Help: Putting hardwood floor on stairs that have noses

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  #1  
Old 08-05-15, 07:49 PM
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Help: Putting hardwood floor on stairs that have noses

So I decide to upgrade my carpet staircases to hardwood. After removing the carpet, I immediately realize the problem. The staircases have noses. I have been checking the video on youtube and know how to do the hardwoor when the step and the riser are completely flushed in. With the staircases having noses, what is the best way to deal with it?

I am thinking of adding a spacer, which is a piece of wood of 1-1/2 thickness to level with the nose and then glue the hardwood floors on it as the riser. Is this the right way to deal with this situation?

Many Thanks,

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  #2  
Old 08-05-15, 08:12 PM
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You can't just add hardwood to the existing riser. It would make your first tread too tall and your last tread too short which violates stair codes. No rise may vary from any other rise on the entire staircase by more than 3/8"... otherwise it creates a tripping hazard. By adding 3/4" on top of existing treads, you would be creating a variation of 3/4" from the 1st step to the 2nd, and 1 1/2" when comparing the rise of the first step to the last.

The proper thing to do is to remove/replace the entire tread.
 
  #3  
Old 08-05-15, 09:25 PM
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Can I just remove the nose with a circular saw/reciprocating saw and keep the existing tread? With the nose off, the riser and the tread will be 100% flushed. Then I can apply hardwood on both the tread and riser.
 
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Old 08-05-15, 09:29 PM
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No, you cannot because it violates the stair code and would create a tripping hazard. Reread what I wrote above.
 
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Old 08-06-15, 02:46 AM
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I, too, would recommend you remove your existing pine treads and replacing them with oak, stained like your flooring. It would maintain the integrity of strength and won't violate code conditions. Stair Parts 36 in. x 11-1/2 in. Unfinished Red Oak Stair Tread-8430R-036-HD-00L - The Home Depot
 
  #6  
Old 08-06-15, 03:38 AM
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I agree, I'd also suggest prefinishing the treads before you install them. You'd still need to sand and apply the final coat of poly after installation but that would only tie up the stair case for one drying cycle. What are your plans for the risers? Easiest thing to do would be cut 1/4" plywood [stained/poly'd or primed/painted] to overlay the existing riser.
 
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Old 08-06-15, 04:19 AM
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I am just trying to do what this guy was doing in the video. I do not see how there will be a tripping hazard and violate the code. If I remove the nose, it will be exactly the same as the stairs he was working on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8qj3js1rUw
 
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Old 08-06-15, 04:29 AM
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The code requires that the risers not be over 8" and they all must be the same height [slight difference allowed] I only skimmed thru the video but just because he showed how he did it - doesn't make it right.
 
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Old 08-06-15, 04:33 AM
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OK, simple physics. If your staircase is to code presently the risers are at a particular height, and vary no more than 3/8" from each other. If you add 3/4" hardwood flooring to the existing treads, it will increase the rise in the first step by 3/4", or over twice the allowed code. In addition, once you add the top step, you will be reducing the step to the floor level by 3/4", or over twice the allowed code. He is not using hardwood floor for a nosing. He has purchased a specific nosing that has a 1" rounded edge. The time and effort he will put into this project is great. Removing your existing treads, installing 1/4" oak (stain) or poplar (paint) for riser covers, and installing new treads as I showed in post #5 will give stability and look better, not to say that it will also keep all the measurements intact.
 
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Old 08-06-15, 05:50 AM
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Maybe if he puts a scrap of hardwood on each step, then gets out a tape measure and measures the distance from the floor to the first step... then compares that with the 2nd step... and then compares it with the last step... he will figure it out.

He is thinking purely about the look of the stairs.

