Renovating Staircase - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 04-05-2020, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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Renovating Staircase

Hi all,

Brand new here, came looking for a place to help with ideas on a staircase Iím hoping to renovate.

The original staircase had carpet on it. My plan was to rip it up and then sand/stain the treads to match my flooring and paint or install new white risers. I knew it wasnít going to be easy going into it, as the treads and risers are all curved.

Unfortunately after removing carpet from one of the sets of stairs, Iíve discovered this may be much harder than I thought (and maybe not even possible without ripping out the entire staircase?).

The stringers are shop-built housed stringer construction. (From what Iíve researched online to learn). And one of the two staircases I donít have access to the underside, so I donít think I can cut out the current treads/risers and just replace with new ones as Iíd need to get in behind to wedge and fit the new treads/risers?

Iím looking for any ideas/advice on what I can do to refinish or renovate these stairs to make them stained wood and white risers?

Iíve toyed with the idea of sanding them down and painting as close to my wood floor colour as I could? But not really sure itís going to look the way I want it to.

Pictures attached. I can take more photos or answer any questions you may have. Thanks everyone for taking the time to read my conundrum.
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Last edited by BigJim; 04-05-2020 at 01:32 PM.
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post #2 of 11 Old 04-05-2020, 01:57 PM
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The main problem I see is the treads are plywood. Plywood has a very thin veneer and will not hold up to traffic for long. I would check to see if thin tread caps would work. You don't want to put thick ones on as it could make the stairs out of code. Out of code stairs, an accident and insurance will not pay off, leaving you wide open for a law suit. So you really want the stairs to stay in code

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post #3 of 11 Old 04-05-2020, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply BigJim.

I imagine these stairs are original to the house, so they’ve been here for 20 years and feel sturdy as ever. No creaking or give to them in the slightest.

Edit* in re-reading your post I see your comment about the plywood was about my refinishing comment. Makes sense, sorry about that. I can’t refinish and stain these treads because the layers of plywood show in the front of the treads as well.

I’ve looked at tread caps as an option but I can’t do that with the current treads because of the rounded curved edge. All tread caps I’ve seen are designed to go over a straight edge.

Last edited by ChefAndrew; 04-05-2020 at 04:02 PM.
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post #4 of 11 Old 04-05-2020, 05:25 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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Make your own?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefAndrew View Post
Thanks for the reply BigJim.

I’ve looked at tread caps as an option but I can’t do that with the current treads because of the rounded curved edge. All tread caps I’ve seen are designed to go over a straight edge.

It would be easy enough to glue down some thick veneer and use a router to clean up the round front edge. Then glue on another 1/4" or 3/8" thick strip for the front edge that has been rounded over prior to application.


If you want a thicker bull nose, make a template off one of the steps to make a form in order to bend several thin laminates over while the glue sets up.

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; 04-05-2020 at 05:28 PM.
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post #5 of 11 Old 04-05-2020, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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Here’s some shots of the staircase from beneath. I can only access 1 of the 2 staircases like this from below.
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post #6 of 11 Old 04-05-2020, 10:21 PM
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They are mortise stairs so removing the treads is a big deal. If you were to decide to go with tread caps, you could use a circular saw and cut the nose off. You would have to use a chisel, hand saw, reciprocating saw or an oscillating saw to finish cutting the rest of the way where a circular saw can't cut. It wouldn't have to be dead straight but it sure helps if it is. You could use an edge guide for the circular saw.

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post #7 of 11 Old 04-06-2020, 12:21 AM
where's my table saw?
 
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Nothing on those is straight.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigJim View Post
They are mortise stairs so removing the treads is a big deal. If you were to decide to go with tread caps, you could use a circular saw and cut the nose off. You would have to use a chisel, hand saw, reciprocating saw or an oscillating saw to finish cutting the rest of the way where a circular saw can't cut. It wouldn't have to be dead straight but it sure helps if it is. You could use an edge guide for the circular saw.

The risers are curved as well as the nose of the treads, so you can't use a straight edge to run a circular saw against:



I posted about thick veneer above:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Mahogany-Wo...wAAOSwkXBeMMZK

https://ocoochhardwoods.com/veneers/

https://www.certainlywood.com/result...=Submit+Veneer

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; 04-06-2020 at 12:44 AM.
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post #8 of 11 Old 04-06-2020, 09:46 AM
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Man, I do need my glasses changed, lol, I missed that one big time, sorry.

That changes things totally. You won't find a cap to fit those treads for sure. All I can think of at this point is tear out and start from scratch on the treads and risers. Or as woodnthings said, wooden nosing with thick veneer. I need more coffee, I will need to think on this one. Any way you go, this is not going to be simple, unless you go back with carpet.
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post #9 of 11 Old 04-06-2020, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you both for all your ideas so far. I don't think I can remove all the individual treads and risers, as they are wedged in with wooden wedges and glue from the back of the stairs, which I wouldn't be able to get at to properly secure the new treads/risers.

I could cut the nosing off (albeit with a lot of time and work to get around the curved risers), and then install new treads ontop of the existing treads, this would leave me with new, straight edged treads, but still a rounded riser, which I'm not sure would look good?

I was really looking forward to having a set of hardwood stairs when this was all done, but didn't know what I was getting into from the beginning. Currently my working plan, unless there's some other good suggestions, is to redo carpeting over just the stair treads in something more fitting to my decor, and then either a white thick veneer or wood thick veneer stained to match my upstairs flooring on the risers, and sand/paint the stringers white.
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post #10 of 11 Old 04-06-2020, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefAndrew View Post
Thank you both for all your ideas so far. I don't think I can remove all the individual treads and risers, as they are wedged in with wooden wedges and glue from the back of the stairs, which I wouldn't be able to get at to properly secure the new treads/risers.

I could cut the nosing off (albeit with a lot of time and work to get around the curved risers), and then install new treads ontop of the existing treads, this would leave me with new, straight edged treads, but still a rounded riser, which I'm not sure would look good?

I was really looking forward to having a set of hardwood stairs when this was all done, but didn't know what I was getting into from the beginning. Currently my working plan, unless there's some other good suggestions, is to redo carpeting over just the stair treads in something more fitting to my decor, and then either a white thick veneer or wood thick veneer stained to match my upstairs flooring on the risers, and sand/paint the stringers white.
I wish there was an easy fix to your situation but so far I can't think of one. I am still thinking about it.

Just brain storming here, this may not be what you want. There is a false red oak false end that fits on top of the tread and extends about 6 inches from the skirt/stringer, see photo. They also have a thin riser that goes below this cap. While this is straight, it may not look bad to have 6 inches of red oak tread and riser on each end of the tread straight and carpet on the center curved part.

You may have to cut in on the nosing a little in order for the nosing to not stand proud of the carpet with these caps but that would be minor. I hope this is making sense.
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post #11 of 11 Old 04-06-2020, 07:18 PM
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I don't have a solution to the treads but the curved risers could be covered with thin T&G or beadboard and painted. Thin (2"?) T&G would easily conform to the radius of the riser. That might not be the look you want but I thought I'd throw it out there.


What is the current tread height of the stair and what is the current code in your area? It's usually a range and how much you can add to the tread will depend on if you are at the limit of the range.


Adding a tread over what you have makes the first step taller and the last step shorter (all the other steps remain the same) but you may be able to add 1/2-3/4" and still be within code.
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