Attaching Stair Riser and Treads - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 16 Old 11-17-2008, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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Attaching Stair Riser and Treads

I am replacing the carpet covered stairs in my split level house - tired of falling down them. The original builder nailed 2x2 's to the end of some 2x10's for treads and plywood for risers. After 25 years the nailed 2x2's tilted down and were not safe.

Using prefab red oak treads (Home Depot), solid red oak risers and skirt boards. I have re cut the stringers (3 of them) and have them installed. They are now straight and level.

My questions are...

How do I attach the treads and risers to the stringers?

With the advancement in wood adhesives,

Would it be acceptable to Liquid Nail them in place, anywhere wood meets wood to avoid squeeks, put a few trim nails in them to hold them in place until the Liquid Nail set up?

I am trying to avoid drilling holes in the stairs and seeing the plugs when done. I also want to do it right. I have looked at many pics of stairs on the web but you can't always see everything in a pic.

Any help is greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 16 Old 11-17-2008, 04:30 PM
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Do you have access to under the stairs?
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post #3 of 16 Old 11-17-2008, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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Access?

I do not have easy access to the underneath of the stairs. There is drywall on both sides. On the left side (looking up the stairs from basement) I do have a closet that I could cut a hole in and access the underneath of the stairs. When I was done I could patch the wall in the closet. I was trying to avoid this. But I will do it to make things right.

Last edited by speckert; 11-17-2008 at 05:01 PM.
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post #4 of 16 Old 11-17-2008, 05:34 PM
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I use a good polyurethane glue and a few nails to hold things in place while the glue dries.

Work from the bottom and go up. If you still have that 2x2 nosing that's on the front of the stairs it needs to be removed. The new wood tread will hang over the 1/2 or 3/4 to give you the new nosing look.

When I cut the riser board I leave it a bit wide so when the next tread sits on the step it contacts the riser board before the sub tread board. Once the glue dries it will support the step. I also glue this intersection with either the poly glue or a good wood glue. I'm only talking about 1/8 inch or so, not much.

Do one thing at a time, do it well, then move on.
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post #5 of 16 Old 11-17-2008, 07:14 PM
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I tried to draw a picture, but my simple drawing exceeds the amount of memory allowed (frustrating - sorry - sure it's my fault). But I've had many good results by just -

Leave all the finished wood rises off for now:

Starting at the first step: toe-nail a long "trim screw" (those small headed screws are perfect for this ap) through the top front (unfinished) rise, 45 degree angled up into the first finished run (obviously don't pick a screw that will go through (or you would step on the point of the screw at the first step - see what I mean?).
On stairs, I run these about every 6 inches across (keeps from squeaking).
Put the same screws along the back of the run (every 6 inches), close to the back edge of the board - the rise will hide the screw when done.

All this does is toe-nail the front run to the unfinished rise and secure the back (same board) every 6 inches with screws.


This is your new step... and all that requires strength (and squeaking).
On the rise, cut it close to hide the lines, either glue the rise or (I prefer) brad nail inconspicuously (corners). That way, when someone comes back later to repair something, they don't have to deal with the glue.

Let me know if you have problems. Like I said, I've done many stairs like this with no complaints (even my house).
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post #6 of 16 Old 11-18-2008, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Back of tread attachment

I understand what you are saying about attaching the front of the tread. The only thing I am still a little fuzzy on is attaching the back of the tread. Am I running a trim screw at a 45 through the stringer into the bottom of the tread at the back also? My risers are going to be tucked behind the treads when the stairs are completed. I was going to put a piece of molding (cove of some type) at the top of the riser where it meets the bottom of the tread. I appreciate your help on this.
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post #7 of 16 Old 11-18-2008, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speckert View Post
I understand what you are saying about attaching the front of the tread. The only thing I am still a little fuzzy on is attaching the back of the tread. Am I running a trim screw at a 45 through the stringer into the bottom of the tread at the back also? My risers are going to be tucked behind the treads when the stairs are completed. I was going to put a piece of molding (cove of some type) at the top of the riser where it meets the bottom of the tread. I appreciate your help on this.

When I was building stairs I always glued and nailed the riser to the back of my treads. I glued and nailed the treads down to the stringers using 10d finishing nails. The nail holes were filled to match the stain.
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post #8 of 16 Old 11-18-2008, 03:43 PM
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I'm not sure if this has been addressed yet but if you are only adding new treads to the top of the old, your bottom step will gain height in the tune of the tread thickness. And the top will decrease by the same amount.
Stair risers are only allowed to vary by 1/4". You may be headed to an unsafe condition if not addressed.
If you got that handled disregard.
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post #9 of 16 Old 11-18-2008, 03:54 PM
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Kreg have a video showing Gary Striedler showing how to use pocket holes in building or renovating stairs.
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post #10 of 16 Old 11-18-2008, 05:17 PM
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The back of the tread can be screwed straight down (I like every 6 inches for squeaks). Just keep them close enough to the back edge of the run that the rise will hide the screw heads.

Adding wood directly to the stairs may or may not affect the height. It depends on what is at the 1st and 2nd floors. If you have carpet on the top of the stairs I have a great fix. If this is the case, let me know and I'll post a pic.

Rarely, you have to remove the "subfloor" runs to make the stair "height" work out (and add ply). But I've found, most of the time you don't have to do this.
Good luck, let me know if there are any problems.
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post #11 of 16 Old 11-18-2008, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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Risers and tread attac

Thanks to all for your help. I will post some pics when done. The old stringers were so out of square that I started from scratch and made new ones. Putting up the skirt boards at this point and then moving on to the risers and the treads.
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post #12 of 16 Old 01-27-2009, 02:47 PM Thread Starter
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Working on replacing top set of steps now

Got the stairs which go downstairs done and was able to attach the stairs from the underneath with screws at an angle and poly glued everything. All joints are tight and no squeeks.Turned out perfect.
I have moved to the next set of steps which go to the upstairs (House is split level) portion of the house. When I went to remove the stringers, again to recut them because they are so out of square, and fix the fact that the rise on all the stairs was 7 inches except the bottom one, it was 5" I found that the ceiling for the closet, which is below the steps, was nailed directly to the stringers. Well long story short. The ceiling is out by default because the old stringers were junk. A big benefit I have found is I now have access to the bottom of the steps and can install them the same way as the bottom set. Is attaching the ceiling for the closet directly to the stair stringers a common way to do things? I would think that the ceiling would flex as people step on the stairs above it. Eventually it would cause cracks in the ceiling. It is in a closet so it would be not seen until you open the closet door. My question is... After I finish installing the steps, should I frame out the ceiling area (lumber suggetions, sizes for this?) or should I just attach the drywall to the bottom of the stringers like the previous people did? I will post pics later on tonight.

Thanks,

jim
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post #13 of 16 Old 01-27-2009, 05:21 PM
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typically one would attach strapping from the bottom of one stringer to the next at every 16" and then attach the drywall. If the stringers are attached to the studded wall there should be no issue.
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post #14 of 16 Old 01-28-2009, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
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Closet ceiling

New stringers will not connect to the wall studs. Do I need to somehow frame something out?
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post #15 of 16 Old 01-28-2009, 05:25 PM
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You could always attach a 2x4 as a cleat along the studded wall running parallel to the stringer and strap to that that way it wont move with the stair.
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post #16 of 16 Old 01-29-2009, 09:46 AM Thread Starter
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Closet ceiling

That sounds like a great idea. I think that is what I'll do with. Thanks.

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