DIY Stairs? With Pics


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Old 12-09-12, 11:27 AM
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DIY Stairs? With Pics

Hi, we want to redo our stairs from carpeted with old balusters and railing to wood treads with iron balusters. The flooring downstairs and up is cherry laminate. I received a quote from a stairs guy, which came in around $6k for maple wood. My question is, how hard would this be to do myself? I've read stairs are fairly complicated, but I could take a week off work to do this. Underneath the carpet are plywood pieces. Would I remove those or put treads on top? I've seen some websites that sell the wood also sell treads that are thinner so they can go on top of plywood, but also read that it would cause extra squeaking if I do that. Any help is appreciated. Pictures attached.
 
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Old 12-09-12, 11:37 AM
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Welcome to the forums!! I can't imagine anyone using 1/2" plywood for stair treads and risers. As you guessed it all has to come out, balusters, carpet, treads and risers. With your design you will need to use treads that have finished, attached exposed ends all the way up. You'll also need to address the manner in which you will deal with the landing. I usually buy enough treads to so the landing, trim off the bullnose on the interior ones and biscuit them together so it will match the treads on the steps. Do you have anyone in mind to make your balustrade? Custom made metal will not be cheap.

Is it DIY? Sure. Will it be a piece of cake, Nope. Do you have tools?
 
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Old 12-09-12, 12:08 PM
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I can't imagine anyone using 1/2" plywood for stair treads and risers.
Nor can I. Must be like walking on a sponge. I'm actually surprised they don't squeak.
 
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Old 12-09-12, 01:21 PM
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Thanks for the replies. They do squeak already, so getting rid of that would be welcome. I think all of the balusters can be purchased already made, right? We may go with standard wood ones, but paint them white. I don't think the current ones can be salvaged since they're glued in there pretty well. I have a table saw and dewalt sliding miter saw, so I think I'm okay there. I don't have a router, but I think it makes more sense to buy the treads routed already. Here is what I'm thinking:

Stair Treads - StairSupplies™

Platforms - StairSupplies™

You can see that the platforms/landings they sell are not routed on the edges, so I would need to do that. Do you know of any websites with detailed instructions on doing this? I've watched youtube videos and read short sites, but nothing too detailed. Thanks again.
 
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Old 12-09-12, 03:30 PM
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Because of the open tread design you will not be able to use the tread "caps" that are on the market. You can order the treads unfinished and apply the exact color stain you desire. Then finish them with a floor grade poly. The name of the treads you are looking for are called "mitered return treads". You will also need a decorative medallion under the treads to finish off the exposed drywall edges. Your newel post and rails need to be placed exact for you to go with iron ballusters (tough to cut to fit...).

For a DIY'er I would recommend a plowed rail with ballusters that are square at the top and bottom. You are planning on painting them anyway. The plowed portion of the rail is a small recess on the under side of the railing that you fit the cut balluster into. You then fill in the area between the ballusters with matching trim (fillet) for a finished professional look.

Save every thing when you tear out, it will help figure out angles and such.
 
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Old 12-09-12, 03:36 PM
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I am not sure if they still have them, but at the big orange store they had oak treads and riser kit that covers the old treads. I am pretty sure this is them: Alexandria Moulding Simple Tread Stair and Riser Kit - The Home Depot | The Home Depot Looked pretty slick. Maybe check them out near you.

I also found other companies that have similar products by Googleing "Simple Tread" which is the name of the one at HD but found other hits.
 
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Old 12-09-12, 03:59 PM
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The kits are designed for closed stair (wall on both sides) installations. Open treads need a mitered return to finish the open end.

You video link does not work, problem on their end not yours.
 
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Old 12-09-12, 04:37 PM
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Thanks Czizzi. Do you think I could get away with chopping the nose off the plywood treads currently in there, or should I just rip those out altogether? Did the treads I linked to look like the correct kind if I remove them?
 
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Old 12-09-12, 04:46 PM
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No, they are not. They had both for open end and closed end.

Try this video: Alexandria Moulding Simple Tread Stair and Riser Kit - The Home Depot - YouTube
 
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Old 12-09-12, 05:11 PM
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Duly noted, I had researched this as an option for a client 2 yrs ago and all I came up with was the closed staircase application.

This situation has the added element of 2 landings at the top and middle. Top can stay carpet but the middle needs further thought.
 
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Old 12-11-12, 05:36 AM
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Treads Online

Keep in mind the shipping costs when ordering online. Custom treads from a local cabinet shop might be a good option. All the milling operations could be done at the cabinet shop. Just a thought.
 
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Old 12-11-12, 05:48 AM
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If it was me, I would go with unfinished oak mitered return treads and 2 matching bullnose caps that can be used as the edge treatment the landing. One bullnose would make the finished end of the top landing on the stair side and that would be mitered to the one that makes for the side landing overhang. You would then inlay 3/4" oak strip flooring on the rest of the landing to match the treads. Top landing would remain carpet unless you would change the upstairs hallway to hardwood to match.

I would remove the 1/2" ply and attach directly to the stringers, glued with a subfloor rated adhesive. The treads can either be Finish nailed or you can counter sink screws and finish with oak plugs.
 
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Old 12-11-12, 06:23 AM
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I would add that when finishing, the more you can do before installation the better. Besides being easier to paint/stain, it cuts down on the how long the staircase is out of commission due to wet poly.

While I don't install stair parts I've finished miles of them. I'll sand, stain, poly, sand again lightly and apply the 2nd coat of poly to all the parts that stain before the carpenter gets started. Most paint grade balusters come pre primed so you just need to sand them lightly and apply a coat or two of enamel. After installation all you have is minor touch up on the pickets. Same is true if of painted risers. The stain work might need a little stain touch up but basically it's just puttying the nail holes, a light sanding and coat of poly. The stairs can be opened to stocking foot traffic the next day.
 
 

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