I do not see how there will be a tripping hazard and violate the code.
Reread post 2... it's quite clear. The code requires that no step vary by more than 3/8" from any other step on the staircase. A standard staircase might be (for example) 7 1/2, 7 1/2, 7 1/2, 7 1/2, 7 1/2, 7 1/2, 7 1/2, 7 1/2, 7 1/2, 7 1/2, 7 1/2, 7 1/2. By code, the only allowable variation could be 7 7/32" up to 7 13/16"... a maximum variation of 3/8", because people unconsciously lift their foot the exact same amount when climbing stairs.

What you are proposing would create a staircase of 8 1/4, 7 1/2, 7 1/2, 7 1/2, 7 1/2, 7 1/2, 7 1/2, 7 1/2, 7 1/2, 7 1/2, 7 1/2, 6 3/4... a maximum variation of 1 1/2".

Watch your youtube video and notice what it says at 11:05-11:09. "It is the responsibility of the viewer to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, rules, codes and regulations for a project." Kind of funny that he stuck that disclaimer on there, don't you think?

Sure you can do it, but like I said, it will violate the code and create a tripping hazard. Just because someone makes a video and puts it on the internet... or just because hundreds of people do it (wrong) doesn't make it right. Lots of contractors would be willing to do whatever the homeowner wants, as long as they are willing to pay for it. And some don't know... or don't care.

Sure, no one is going to be inspecting your house to see if you've done anything half baked, like jacked up your staircase. But if you go to sell your house and it gets inspected, a sharp inspector would catch that and flag it, which could raise questions in the eyes of the prospective buyer, who could either walk... or ask for it to be fixed. Happens all the time. And, as mentioned, it is a safety issue (which is the intent of the code in the first place). We would be remiss if we didn't bring it to your attention. Not too many people here are going to give you advice that violates building codes, it's not safe to do so. Its up to you if you follow the advice or not. Lots of people come here asking for advice and then when someone says something they don't want to hear, they just go ahead and do what they wanted anyway. That's your choice.
 
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Old 08-06-15, 06:55 AM
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I would add that having uneven risers makes it a little harder to walk up/down the stairs. Your feet automatically want to step down on a thread at the same place each step - that is where the tripping hazzard comes in.
 
  #12  
Old 08-06-15, 07:20 AM
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Youtube videos are not subject to code. The math is pretty simple - if you add 3/4" to each step, your bottom step will have 3/4" more rise than the middle steps and the top step will have 3/4" less. Just as X explained, this alone is a code violation but the difference in rise between the top and bottom steps becomes 1 1/2", which is even more out of bounds.

Say your steps have a 7" rise. Add 3/4" to each tread and your middle steps stay 7" rise - easy math. The bottom step though, now has a 7 3/4" rise and the top step becomes 6 1/4".
 
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Old 08-06-15, 07:56 AM
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Your feet automatically want to step down on a thread at the same place each step
IMO, going down isn't that big of a deal, but when going UP the stairs, we subconsciously lift our foot the exact amount for each stair... it's lifting your foot for the next stair... so you especially notice the treads that are higher... so if your toe would catch on them it would cause you to fall forward. Happens all the time in my landlord's not-to-code apartment staircase.
 
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Old 08-06-15, 08:10 AM
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I have trouble going down when that last step is taller - hurts my knee when I actually land. I agree, though, the tripping hazard is going up.
 
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Old 08-06-15, 08:32 AM
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Actually what I meant was your foot going down onto the tread - going up the staircase or back down.

I don't know if everyone can relate to ladders like I do but on a ladder each wrong is exactly 12" from the previous. Having spent a good portion of my life working off of ladders, my feet know automatically where to go. I find it difficult to climb a homemade ladder where the rungs are set at different spacing. The same thing applies to a set of stairs.
 
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Old 08-06-15, 03:14 PM
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We have a problem in our church balcony. Fairly new construction. Normal steps are about 7 1/2 rise and 11 1/2" run. Where there are pews, the run increases to about 18". I watch people negotiating and almost tripping every Sunday from the sound board. It would be funny, but it is dangerous.
 
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