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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello. First of all, I realize I can do a search to find answers and I have done that. I have found MANY different answers to many different scenarios; any advice you could give me here would be greatly appreciated. I obtained some beautiful white oak from my grandparents' farmland to use as new stair treads. I already had a woodshop check out the lumber and do all the planing and jointing, and they said it would be great for treads. I have sanded and stained the wood and it looks great. I am now ready to attach it. I ultimately desire to attach the stairs without any nail or screw holes showing and that includes plugs. I DO have access to the underside of my stairs. What would be the best method to attach the treads to the existing stair wood? What is a good adhesive to use? I feel very comfortable completing everything on my own including the risers. My only real concern is attaching the treads. I have included pictures of the stairs after having removed the previous linoleum and some plywood. The black is previous adhesive and I assume this should be removed before attaching the treads? If there are any other suggestions, advice, or tips you can give me I would be very grateful. Thank you for your time and advice!!!
 

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If you are careful with the length of the screws they could be used to fasten the treads and risers from the underside. You might have to have a right angle drill to do the first one or two steps. To be on the safe side I would use a little liquid nails to in case the screw didn't hold well enough.

If the steps were already level with the upstairs floor with only linoleum on it you probably will have to remove the top 2x12 and replace it with something thinner so the oak tread will be level with the upstairs floor.
 

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those are some strange steps

Usually the treads overhang the risers by at least 1". Your's do not overhang at all. If you do chose to have an overhang, it will protrude beyond the stringers any may look a bit strange also, but I would do that. Paint all your stringers first to avoid paint on the new treads and riser. I agree with Liquid Nails! Yes, you should remove all the mastic and have an clean, even surface. I also agree with screws from underneath. You can come straight in through the risers to pull the treads up tight to them. Wait until the next day to walk on them for the Liquid Nails to set up.

I also agree that the very top tread will be an issue. It will add "material thickness" to the flooring on the next story. You did not give the dimensions of your new threads or risers as far as thickness.

To avoid changing the flooring height significantly on the second floor I would use only a 3/8" thick treads, but that may be too late now. Like these tread covers.
See top landing solution here:
http://replacementstairtread.com/
 

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I would use liquid nails and brad nail them. Be clean with nail placement and it would look good. Screwing it from underneath would make a fun job not so fun to me. I would want a overhang also. I'm no pro but I have found simple is better for me,get fancy and I get into trouble.
 

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To keep your riser height on each step within code, you will need to remove the old treads. You will want an overhang on the new treads. From the picture, that skirt board lower end looks pretty rustic...and won't leave room for the overhang on the lowest tread. I would replace the skirt boards with nice oak boards to match the treads.

I agree with the others, you should use a construction adhesive like Liquid Nails or PL 400 between the treads and stringers. Not only will this guarantee a good bond, it will also eliminate squeaks. As long as you can access the under side, it will work to use screws from the underside. You will need to attach cleats to the sides of the stringers...glued and screwed in place. Let that glue harden before you run your attaching screws through these cleats. Be sure to use construction adhesive between the back of the tread and the riser it bumps up to. You don't want glue to squeeze out, but you do want a glue bond or you will have squeaks in your stairs. Run screws through the back of the riser into the back of the tread.

You will want a helper to hold the tread in place and tight to the riser at the back as you attach the screws from the under side. If you replace the skirt boards, you will want to make the treads tight fitting to the new skirt boards. Here again, you want to use adhesive at the ends to prevent squeaks. Apply it to the skirt below the top edge of the tread position and lower the tread onto the glue so it doesn't ooze out.

If you do get glue ooze that shows, you can clean it up with paint thinner, lacquer thinner, MEK, or acetone. If you take your time and make precise cuts, you will get a beautiful stair case.
 

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Usually the treads overhang the risers by at least 1".
When you are laying oak over existing treads, what you see in his picture is what you want to start with (no overhang). Typically you have to saw off the bull-nose overhang to have what he has in the pic. You then apply the riser and the tread over the bare stairs that he is showing.

