Adding moulding to stairs?

Old 12-07-07, 06:51 PM
dsw is offline
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Adding moulding to stairs?

I'm finishing my basement and need some help with the stairs.

The stairs are solid and in good shape, but in some areas on one side the treads and/or risers are separated from the two side walls. The stringers run underneath the stairs, so the edges of the treads/strings try to butt up against the wall. Over time, gaps and cracks (up to 1") have emerged between the treads and the side walls.

How do I add some baseboard type moulding (1x4s) on top of the stairs to cover up these gaps? This seems especially difficult given the rounded noses/edges of the treads.

One other point of info: we are planning to cover the stairs with carpet -- so would the moulding go on before or after the carpet?

Thanks for your help.
Old 12-07-07, 07:45 PM
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Adding moulding to stairs

If you can't get to the back side of the stringers to screw them into the treads, have the carpet installed wide enough to fill the crack space. The padding and carpet should take care of that and you won't know it's there.

Duke of ....
Old 12-07-07, 07:49 PM
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To do the job right and so it looks like new construction methodology, it be best if you made a full one piece 'skirt board' (for along each side) from a 1 X 10?, that would have to be notch cut to fit the treads and risers.

Depending on what you have and the work involved, you could temporarily remove the treads to make the job easier.

Or, you would have to either carefully measure or trace to do this. The bullnosed protruding treads complicates the ease of this task, hence why I mentioned removing treads first. [One advantage you have, with any cutting mistakes is that the carpet will hide little errors (gaps)].

Using individual pieces of trim is an unorthodox method as this would require all these individual mitres for the treads and risers.

The skirt board looks best and performs the function of keeping the wall from getting marred and/or dented from objects, vacuums, etc.

You want the top of the skirt board to be in the neighborhood of having the top being about 2 inches higher than the front edge of the tread. At the top of the stairs, you horizontally cut the top off the skirt board to line up with the top of the baseboard trim at top of stairs when applicable. At the bottom, it can be done a couple different ways.

Research what this skirt board looks like and how the terminations are done at the top and bottom, depending on what kind of base trim is used. You may find drawings or photos on the web, or in magazines or you could visit a relative, neighbor, or ? where there are stairs with skirt boards.


Another option is to just carpet and do nothing. And just hide the gaps with carpet. You could perhaps prefill the gaps first with caulk or that foam gap filler and then carve it when it dries. With this method you lose the protection against the walls, but the width of the stairs will be 1 1/2 inches wider (than if skirted with 1 x board on each side), if that means much.

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