install hardwood floor on stairs

Old 06-11-06, 02:20 PM
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install hardwood floor on stairs

Hi experts:
I've installed hardwood floor in my living room and kitchen, it was Bruce oak gunstock, 2 and 1/4" strip bought from HD. It looks great! So I plan to replace the old carpet on my stairway with hardwood. The stairway is enclosed by walls on both side, so according to some article I read, it should be easy for DIY.
I visited some model home and noticed that the wood floor on the tread and riser are all single pieces. I wonder where i can buy those wide pieces? it has to match my floor (oak gunstock). I am not sure if i can use the same strip plus stairnose for stairway? or it's not the pro's solution?
The resource for installing wood floor on stairway is fairly limited. A few books from HD is not detail enough, anybody know where to get some info regarding this issue?


Old 06-23-06, 09:17 PM
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Compare treads/risers to installing flooring on stairs

I am facing the same situation with my switchback staircase with two 3x3 landings at the turn. I costed out two solutions: 1) all flooring and stair nose vs. 2) stair treads and risers with flooring and stair nose for the two landings alone. The solid wood 1" treads at 4 ft length and the solid matching risers priced out at roughly twice as expensive as the all flooring model. However, I prefer the more firm stability feeling of the solid 1" tread vs the flooring with stair nose solution and am willing to pay more. I compromised on the risers and will make those out of veneered plywood and paint white to match the rest of the wood trim in the house and staircase saving a little bit of the cost. What I am most concerned about is accounting for the subfloor structure differences between what is there today for carpet vs what I will have to do to fill gaps or trim treads to fit a frame that was meant for carpet. I have put my dremel tool on alert. Stay tuned for the after action report.
Old 06-27-06, 10:49 AM
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I ran into the same difficulty when installing prefinished
1/2inch X 3 inch Brazilian Cherry (Jatoba) on our floors. The issue was compounded by the fact that both front and rear of each tread were contoured and also had with curved risers. You problem should be simpler if you possess reasonable woodworking skills. In my case, I was able to obtain 3/4 inch X 4 inch unfinished brazilian cherry from my supplier, so I simply glued up three or four pieces to get wide panels of the stuff. I then cut and sanded these boards to the correct size. I didn't use stairnose as I felt the 3/4 inch thickness and the 1 inch overhang, rounded over top and bottom, gave the tread an elegant look and we are very pleased with it. I finished the wood with semi-gloss poly and you can't tell any difference where the floor transitions to the first tread. You can, of course obtain oak in any width then stain and finish them to closley match the floor. Another alternative would be to edge glue some of the existing floor stock to make panels as I did. To give the glue-up strength, you could then laminate the resulting "panels" to 1/2 inch plywood and attach stairnose to hide the plywood edge.
Hope this helps!
Old 01-29-08, 07:10 PM
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For those looking to install strip flooring on stairs check out for more info. Be sure to pay attention to the link "Go to start to finish installing strip or plank on steps" to get into the install details. That's more info than I found in any books on the subject and I have most of them.

If you're dealing with domestic woods you should be able to find red oak treads and risers at HD and you can always stain to match closely. Otherwise if you have access to a decent lumberyard or hardwood store you can order brazillian cherry, maples etc. In most cases those pieces will be glued together and sanded just like what golfstix recommended below, which to my opinion isn't a whole lot different than using strip flooring and glue but does hide the seams better. There are a few web sites selling treads with returns finished on one or both sides too which you really should use/build if you have exposed edges on the treads. Lumb Liquidators also has full treads and risers at 36 and 48" lengths.

Should you be wanting to match the more exotic woods like Koa or brz walnut you might have to go with the strip flooring option, especially if your stairs are wider than 48" at any point. Hope this helps!

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