Typical code is 1 1/8" to 1.25" overhang depending on area so find out what yours is so that you are within the range. You want your risers to butt up to the stair tread above it. The gap between the riser and the underlayment of the stair below will be hidden when the lower tread is put on.

Here's a couple of pics of some stairs I did that shows what I'm referring to. The second pic shows how you have to chop off the overhang which he already has.

The bottom riser is the hardest as it has to be flush with the bottom floor and the overhang of the above tread. After that, the risers just need to be flush with the overhang on the above tread.

Each stair will be different, you should build a jig that will size each tread perfectly.

If you don't want nail holes, I would use underlayment glue and either screw or nail from below. Even if you do nail from above you still want to use underlayment glue.
 

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nice work on those

The OP's stairs look like the rise is rather tall and the run is rather short. The mastic is also on the front edge of the thread, meaning they were not chopped off. Those are just some strange steps! I would assume from a basement? on a very old house? :blink:

If it were me, I would tear them out a build new ones including stringers and make the risers and tread run conforming, but without dimensions and head room who knows if that would be possible?
The top step will still be an issue if covering the existing ones, and unless the flooring at the second level is thick enough, the rise of the top step and be different than the rest.

I would like to know what the OP has to say? :blink: R U there?
 

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The top step isn't an issue. You use a normal tread, rip it to the size you want it and then route/dado down everything behind the overhang so that it is to the thickness/height you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sorry, have been too busy lately to reply. The top tread will actually not be a problem. The previous owners remodeled the kitchen and put down an underlayment and tile on the kitchen floor. That very top step is actually about an inch higher than the rest of the steps, so adding on top of the existing stair tread will actually bring them all to within the same measurement. They are old, the house was built in 1958 and I assuming that these are the original steps. It appears they put down mastic to adhere 1/4" plywood and then put down linoleum on top of that. The stair are steep and the treads narrow, 7 3/4" wide with a rise of 7 3/4". Regarding the skirt, there is a gap because the distance between the walls varies by two inches from the bottom step to the top. I would definitely use adhesive along with some type of hardware (screws/cleats). I plan on buying or making a tread measuring guide/jig to assist with each individual step. The treads are 15/16" thick. I haven't chosen anything for the risers yet but I plan on painting the risers and the skirt. I appreciate all the advice, thanks for your time!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ooops, I meant the last rise from the top step to the landing is actually higher, not the very last tread itself.
 

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Sorry, have been too busy lately to reply. The top tread will actually not be a problem. The previous owners remodeled the kitchen and put down an underlayment and tile on the kitchen floor. That very top step is actually about an inch higher than the rest of the steps, so adding on top of the existing stair tread will actually bring them all to within the same measurement. They are old, the house was built in 1958 and I assuming that these are the original steps. It appears they put down mastic to adhere 1/4" plywood and then put down linoleum on top of that. The stair are steep and the treads narrow, 7 3/4" wide with a rise of 7 3/4". Regarding the skirt, there is a gap because the distance between the walls varies by two inches from the bottom step to the top. I would definitely use adhesive along with some type of hardware (screws/cleats). I plan on buying or making a tread measuring guide/jig to assist with each individual step. The treads are 15/16" thick. I haven't chosen anything for the risers yet but I plan on painting the risers and the skirt. I appreciate all the advice, thanks for your time!
With a tread that narrow it is for sure not in code, that is a fall hazard.
Too much over hang of the nosing is a trip hazard as your toe can hang going up. A too narrow tread is a fall hazard as mostly your heel is on the tread and your toe over hangs on the way down.

You said the top rise wouldn't be off by adding on top of the 2X already there, how about the bottom step or tread, will the rise be the same as the other steps after adding to the top of the tread. If so then the bottom tread is wrong now. If someone is hurt on the stairs insurance will not pay if they are out of code.
 

