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 Post subject: Gluing Stairs
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2005 10:22 am 
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I am doing my first DIY stair installation. The staircase is blocked on both sides. I am doing 3/4" hardwood plywood risers painted white and I am doing solid 3/4" prefinished 3.25" wide planks for the treads. I have been cutting and dry fitting the risers and the planks for the treads, and the dry fit looks good. I have never done any glue down installation only nailed installations. I plan to use adhesive on the planks, and I will probably break down and put a couple of face nails in the nosing to hold everything in place. I have a couple questions:

1. I assume that you need to get some weight on the planks to get them nice and flat agains the tread and get a good adhesion. I looked at some of my dry fit planks and they needed a little bit of pressure to get them flat against the tread. Do you use anything for weight, and if so what? I was thinking of getting some sand bags because they would not scratch and you could walk on them as you make your way up the steps.

2. Since you work from the bottom step up, I assume you must walk on your freshly glued step to get to the next step to glue. Does this cause a problem with moving or dislodging the planks? Do you do anything to avoid this, or since everything is nice and tight there is no problem?

3. Can I use standard construction adhesive or do I need a special urethane flooring adhesive? I have looked around here at the HD and Lowes and the only trowelable products they have are designed only for engineered. They had one designed for solid and engineered, but it only came in 5 gallons at over $100.00. I can not see using that much. One flooring store said that their installers use liquid nails all the time. I want to do it right so if I need to spend the money tell me, but if liqid nails can do the job fine or if a product designed for engineer would work I would rather do that.

Thanks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:21 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 7:42 pm
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Location: Antioch, CA. 94509
Those are some great questions! Most installers have their own way of doing things and although the methods may be different, they can all be viable alternatives. Here's the way I see it.

1) I have always glued AND nailed my 3/4" flooring on stairs so I have never needed to weight in down or tape together. If you start installing from the riser toward the nosing with the tongue out, you can toe nail through the tongue on every board, except the nose.
2) You do not have to start from the bottom. If you install all the risers first, then go back and install the steps starting from the top down, you won't be walking on your work.
3) If you are going to glue only, I would use Bostick's Best OR for a construction type adhesive, PL 400. DO NOT use a water based adhesive of any kind. If you glue and nail, Liquid Nails is fine.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2005 3:15 pm 
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Ya, several ways to skin that cat.

I always glue and nail, starting from the bottom.

I can blind nail into the groove, with my floor runner or my brad nailer, enough to work on top and get the adhesive to set up, with a tight fit. I still blue tape the entire tread once done, just because! No top nails except under the riser piece(hidden)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2005 11:55 pm 
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Floorguy and Gary,
Thanks for the quick response, it seems to me that you both use a different technique then Ken describes on this site. See if I have this right. If I understood Kens instructions, he works from the nosing back and pries the last plank/strip into place. Then the riser sits on top of the last plank/strip, covering up the gap and any nails. It seems that the pros to this method is that the last strip does not have to be ripped perfectly because the gap will be covered by the riser. The con seem to be that you can not blind nail. I am a little nervous about trying to glue without any nails holding things in place, at the same time I would prefer not to face nail.
If I understand the method you are describing, the new riser sits on top of the subfloor tread not on the plank/strip. I assume you have to dry fit your nosing and planks until you come to the last plank before the riser. Then scribe and rip the last plank/strip closest to the riser to be perfectly flush to the riser. Now install in reverse order from the riser forward. Is this correct? If so how difficult is it to scribe and rip the last plank flush to the riser? It looks like the the pro is that you can blind nail, the con is that you have to scribe the last plank very precisely. However, nailing would solve some of my concerns about walking on a freshly glued step and trying to hold things in place.
Last questions. I see a lot of recommendations for Bosticks Best. Is there a place to order this online at a DIYer amount? Is a gallon enough for a staircase? Thanks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 1:56 am 
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The answer to your question about fitting the last board in place is quite simple because it is actualy the first board to be fit. This is how I do it. I do install the riser first. You will need this to be staight so check it with a short straight edge and shim out as needed. After the risers are all installed, starting at the top step (you could start at the bottom or in the middle, it doesn't matter with this way of doing it), either cut a short piece of your nosing or measure back from the back of the nosing board to the part where it gets thicker. This is usually about 2"s. Now either trace a line or measure back from the front of the installed riser that is below the step 2". Make a mark. Thats where you last floor board will end and the nosing piece will be installed. Simply measure back from that mark to the riser on the step you are installing on. On a 10.5" tread, that measurement would be 8.5". Now since you're installing 3.25" wide flooring, you'll need 2 full boards and one board ripped to 2". So rip the board to 2 '' and install it against the riser, tongue out and toe nail it after applying a little glue. Install the next 2 full boards the same way and then the nosing. Quite simple. Tip: I usually ADD an 1/8" to my measurement (8&5/8" instead of 8.5")to ensure that all the boards fit tight together. If you precut each board for each step and dry test fit, then you could full spread with Bostick's OR ?. Or just use PL 400 in a tube and glue as you install. It is important that the "rough" treads you are installing to are solid with no flex as if they flex, the flooring could squeek against the riser. The riser must be straight or you'll have small gaps to caulk. This way works for me when doing 3/4", If you're doing thinner engineered, nailing isn't as important and gluing up starting from the front working toward the back (Ken's way) works well. It's just if you want to nail, this is the best way without having to face nail and all the T&G's are engaged. Good Luck!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 3:01 am 
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Bostiks can be purchased in tubes. Much cleaner.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 7:00 am 
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I do it like Ken does then, as you described his method. I have not been all around Kens site here, to see how he describes it being done.

I start at the nose and work back to the riser.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 8:44 pm 
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Thanks everyone for all the replies,
I think that I would be more comfortable working from the back forward so that I can get some blind nails in, but I may play with both methods.
Can anyone tell me where I can order Bostiks on line? Everyone seems to recommend it.


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