New Stair Treads are too shallow - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 07-02-2020, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
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Question New Stair Treads are too shallow

I bought an old house and I'm doing some updates. We removed some old carpeting from the main stair case and underneath are some old 2x4s. I decided to replace this old wood with some new oak treads and risers. After watching a ton of youtube demos, I start cutting up my pieces.
  1. I cut a ~.25" dado groove in the riser.
  2. I start to assemble a tread and a riser and there isn't enough overhang.
  3. The tread nose should over hang the riser by 3/4 to 1 1/4". Right now it's almost zero.


These are brand new oak treads from Lowes, about 11 1/2" deep. I'm attaching some photos and a computer model screen shot to explain the situation.


Any ideas on how to fix this so I have at least 3/4" overhang? Thanks for any advice you can offer.
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post #2 of 18 Old 07-02-2020, 03:13 PM
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You'll have to add to the back of the tread.
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post #3 of 18 Old 07-02-2020, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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OK, I was thinking of adding some strips of red oak to the back of the treads. I would stain them, and attach via wood glue and a few brads to the tread.

Does that sound right?

This is my first stair case so any advice would be welcome.
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post #4 of 18 Old 07-02-2020, 03:20 PM
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The least noticeable way is .....

Add a piece along the rear edge. Use another tread of the same lot or several, so the color and grain with match fairly well. Just glue on another 1 1/4", but saw them (rip) carefully so you get a good square and straight edge for gluing. No biscuits or dowels needed, it will be plenty strong, BUT if you are short on clamps for this many treads, predrill some holes, 3 or 4 per tread for some 2 1/2" Torx or square head deck screws.

OK, I was thinking of adding some strips of red oak to the back of the treads. I would stain them, and attach via wood glue and a few brads to the tread.



Don't add your own Red Oak, use more treads from Lowes. It will match almost perfectly.

For added strength you could glue on a backer underneath. I don't know if the building code permits this type of "fix" but if you use screws and a backer, no one will "fault" your attempt. It certainly won't pass code they way they are now.


The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 07-02-2020 at 03:23 PM.
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post #5 of 18 Old 07-02-2020, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I will post some pics once I'm finished.
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post #6 of 18 Old 07-02-2020, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeletalsabaki View Post
Thanks, I will post some pics once I'm finished.
If the treads are a minimum of 11 inches you do not need an overhang, per code.
Also, you need keep in mind that the first floor and second floor landings may need adjustment if your are replacing 1 1/2" thick treads with 3/4" thick treads. If the landing surfaces remain the same you will create too much of a variance from the first floor landing to the bottom step and from the top step to the second floor landing.

Last edited by JIMMIEM; 07-02-2020 at 03:49 PM. Reason: Add info
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post #7 of 18 Old 07-02-2020, 05:11 PM
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Maybe so, but ......

Quote:
Originally Posted by JIMMIEM View Post
If the treads are a minimum of 11 inches you do not need an overhang, per code.
Also, you need keep in mind that the first floor and second floor landings may need adjustment if your are replacing 1 1/2" thick treads with 3/4" thick treads. If the landing surfaces remain the same you will create too much of a variance from the first floor landing to the bottom step and from the top step to the second floor landing.




If they look like this, they look like a mistake, unfinished and they are ugly.
I would be adding the strip on the rear edge, if they were mine.




The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #8 of 18 Old 07-02-2020, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post



If they look like this, they look like a mistake, unfinished and they are ugly.
I would be adding the strip on the rear edge, if they were mine.



Yes, this way does not look good. I was just telling the OP that his tread width does not require an overhang.
Lots of ways to remedy. I might go for a thinner riser. Just another option.
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post #9 of 18 Old 07-27-2020, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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So far so good!

Your advice worked really well. I'm happy with the treads.
My next challenge is the railing needs to terminate into the ceiling. I'm attaching some pics to show the situation at the landing, 8 steps up. My railing hand height is 36 inches high, which will drive it into the ceiling, as opposed the wall.

I have found some photos of how this is executed, but there don't seem to be any youtube videos on how this is done.

From the attached pics, it looks like I need to mount some railing to the ceiling. Join the ceiling piece with the long piece of the handrail.