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free advice..

tear 'em out start over, increase the run to get a proper width tread.

Treads


  • The tread is the horizontal part of a stair step where individuals place their feet when climbing stairs. The depth of the tread, also less commonly known as the tread run, must be a minimum of 10 inches. The IRC specifies measuring this depth horizontally from the foremost projections of adjacent treads and at a right angle to the tread’s front edge. Tread depths must be consistent throughout an entire flight of stairs. Only variations of 0.375 inches or less are allowed.

Risers


  • The risers refer to the vertical increase in height between treads. The IRC specifies a maximum riser height of 7.75 inches as measured between leading edges of adjacent treads. As with treads, risers must be uniform across an entire flight of stairs, with variations of under 0.375 inches. A riser may slope from the underside edge of a tread, as long as the angle is less than 30 degrees from the vertical. Risers may be solid, open or have a pattern, as long as the spaces within do not allow a 4-inch-diameter sphere to pass. This prevents small children from pushing their head into those spaces and getting stuck.


Read more: http://www.ehow.com/info_12163621_rise-run-standard-stair-treads.html#ixzz2jz8n2OUA
 

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Another thing to note will be the variance in the height of each step in relation to the rest. There can only be a certain difference (max 3/4"?) between two treads.

I remember a few years ago when we failed a C/O because our trim guy didn't check this as he went. We ended up having to rip up the top four treads and shim each one a 1/4" to make up the difference of the top tread. When you start putting new treads over old, I'm guessing the height of that first step will be much greater than the rest since the floor level isn't changing.

Unfortunately, I agree with woodnthings. Tear em out and start fresh. More cost up front, but they will be to code and you won't be accounting for errors from original build or previous remodel.
 

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Plus if you try and sell the house, it could get caught by the inspector and they would make you fix them.
depends on how old the house is...

I have seen PLENTY of stairs WAY more jacked up than this on older homes.

And those homes were sold with no problems... :yes:

The stairs in my Lawyers office building are so damn steep and jacked up - I had to drag one of my dogs down for the first few steps to get her going (poor bitch was nervous about going down that crap - and I DONT have 'wimpy' / 'nervous' dogs). Those were without a doubt the most f'ed up stairs I had ever seen BUT... Because the building was old AND in a 'historical district' - Newer building codes are not applied and that crap WILL fly.
 

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maybe so, but

depends on how old the house is...

I have seen PLENTY of stairs WAY more jacked up than this on older homes.

And those homes were sold with no problems... :yes:
The real issue is safety. Any variation in riser height is a trip hazard and IF someone were to fall and get seriously hurt, the lawyers would be all over this. The present owner OP, would be held responsible since he was the one who "modified" the steps. Possibly his insurance company would not cover the claim? Possibly it might be a family member who was injured?
Your body has a muscle memory about each step being the same height and if there is a significant variation, you may trip. Ever carry a laundry basket full of clothes down the stairs? You can't see the steps and you are not holding the handrail ........ :thumbdown: That's why the code only permits a 3/8" variation, not 3/4". A difference in tread length would be far less of an issue, than in the height.
 

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The real issue is safety. Any variation in riser height is a trip hazard and IF someone were to fall and get seriously hurt, the lawyers would be all over this.

In todays world - People can sue you for anything.

McDonalds got sued because the coffee was too 'hot' not that long ago...

:yes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for all the advice. I will check into the code in my area. I have a good friend who did home appraisals for the county and now deals with building codes/permits. I'm sure he'd be more than willing to come over and check it all out for me.
 

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Thanks for all the advice. I will check into the code in my area. I have a good friend who did home appraisals for the county and now deals with building codes/permits. I'm sure he'd be more than willing to come over and check it all out for me.
Wise move, better to do it right the first time. What bothers me is the first step is going to be pretty high if you go on top of old tread.
 
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