How to caulk between finished stair tread and painted riser?

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Old 06-30-09, 02:04 PM
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How to caulk between finished stair tread and painted riser?

I am going to be painting the risers and skirtboards on my stairs, the treads have already been refinished (sanded, stained, and polyed).

There is a tiny gap all the way around the tread where the riser meets it as well as where the skirtboard meets it on each side.

Should I leave this gap the way it is with the clean line, or should I caulk it?

My concern with caulking it is the fact that I will now have caulk on the finished stair tread so it won't be a perfect line anymore. Even if I use tape to mask it off, there will still be a bead of caulk on the tread. How far onto the tread should the caulk be? A sixteenth out from the riser? An eighth?
 
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Old 06-30-09, 02:11 PM
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I'd caulk it - it will look better

Put a thin bead in the crack and then take wet/damp rag/sponge and remove all the caulk except what's in the crack. You may need to wipe the tread again with a clean rag/sponge to remove any caulking residue.
 
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Old 06-30-09, 02:21 PM
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So basically I am just filling the crack with caulk, I am not putting a bead (like if it were an inside corner or the top of molding, etc.)?

And when I paint, I am going to have to paint all that caulk right to the tread? I don't know if my hand is that steady!
 
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Old 06-30-09, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
I'd caulk it - it will look better

Put a thin bead in the crack and then take wet/damp rag/sponge and remove all the caulk except what's in the crack. You may need to wipe the tread again with a clean rag/sponge to remove any caulking residue.
This is the correct way to do the job, BUT, believe it or not stair treads move each time you walk on them unless they have been installed with adhesive on the stringers. If you walk up and down and they creak or croak, they are moving, and thus the caulk joint will eventually fail. So if you have a nice even opening all the way around, I would not add the caulk. If you decide to paint, and not have a glass of whiskey to steady your hand, and get a little paint on the tread, simply wrap a thin rag around a broad knife (moisten with water if using latex or thinner if using oil), and slide it parallel to your caulk joint and get the paint back off...

Bill
 
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Old 06-30-09, 02:43 PM
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Thanks for the advice!

I do head some creaking and I am a big guy so I'm sure there is movement like you said. So maybe I'll leave it uncaulked as you mentioned.

If I could find an image hosting site that this forum allows I'll take a picture.
 
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Old 07-03-09, 07:21 PM
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Looking at it more, I could see a lot of marks and digs from when they sanded the steps, I think I am going to have to caulk the joint.

If I use masking tape on the finished stair tread I should be able to get a clean line, right? My question is this, can I leave the masking tape there for both the caulking and the painting, or do I have to remove the tape right after I caulk while it's still wet?
Thanks!
 
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Old 07-04-09, 04:20 AM
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I'm not overly fond of using tape - it usually results in a false sense of security. If you must use tape, it's best to remove it while the caulk/paint is still wet/tacky. A bond can be created between the painted wood and the tape - no problem while wet but once the paint/caulk dries it can cause problems.... unless you take a utility knife and cut the bond between the tape and what you have caulked/painted.
 
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