Hardwood Flooring the Stairs; Any Insight Appreciated

Old 06-18-09, 09:51 PM
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Hardwood Flooring the Stairs; Any Insight Appreciated


I have just recently finished laying down hardwood flooring in the 2nd floor of my house. Now I am at the stairs. I am not entirely sure how to proceed.

I have Golden Arowana Premium Bamboo and Hardwood Flooring.

I have already purchased the respective stair nosing for my Bamboo/Hardwood Flooring.

The stairs have been stripped of its original carpet, all nails and staples have been removed; now it is simply plywood and OSB, which have been sanded and puttied to attain flatness needed by the hardwood flooring.

However, at this point, I am not sure how stairs are done in terms of laying down Bamboo/Hardwood Flooring.

Are any of you gurus out there experienced with this particular topic, or perhaps know of good sites/resources I may visit where I may find out more about laying down Hardwood Flooring for stairs?

If someone can point me in the right direction, that would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot.
Old 06-19-09, 05:09 PM
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OK, I left this alone for 18 hours hoping someone else would chime in, but looks like I'm "it". Using hardwood flooring for your treads is too weak. Hardwood must be installed on at least 3/4" subflooring for it to not flex. Even if you have the subflooring installed on the treads, you have the edges to contend with. How will you address the bull nose need with your flooring? And that bull nose will have to wrap not only the 3/4" of the flooring, but the other 3/4" of the subflooring.
OK, with that said, it is almost necessary for you to use standard oak stair tread material. It is thicker and is made for this purpose. You can stain it anyway you want, and it will look fine in coordination with your bamboo, don't worry.
Let us know if we can help further. Sorry it took so long for someone to answer.

Old 06-22-09, 09:18 AM
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Stairs are the true art!

Stair installation is the some of the trickiest carpenrty arround..in addtion to the "code requiremnets" of depth, height, tread overhang, railing spacing, handrail returns, goosnecks etc....lots of fancy precise cuts are needed, it can be mind boggling and time consuming.

I have done stairs with full sized solid treads, and used "flooring" and built treads on site...it is obvious that ready made treads are easier...and nearly all flooring companies offer them as part of the flooring and trim options available. They can be pricey though treads can start at $25 ea. and I have seen exotics at $70 ea. In addtion to the treads most companys also have risers in the flooring material.

If your stairs have a center stringer then your could use either method...without the center stringer the subfloor will flex too much for the "flooring option" chandler mentioned below.

starting at the bottom the riser goes in and then the tread, if the tread is 2x stock I sometimes will cut it back flush with the existing riser and basically "veneer" the stairs with the new risers and treads. When using "flooring" you can lay it normally, toungue forward, and finish with the "stair" nosing. In doing this the back starter piece may need to be ripped. In addtion to nailing I glue it all down with a decent floor adhesive. The other "flooring" method is to build a solid tread from flooring, here I rip the flooring (remove the T&G ) and rejoin with biscuits and wood glue to make my own "treads" these are then installed later as the ready made treads would be. This works wel with wide stock (4" and 5") and not so much with thin (less than 3")

your stair height will remain uniform because of the addition to the upper floor and each step...code says the variation can not exceed 3/8" top to bottom. 7 3/4" max rise, 10 min tread depth, nosing radius 9/16" max, 3/4 to 1 1/4" projection (for tread less than 11")...the bottom step may be outside the 3/8" rule...hopefully your inspector is casual and is over whelmed by its beauty and doesnt pull out his tape. I have heard stories where the last step is too tall and the inspector fails it...in these cases the treads may need to be planned down and the last tread gets pretty thin... 1/8" per tread for the last three.

hope this has not intimidated you too much.

Beer 4U2
Old 06-24-09, 06:17 PM
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Thank you for your replies, Kevin and Chandler.

I realize in both of your posts, there are certain terminologies with which I am not quite familiar. I have decided to post pictures to better describe my current situation.

Stairs 1


I would like to correct my previous description of my project area: The carpet and nails/staples have indeed been removed, what are left seem to be bonafide oak treads (I am not entirely sure how to tell, but they do seem a lot sturdier than OSB), and OSB/plywood for the stairs' intermediate stage. (Previously, I said what's left seem to be all OSB, that is not correct. Please pardon my unknowingness.)

Please also pardon my incoming strings of obnoxious questioning:
What does "edge" of the stairs mean? Does it mean the "Overhang"? Where the tread over hangs its base platform? Would I be able to lay my hardwood flooring directly on the oak treads? Or do I need a subflooring?

What is a "Stringer"? What does "2X Stock" mean? Actually, what does "stock" mean? Am I correct in assuming the "Riser" (vertical piece?) is essentially the "other" wood piece, not counting the "tread" (horizontal piece?) ? What does "cut it back flush with the existing riser", or "Veneer" mean? What does it mean to "Rip" the back starter piece? Does it mean cutting it so the Tongue and Grooves are removed? When you say "Tongue Forward", does that mean, "Tongue away from the Riser", or "Tongue to the Riser"?

Also, when laying down hardwood flooring, what do I do about the riser? Do I nail my hardwood flooring directly onto the riser? What are all your experiences?

Thank you very much for the help. I really appreciate this.

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