Replacing Carpet on Stairs with Wood Treads


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Old 01-18-13, 05:39 PM
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Replacing Carpet on Stairs with Wood Treads

We have nasty, stinky 70's carpet on the stairs that needs to go. We would like to replace with wood treads. I have pulled some carpet to see the structure underneath. The "treads" that are under the carpet are 2x10's. My question is do I lay the treads over the 2x's or will I have to rip them out and put the treads directly on the stringers? I know nothing about staircase construction so I am wondering what will happen to the geometry of the stair case.
 
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Old 01-18-13, 06:16 PM
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You will likely need to remove the 2x12's and replace them with some nice looking oak treads. The rise of each step needs to remain the same +/- 1/4". Could you supply some pictures of the staircase from above (and below) so that we can see their construction?
 
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Old 01-19-13, 07:58 AM
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Old 01-19-13, 08:53 AM
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mmm, that's good but I was hoping to see the actual framing, not the carpet. Can you access the bottom of the stairs and get a shot of the stringers along the wall and the bottom of the tread and riser?

And maybe lift up the carpet in the same spot you inspected and give us a look too?

I am just concerned that maybe your treads are notched into the stringer rather than setting on top of them. It would help us give you better advice if we knew how the stairs were constructed.
 
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Old 01-19-13, 05:16 PM
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Thanks for the help so far. I ripped the carpet off so here are some other shots. It appears the treads are sitting on top of the stringers. I haven't pulled a tread up yet so I hope you can tell from these shots.

DSC_0857_zpsf4a2948a.jpg photo by jpr28056 | Photobucket

DSC_0858_zps9e25f2e0.jpg photo by jpr28056 | Photobucket

DSC_0860_zpsb92c41c2.jpg photo by jpr28056 | Photobucket
 
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Old 01-19-13, 06:40 PM
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What we need to see is the framing from UNDER the staircase. Is that possible? In addition, if there is space you would do well by installing a skirt board along the sheetrock wall to prevent scuffs, but we'll get to that after we see what framing you have under the stairs.
 
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Old 01-19-13, 07:28 PM
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I will pull a couple pieces off tomorrow. Thanks
 
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Old 01-20-13, 05:19 AM
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Pulling off treads may help, but the original request was for pictures from beneath the staircase. Do you have access to that area?
 
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Old 01-20-13, 02:15 PM
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No, there is no access to underneath unless I start tearing out drywall. There is a storage closet with the water heater in it that is fully drywalled. I pulled up one tread. The first pictures shows the drywall at the back side of the closet.

DSC_0863_zpsee0df966.jpg photo by jpr28056 | Photobucket

DSC_0862_zps7aa5feca.jpg photo by jpr28056 | Photobucket

DSC_0862_zps7aa5feca.jpg photo by jpr28056 | Photobucket

I hope you can make something out of this.
 
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Old 01-20-13, 02:53 PM
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Yes, those pictures help. You will be able to pull off all the treads without any problem, the way it looks. You will want to be very careful to avoid splitting your existing stringers as you pry the treads off.

Larry mentioned the possibility of adding a skirt board to the wall. This would probably be a good idea as it helps protect the walls around the stair treads so that the vacuum cleaner and such doesn't beat up the walls. It might be a little difficult for you to visualize and cut, but a chalk line a few inches above the stairs that matches the angle of the stringer and how it will transition into the lower, upper and landing baseboard would give you a visual line to mark and measure from. Depending on how high you would like it to be you could use 1x10 or 1x12 or similar, cutting out notches around the existing stringers.

You'll probably be replacing the risers too, or at a minimum, refacing them with something that is either paint grade or stain grade, depending on your style. Painted risers look nice with stained treads, unless you want it entirely stained and varnished.

I don't know how Larry feels about there not being a stringer down the center of the stairs. I think I'd feel a little better if there was some additional support across the center of each tread. As you install the new treads and risers you will need to work from the bottom up, gluing, screwing / nailing the bottom/back of each riser to the back of each tread, gluing them to the stringers with construction adhesive, then screwing / nailing them down.

Any step in a staircase cannot vary from any other step by more than 3/8". So you will need to determine how thinner treads will affect the top and bottom stairs, as well as the landing height. Oak treads (sold in stores) are usually 1 1/8" thick, which is 3/8" thinner than your existing treads. one way around this would be to glue 3/8" plywood to the tops of your stringers so that all your existing heights would remain the same. (otherwise your bottom step could possibly vary from your top step by > 3/8" since they all would be 3/8" lower, except for the final step onto the 2nd level, which would then seem 3/8" HIGHER)

The exception might be the landing, where you might want to cover the landing with a 3/4" subfloor, then cover that with some 3/4" oak flooring, and then apply a nosing that mimics the thickness and projection of the other stair treads.

You would also want to entertain whether or not you will have any additional moulding under the nosing, as this will partially determine your tread width. The add'l moulding can sometimes be beneficial to cover up any unsightly gaps, and it also adds detail to the stairs if you don't want them to be plain. Some prefer stairs to have moulding, some don't.

If this helps, please let us know or if it raises additional questions please feel free to ask. As we put our heads together we can usually figure out most of the problems people encounter doing this sort of thing.
 
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Old 01-20-13, 03:47 PM
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You're right, Brant, I don't like the fact that the staircase is made without a middle stringer. IMO that needs fixing. BUT, while fixing it, and if it were me, i would remove it all, use the old ones as templates, cut new ones, install the one next to the sheetrock at 3/4" away from the wall so you can install a proper skirt board.

JPR, you'll just have to digest all this a little at a time. Although it seems extensive, it's sort of like remodeling a bathroom........tear it all out and start over. You'll have more room to work and can be confident in the installation.

Don't worry, we aren't going anywhere and we can help with whatever you plan on doing. Let us know what your thoughts are on this.
 
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Old 01-20-13, 04:05 PM
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Larry and Brant, and JPR, in the latest set of photos it looks like there is drywall next to the treads and risers on the banister side too. Installing the stringer on that side 3/4" off the sloped wall and adding a second skirt board would probably be a good idea while you're at it.

A stringer down the center is a must, it seems to me.

Yes, JPR, this is expanding the work you were planning on doing. But it's nothing we can't help you through.
 
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Old 01-20-13, 04:29 PM
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Bill, post #10 middle pix, I was thinking this was plywood already. Confirm?? Or do I need to turn my bifocals upside down again
 
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Old 01-20-13, 07:43 PM
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Thanks for all the input. I have read this over about 5 times trying to digest all of it. Ideally, I don't have an issue taking everything down but my problem is dealing with the closet that is under the majority of the staircase. In the first picture where I have the tread raised up, you can see the back wall of the closet. What sort of issues will this raise?
 
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Old 01-20-13, 07:47 PM
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You will probably just have to remove the drywall on the angled ceiling of the closet and replace it.
 
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Old 01-20-13, 08:31 PM
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That will probably be logistically impossible due to the location of the water heater.
 
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Old 01-21-13, 04:41 AM
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Can you do it in sections? I have run across this on occasion, where a full sheet won't go in due to an obstruction. Smaller pieces and seam the joints.
 
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Old 01-22-13, 10:32 PM
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I think you're right, Larry. Can you give me a referral to your optometrist? I may need to make a change.
 
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Old 01-23-13, 04:55 AM
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I think I am the only one who travels 1500 miles to see my optometrist Daughter in Denver.
 
 

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