Stair skirtboard to baseboard transistion

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Old 11-04-04, 08:15 PM
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Stair skirtboard to baseboard transistion

I'm converting from false treads/carpeted treads to hardwood treads on a staircase with one side open. I would also like to add an inside skirtboard and outside skirtboard (paint grade). I have detailed info on how to make the skirtboards but none of my sources describe how to transistion from 3/4" skirtboard to 1/2" baseboard. When I see colonial stairs in magazines etc. the skirtboards have a seamless transistion to baseboard and the profile is identical. My base is 1/2" thick. I can't really install thicker base since it will be proud of my door casing.

I have 2 questions -

In one of my books he mentions that the drywall can be removed from under the skirtboards. If I did this and then shimmed the skirt board to be 1/2" proud of the drywall I would be in business except for the profile. I just wanted to be sure that this is commonly done before I start removing drywall. The other problem that this would create is that I would have to add my skirtboard profile as a cap to hide the drywall end next to the skirtboard.

The other problem I have is matching the profile. I have a fairly simple modern baseboard profile but it's to wide to cut it with a molding head on my table saw. I could have this done by a local shop. I suppose the back side would have to be rabbeted if I added the profile to the entire width of skirtboard to solve the problem above but it seems like things are getting too complicated.

The other alternative is to rip off the top profile part of my base and nail/glue that to the skirtboard which would hide the drywall end and match my base perfectly. The cap to skirtboard joint would not be perfect but it would probably be passable.

Another carpenter told me to use quarter round to hide the thickness difference between skirt and base - yuck! I'd appreciate any help from a stair guy - there don't seem to be many out there.

Thanks
 
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Old 11-04-04, 08:47 PM
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Cool

Alex,

Forgive my ignorance about stair parts, I build a lot of stuff out of wood, but stair parts aren't one of them.

Removing drywall seems like a pita.

Can't you just use 1/2" stock for a skirt board capped off with a profile of like or similar baseboard to the baseboard you have already? You can just rip the top profile off with your TS.

That way thickness isn't an issue, and even if you buy baseboard at your local home improvement store with a similar profile, it wouldn't be that hard to blend it in.

It seems like things are being made too complicated.


just my .02
 
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Old 11-04-04, 10:36 PM
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The outside skirtboard really has to be 3/4" because it has miters that join with the 3/4" risers. The risers are structural elements to some extent so it's probably not a good idea to make them 1/2" thick. Although your idea does have some merit since miters are only visible from the outside so a 1/2" skirt mitering to a 3/4" riser would be Ok - no one would be the wiser.

As for the inside skirt board (the one above treads), good stair design dictates that the treads and risers should be housed in dadoes so their are no visible gaps. Thus the inside skirtboard should be at least 3/4" thick if not 1" to accomodate dadoes.

Removing the drywall is not big deal with a spiral saw but it's not something I take lightly.
 
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Old 11-05-04, 09:20 AM
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Thanks Alex, that makes it a little more clear to me.

I guess I should stick to what I know best, furniture and cabinet building!

Good luck with your project.
 
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Old 11-06-04, 12:48 AM
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Originally Posted by AlexH
When I see colonial stairs in magazines etc. the skirtboards have a seamless transistion to baseboard and the profile is identical. My base is 1/2" thick. I can't really install thicker base since it will be proud of my door casing.
There in lies the solution.

Originally Posted by AlexH
I have 2 questions -.
I wouldn't consider either of the two you had mentioned.
You could use 3/4" base and skirtboard. Cut the same profile for both, deeper, add a 1/4" to the back of the casing of the first doorway, still using the 1/2" base on the far side. That way the reveal on the 1/2" base and the 3/4" are the same and the transition to the skirtboard is smooth.

You could use the 3/4" skirtboard, without a profile, and at the 2nd or 3rd risier, continue the skirtboard to the floor and butt the 1/2" base into it, or continue it to the natural end.
 
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Old 11-08-04, 10:07 AM
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Why would you say yuck to adding quarter round? What about shoe molding? Shoe is very commonly used in conjunction with baseboards, being very helpful is closing gaps and giving an even appearance. I'd consider ripping the top of your baseboard so that it can flow down the top of your skirt board and do the same with shoe molding. That would result in a consistent appearance without any interruptions.
 
