Replacing Treads Routed Into Stringer/Skirt

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Old 12-05-20, 01:09 PM
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Replacing Treads Routed Into Stringer/Skirt

I want to replace the stair treads and risers leading to my second floor. These stairs were manufactured in 2010. The treads are routed into the side stringer/skirt. There aren't any additional stringers running underneath the treads themselves. I can cut out the original treads but the problem is supporting the new treads since I wouldn't be able to embed them 1/2" on both sides, like the original treads are. After I remove the original treads, can I nail pieces of 2x4 into the stringer/skirt flush with the bottom of the routed out section in order to support the new treads? I can then nail the new treads in using 2" 18 gauge nails. The new treads are 1" thick oak and I plan on staining them after I install them. Any thoughts/comments on this approach are appreciated.
 
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Old 12-05-20, 03:34 PM
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The reason that sort of construction works is because it is all assembled, glued, and put together then slid into place as one piece, like a giant cabinet or piece of furniture. What you are trying to do is rerecreate the same thing piece by piece. It will not be the same strength or quality. The reason dadoed stringers work so well is because the tread is captured and not able to move at all... not left,, not right, not up,, not down. You would be better off cutting new stringers that match your existing treads and putting them alongside your existing ones, and adding a center stringer or two.

And you will likely be better off using larger 15 or 16 ga. finish nails and glue or else trim screws and glue. A brad nailer can be used to trim stairs, but building stairs and nailing treads with one is not a good idea.
 
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Old 12-05-20, 03:45 PM
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I think once you've broken the original structure you need to install some other structure. You can keep the routed side plates but you need to install full length stringers as if you were building a set of stairs from scratch. The old side plates are just ornamental now.
 
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Old 12-05-20, 06:45 PM
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The problem is I don't have access to the back of the current stair case in order to add full length stringers. I'm trying to keep the stair case functional as I replace one tread at a time because it is my only staircase to the second level of my home.
 
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Old 12-06-20, 08:39 AM
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I don't have access to the back of the current stair case in order to add full length stringers
If your stair is an assembly as described by XSleeper, after you rip out all the treads and risers you may be able to insert new stringer(s) from the front. If that is possible, then maybe 1x "stringers" attached to the existing side pieces and a new full size 2X stringer in the middle. New treads could be cut the width of the stair plus the depth of one side dado that could be inserted into one side and then slid halfway back into the other side before nailing. That way there would not be a visible gap on the sides needing caulk or trim. The treads would appear to be routed in as they are now.

Have you investigated a thin wood overlay tread?
 
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Old 12-06-20, 10:01 AM
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Yes, it is assembled like XSleeper said. Great idea about extending the tread length to accommodate one side of the dado so I can then slide the tread over to sit in both dados. I was really hoping to only demo one riser and tread at a time and then replace them with new down the entire staircase. That way the staircase remains functional the entire time. Is demoing the entire thing and then installing additional stringers on the sides and new stringers in the middle the only way to do this?
 
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Old 12-06-20, 11:48 AM
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Is demoing the entire thing and then installing additional stringers on the sides and new stringers in the middle the only way to do this?
Hard to tell without seeing it or being there. Access from below is an obvious alternative but you said you do not have access. Removing several treads at the top and bottom and trying to slide new stringers in flat and then turning them vertical could possibly work if there is enough room between the existing treads and whatever is below, but I doubt it.

Have you considered removing it completely as a unit since it probably went in that way? How it is trimmed and finished in the space will be a big factor? Access through the house may not be a problem if you cut it up to remove it.

In any case you will be stuck with how to get to the second floor so probably not a DIY project but having someone in to build the replacement quickly.

Another thought based on:
trying to keep the stair case functional
Remove all the treads at one time. Keep them wide enough to rest on the new stringers later. Install the new stringers. Temporarily replace the old treads on the new stringers while you redo each step separately with the new ones fitting them into the dados as described before.
 

Last edited by 2john02458; 12-06-20 at 11:55 AM. Reason: Another thought...
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Old 12-06-20, 01:43 PM
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So Iíve attached a few photos. The problem with installing middle stringers is that there is 2x4 bracing every three feet or so that would need to be removed. The drywall below is nailed to the bracing. Also, the builders had to used wedges in order for the treads to fit snugly into the dado. Why canít I just install 2x4 blocking underneath the current treads so I could eliminate the wedges and in places of the side stringers? Also, since there isnít a current middle stringer, they screwed the bottom of the riser into the tread. Why canít I simply have a longer riser and accomplish the same thing with angle iron in the new treads? It seems like I would accomplishing the same thing as the original builders.
 
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Old 12-06-20, 03:45 PM
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Wedges in dadoes are a standard method of construction for such stairs. The 2X block helps with the compression but is not the primary support for the tread. (The dado in the side skirt/stringer is.) The problem with your idea (although it will work) somewhat is that it depends on nailing for support. Also quality stairs have a rabbet/dado joint at the back of the tread into the riser and the same at the top of the riser into the tread giving support across the entire width. Google "stair construction" for some explanations and ideas.
 
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Old 01-14-21, 12:03 PM
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Your stairs look like mine. How did you solve this? There are staircase angles, i was considering using them for a similar job im doing to my basement stairs. My place is over 100 years old and it concerns me if i pull the treads out of the dado there may be no going back for that staircase and may be worth building new ones.
 
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Old 01-14-21, 12:55 PM
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I contacted my county permitting department and talked to an inspector. He said to cut the tread length so that it fits fully inside one of the dados and then slide it over into the other dado so that it fits 1/2 way in both dados. Once in, I then installed and glued shims to the bottom of the tread to force the it to the top of the dado. Then I attached 2x4 blocking underneath the tread and nailed the blocking to the existing stringers. I used subfloor liquid nails to attach the blocking to the underside of the tread.

Before installing the tread, I installed the riser that was above the tread. I similarly used shims to hold it in place. I then glued and screwed a 1x brace 3/4 of the length of the tread that was above the riser, which secured the riser in place. I cut the risers long enough to extend to the bottom of the back of the treads. Once the treads were installed, I fled and screws the riser to the back of the tread.

I followed the riser/tread/riser/tread methodology the entire way and it worked like a charm. I had to gain access to the underneath of the stairway by removing the drywall though.
 
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Old 01-18-21, 08:14 AM
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Thanks for the reply i did something similar. Stairs had moved and sunk a little over the last century. Should have built new stairs but this facelift should buy me a few years.
 
 

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