser joints that I wanted, I needed to be able to measure to +/- 1/4 degree and consequently be able to cut to that same precision. A 1 degree angle has a pitch of .0174" per inch. So over the 9" depth of a tread, using the 1/4 degree precision, the largest gap I could have would be .039", or slightly over 1/32".

I'd strongly suggest purchasing an adjustable tread template. It's a jig with moveable arms that doesn't force you to measure the angles, you just transfer the angles instead. I did it the old fashioned way by trial & error and it was miserable. Updated 2 stair cases that way, never again.


Offline TheTrooper

  • Posts: 247
Re: Replacing carpeted stairs with hardwood
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2015, 01:46 PM »
Once I remove the carpeting and tack strips, I plan on cutting the lip of the existing plywood (?) tread to be flush with the riser.  That way the new hardwood tread with bullnose edge will fit on top of it properly.
good start. Sometimes I find it easier to just Tearout the plywood treads.

I am planning on not adding an apron to the side walls.  Do you think this is optional or something I should reconsider?
optional but it's a nice addition

Should I glue and screw (with plugs) the treads, or is construction adhesive good enough by itself?  I plan on using standard oak tongue-and-groove flooring strips.
are you going to install a stair nose and strip flooring or is it a full tread and are they prefinished or unfinished?
If so I recommend PL Urethane adhesive 10.5 oz tube,  and spread with a ¼x¼x¼ v-notch trowel and 16 gauge nail or trim screws. The glue will make it squeak free the nail is just a Clamp until it's cured

I think I will install the risers behind the treads, not on top.  There seems to be differing opinions...the main downside I see with putting the risers on top is that if a tread needs repair, it makes the job much harder
good plan.
Let me know if they are prefinished and full treads or strip planks
RO90, RO150, DTS 400, LS 130, CXS, TS 55 EQ, CT 36AC, OF 1400,  Parallel Guides, Kapex Miter saw,  3 MFT Kapex tables, C18

Offline TheTrooper

  • Posts: 247
Re: Replacing carpeted stairs with hardwood
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2015, 08:36 PM »
Here are a few pictures of prefinished with the factory stair nosing. They are pretty unsightly with the joints in them and height difference.
RO90, RO150, DTS 400, LS 130, CXS, TS 55 EQ, CT 36AC, OF 1400,  Parallel Guides, Kapex Miter saw,  3 MFT Kapex tables, C18

Offline promark747

  • Posts: 473
Re: Replacing carpeted stairs with hardwood
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2015, 09:47 PM »
Thanks Trooper.  I will likely be using unfinished oak (which I will stain/finish myself) to match the existing flooring.

Offline TheTrooper

  • Posts: 247
Re: Replacing carpeted stairs with hardwood
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2015, 09:53 PM »
I recommend using the PL Urethane and 16 gauge nails. It will give a clean consistent look.
I've been using Bona water-based for the past year and man it is a great product.
RO90, RO150, DTS 400, LS 130, CXS, TS 55 EQ, CT 36AC, OF 1400,  Parallel Guides, Kapex Miter saw,  3 MFT Kapex tables, C18

Offline TheTrooper

  • Posts: 247
Re: Replacing carpeted stairs with hardwood
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2015, 05:34 AM »
Here is the same process that you are doing. Only difference is that the plywood treads where only nailed so I pulled them off.
The treads I sanded and finished at my shop to match the prefinished flooring. (I prefer to install then sand &  finish),but in this case the owners were out of town and I didn't have access until they returned.
I pulled the old plywood tread off. Then I ripped the riser to size. Glued the back and screwed in from the back of the plywood riser.
Then I Glued the stringers and installed the tread with 16 gauge finishing nails.  I then repeated the same process for each step.
I filled the hole and then applied my 3rd coat of Bona Natural to the treads.
On this job the 30 year old handrails and spindles were not touched.
RO90, RO150, DTS 400, LS 130, CXS, TS 55 EQ, CT 36AC, OF 1400,  Parallel Guides, Kapex Miter saw,  3 MFT Kapex tables, C18

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 6614
Re: Replacing carpeted stairs with hardwood
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2015, 10:30 AM »
I recommend using the PL Urethane and 16 gauge nails. It will give a clean consistent look.
I've been using Bona water-based for the past year and man it is a great product.

@TheTrooper
I agree the Bona water-based products are great. I use Bona Traffic and it's incredibly tough and long wearing. We have a 90# Golden Retriever that is nervous about going down stairs. Her nails have actually dented the maple treads making long indentations while the Bona Traffic still adheres to the treads and has not scratched or lifted.

I'll also add that if the stairs become a little too slippery, topcoat the treads with Bona Anti-Slip. It works extremely well.

Offline TheTrooper

  • Posts: 247
Re: Replacing carpeted stairs with hardwood
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2015, 02:29 PM »
The traffic HD line is really durable. I used the Natural on my last job and fell in love with it. It literally feels like unfinished natural wood.  Matte finish and has the anti-slip agent in it. Very tough as well.  I stock the Traffic HD Commercial Extra Matte, Traffic Anti-Slip, Traffic HD Gloss, Mega Satin, Bona Seal, and Amber Seal.
I've really come around to liking waterbase finishes. I used to be an oil only finisher. But I love the clarity of the waterbase.
What stair tread template jig do you use?
RO90, RO150, DTS 400, LS 130, CXS, TS 55 EQ, CT 36AC, OF 1400,  Parallel Guides, Kapex Miter saw,  3 MFT Kapex tables, C18

Offline avrs22

  • Posts: 91
Re: Replacing carpeted stairs with hardwood
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2015, 03:26 PM »
One of the only thing I don't like about the WB stuff is the high price.
$70 + tax for bona mega around here, I think the traffic is $115.
I forgot 4 gallons in the truck back in December and it froze, so it went in the trash.
I learned a expensive lesson that day.

The stair builders around here start from the bottom, they load the stringer with pl, put the tread in and screw the riser to the back of the tread and move on up to the next tread.
No nails and they guaranty it wont squeak.
The only tread that has nails is the top tread. 2 small nails, one on each side on the back of the tread.
It looks a lot nicer without any nails in the risers or treads.