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Old 11-10-04, 08:11 PM
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Whales,

I/he meant using the qurter round to disguise a thickness difference between skirt and base - so the QR would be vertical. Perhaps you understood this but I have never seen this.

Since you mentioned shoe molding I'm wondering how it's normally nailed to base over hardwood or tile. I once had to nail QR to base over hardwood using a pneumatic brad nailer and it was not easy to nail through the shoe and still hit the meat of the base. Perhaps hand nailing is preferred although if one's aim is not perfect the floor could be easily damaged.
 
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Old 11-10-04, 08:41 PM
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Stair skirtboard

Interior skirt board would have to be installed before treads and risers. Exterior afterwards. Go to the following link which may be helpful to you. http://www.motherearthnews.com/arc/2856/

Stair parts should be installed without having to use quarter round or shoe molding because that tends to make for a 'cheesy' looking installation.

Installation of shoe mould or quarter round can be done with pneumatic nailer. If not, then pre-drill and use nails.
 
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Old 11-11-04, 07:38 AM
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Alex,
I was taught that when fastening shoe molding, you don't necessarily want to hit the base, but rather the flooring/subflooring. This way, there is kind of a slip joint between the shoe and base, allowing for differences in expansion/contraction, without pulling open any gaps. I'm not a pro, so this may be flawed, but it seems to have worked for me. When on hardwood floors, this is easy enough. When going over tile, I've always had the benefit that I've installed a new tile floor at the same time, so I leave just enough of a gap so that I have a clear shot at the subfloor. I usually just make sure I'm using a little longer brad in the nailer.

Maybe I misunderstood the original question, because when I read twelvepole's response, he said quarter round would make for a cheesy installation. All I was suggesting was that with stairs that have a wall one one side, use the quarter round where the skirtboard meets the sheetrock. This is actually how I've seen stairs in every house I've been in.

Currently, to improve the finished look of our house, I'm replacing all the clamshell baseboards with 5-1/4" colonial base. Where the top and bottom of the skirtboards are, I'm going to rip the top half of the colonial base off so that the height of the base is seamless and will run this ripped base down the length of the skirtboard. Then I'll do the same with the shoe, which I always use in conjunction with baseboard molding.
 
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Old 11-11-04, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by whales
Alex,
I was taught that when fastening shoe molding, you don't necessarily want to hit the base, but rather the flooring/subflooring. This way, there is kind of a slip joint between the shoe and base, allowing for differences in expansion/contraction, without pulling open any gaps. I'm not a pro, so this may be flawed, but it seems to have worked for me. When on hardwood floors, this is easy enough. When going over tile, I've always had the benefit that I've installed a new tile floor at the same time, so I leave just enough of a gap so that I have a clear shot at the subfloor. I usually just make sure I'm using a little longer brad in the nailer.
This makes sense and I think I saw this in one of my finish carpentry books.

Originally Posted by whales


Maybe I misunderstood the original question, because when I read twelvepole's response, he said quarter round would make for a cheesy installation. All I was suggesting was that with stairs that have a wall one one side, use the quarter round where the skirtboard meets the sheetrock. This is actually how I've seen stairs in every house I've been in.
I'm glad you mentioned this because I have exactly this situation and I was thinking - "do I run the skirt right into the corner?". Now I know what to do.

Originally Posted by whales

Currently, to improve the finished look of our house, I'm replacing all the clamshell baseboards with 5-1/4" colonial base. Where the top and bottom of the skirtboards are, I'm going to rip the top half of the colonial base off so that the height of the base is seamless and will run this ripped base down the length of the skirtboard. Then I'll do the same with the shoe, which I always use in conjunction with baseboard molding.
I live in modern CA house and while it's a really nice design, they seemed to have a real aversion to millwork. None of the windows have any casing, the stairs have false treads with carpeting right against the wall (makes painting a real pain), passageways have no casing and the base was 2" tall rectangular profile. Really bland.

How are planning to attach the base cap to the skirt board? Brads and glue? I assume you will not nail the base cap to the studs.
 
 

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