Any advice on the connection between the two pieces of rail or mounting the rail to the ceiling would be appreciated!
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post #10 of 18 Old 08-16-2020, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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OK, next problem. I'm on the last 4 treads, but the walls on either side aren't plumb. I can place my template tool but I can't pull it out. The template gets squeezed by the walls. This video should explain it better than I can:
Walls are not plumb.

Any suggestions?
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post #11 of 18 Old 08-16-2020, 12:59 PM
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Make a mark on your jig then reposition after removing the jig. If that doesn't work, use two separate pieces of 1/4 plywood to make a jig that you can slide each end into the wall mark the plywood so when you remove it it goes back into the same position.

If there is a gap at the end of the tread where the bottom of the tread is touching the wall but the top isn't, you will need to under cut the ends so the top edge of the tread touches, instead of the top.

http://www.diychatroom.com/

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post #12 of 18 Old 08-16-2020, 01:15 PM
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You are going to have the same problem when you try to install the treads. Put a chamfer on the underside of one end. Tilt the tread into place by lowering in the unchamfered end first then lowering the chamfered end. If you can put a chamfer on the underside of one end of your jig you should be able to tilt it out instead of pulling it out.
The chamfer will leave just a small point of contact on the top surface of the jig and tread with the wall. When you chamfer the tread only chamfer the section that touches the subtread......don't extend the chamfer to the nosing where it overhangs.
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post #13 of 18 Old 08-16-2020, 01:37 PM
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I donno about this ....

While this railing "looks great" I don't know how you can grasp it near the ceiling if you mis-step or get off balance. There's no room for your hand or fingers and that could be a problem with an inspector or the building codes. It sure looks nice, however!

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #14 of 18 Old 09-05-2020, 10:19 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys!

Next question:
-The last 4 steps are 33 1/2" wide.

-I have discovered that there is no stringer in the middle of the tread, just at the ends.

-Will the treads be too weak? I'm using 1" Red Oak treads.

Here's a short video of the situation.

Grateful!
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post #15 of 18 Old 09-05-2020, 10:34 AM
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You need that center stringer on a none mortise stairs. At the very least, those stairs will squeak like crazy, way too much give for them not too. Also your stairs will not be in code and if an accident happens, your insurance will not pay. And the last thing I can think of is, if you sell your home, an inspector worth his salt will find the missing stringer and you will have to rip all out and start over.

On another note, why not install a skirt instead of that base mold on each step. It isn't totally difficult and will look way way better.
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post #16 of 18 Old 09-05-2020, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Jim, I'll look at putting a skirt there instead. Also I've reached out to a couple carpenters for a quote, this is getting into some deep water for a weekend warrior.
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post #17 of 18 Old 09-06-2020, 01:33 AM
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Add a 3/4" piece to each stringer. Plywood strips would be best because the strips won't split when the riser is attached.
If you want more than 3/4" overhang use 1/2" and 3/4" plywood strips for 1-1/4" overhang.
You are packing out the riser ,the tread then goes against the riser .
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post #18 of 18 Old 09-06-2020, 06:12 AM
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I've only built mortised steps .......

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJim View Post
You need that center stringer on a none mortise stairs. At the very least, those stairs will squeak like crazy, way too much give for them not too. Also your stairs will not be in code and if an accident happens, your insurance will not pay. And the last thing I can think of is, if you sell your home, an inspector worth his salt will find the missing stringer and you will have to rip all out and start over.

On another note, why not install a skirt instead of that base mold on each step. It isn't totally difficult and will look way way better.
It's a pain using a circular saw making multiple cuts and chiseling out for the treads, but it's the only quick way and they are very strong. After the fact, as in your case your choice is to do as I did and make new stringers for the 4 steps.... certainly very doable. Or make "faux" mortises using triangular shaped pieces and glue and nail them in place on the existing stringers. .... faster and easier and just as strong in my opinion.

Your other issue is the lack of a center stringer which is a much bigger job to retrofit one, but again doable by someone with some prior experience. You can make a 1/4" plywood or thick cardboard pattern from one side and then cut a 2 X 12 for the center one if that's what you feel capable of ...? When making complicated templates like this, I like to use separate triangular pieces taped securely together to form a single large template.


Finally, your treads are too narrow and the only way I would fix that is to add an inch or so on the back edge, by gluing and nailing on hardwood strips. I like to see at least a 1" or 1 1/4" overhang on the treads. It just looks right in my opinion. All my steps have such an overhang.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 09-06-2020 at 06:14 AM.
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