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 Post subject: How to resurface stairs with real wood
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:28 pm 
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Location: Centralia, WA
Many homes built in the last 40 years have stairs that are not constructed of real wood. This is especially true in tract development houses where until recently the houses were selling faster than they could build them. Stairs were one of the places builders cut costs to stay well priced in a competitive home market.

The concept was that the stairs were intended to be covered with carpet anyway so it became commonplace for stairs to be built of 2 by 12 dimensional lumber, plywood, wafer board and yes even particleboard.

Since the stairs were going to be covered with carpet anyway the drywall installers, texture sprayers and painters didn't use drop cloths on the stairs at all. The result was a total mess that was covered with carpeting.

Many homeowners are realizing what a dirt trap that carpeting is or it is time to replace the carpet. These brave souls take up the carpet to find the mess I just described above.

I have been working on a home in the Lake Cushman, WA area for the last two weeks where the new owners wanted to replace the carpeting with wood floors and real wood on their stairs. I took pictures of the process that I would like share with you in case you are considering taking on this project yourself or having a professional do it for you.

Steps to resurfacing stairs

1. Evaluating the existing surface.

The first three pictures below show the mess I had to start with. Notice the screw pattern where the treads are attached to the stringers below. In resurfacing the stairs you want to screw through the existing treads and into these same stringers. This will drastically reduce the possibility of squeaks in the final results.

2. Cutting off the existing nosing section

The first step is to cut off any nosing section that extends past the vertical section at the back of each tread. I used to do this all with a jigsaw and it made a lot of work and an awful uneven cut.

The new technique I use is using a circular saw. First, use a combination square to copy the distance the tread sticks out. Combination squares are great for coping measurements. Transfer this measurement to the top of the tread. (See pictures 4 and 5 below). Measure both sides of each tread. Don't assume they are the same.

With your circular saw unplugged use the combination square to measure the distance from the shoulder of your saw to the blade. Don't include the width of the saw blade in this measurement. (See picture 6 below) Add this distance on top of the tread to the mark that you made for the distance the nosing extended past the riser. Place a scrap piece of 1 x 2 wood that is straight in line with this second mark on both sides. (See picture 7 below)

Nail this board in place on both sides. You can use regular nails if you don't have an air nail gun. Make sure it is secure before proceeding to the next step. (See picture 8 below)

Plug your circular saw in and place the shoulder against the board. Hold the guard back and lower the blade into the tread. (See picture 9 below. I took the picture after making the cut as I couldn't manage to hold the saw and the camera at the same time) Repeat this step for each tread. (See picture 10)

Use a jig saw to cut out this center section. Repeat this step for each tread.

Use a jigsaw to cut most of the rest of the cut to the wall.

Use a hammer and break off this last piece. You can use a oscillating tool or a chisel to remove the rest of the cut.

3. Measuring and securing the new surface

Use the combination square to measure each side of the new riser. Do not assume they are the same. Use these measurements to mark each side of your new piece of wood and connect the two marks and draw a straight line. Cut this piece with a table saw or jigsaw. Measure the width of each tread and notice if the sides are square or out of square. Make your cut marks accordingly.

Apply construction adhesive to the old surface and apply the new riser. Use a drill to drill a pilot hole for each screw. This reduces the chance of splitting the wood. I recommend three screws for each stinger. I have a picture of the box the screws that I recommend for this step as they make a small hole and set themselves.

If you have a second drill use it to drive the star drive finish screws in.

Make a template of each tread to copy onto the new tread. A Stair Wizard makes a template of each tread which is copied to the new tread. You can make a homemade version of this using bevel squares. The Stair Wizard assumes that the drywall isn't straight. You should assume this too.

4. Filling screw holes

Fill the screw holes with matching wood filler.

5. Finishing the stairs

Sand the treads and risers and apply the finish.

6. Landings

Landings are done with a piece of nosing and wood flooring to match the rest of the floor. In my installation the flooring was rustic red oak, random width 3" 4" and 5" planks.

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This is the "stairs" I had to resurface. Look familiar?

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Looking down at the landing before resurfacing

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The bottom stairs below the landing. Notice the screw pattern where the treads are attached to the stringers.

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Use a combination square to copy the distance the tread sticks out.

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Tranfer this measurement to the top of the tread.

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Use the combination square to measure the distance from the shoulder of your saw to the blade.

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Nail this board in place on both sides. You can use regular nails if you don't have an air nailer.

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Use a jigsaw to cut out this center section.

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Repeat this step for each tread.

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Use a jigsaw to cut most of the rest of the cut to the wall.

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Use a hammer and break off this last piece.

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You can use a oscillating tool or a chisel to remove the rest of the cut.

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Use the combination square to measure each side of the new riser

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Apply construction adhesive to the old surface and apply the new riser.

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Drill a pilot hole for each finish screw.

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If you have a second drill use it to drive the star drive finish screws in.

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I prefer star drive finish screws for securing stairs.

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A Stair Wizard makes a template of each tread which is copied to the new tread. Note the screw pattern on the installed step below the Stair Wizard

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Fill the screw holes with matching wood filler

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The finished stairs

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The finished landing Compare with picture 3

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Looking down the completed stair resurfacing


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Amish made hardwood

 Post subject: Re: How to resurface stairs with real wood
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:26 pm 
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hi there. this is a very nice write up. where did you get the risers and treads? im looking to take the carpet off my stairs but i have never done this before.


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 Post subject: Re: How to resurface stairs with real wood
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:58 pm 
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jostnyc wrote:
hi there. this is a very nice write up. where did you get the risers and treads? im looking to take the carpet off my stairs but i have never done this before.


I got the treads and risers from Olympia Wood Flooring Supply. I get most of my flooring and supplies from them. I have sent many DIY homeowners to them and I always get great feedback about their friendliness and how helpful they were. They are located in Olympia WA and Anchorage, Alaska so I am not sure if this would be the most logistically best source for you.

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I do know that both Home Depot and Lowe's carry solid stair treads and risers and can custom order them for you if they don't have them in stock. I have worked in the flooring departments of both.

The Stair Wizard is a custom tool which makes a template of each tread. It assumes that the drywall is not level and square to the existing treads. I would say it would be a little pricey at $214.75 for just one stair installation but well worth the price as it even makes allowances for the overhang of the nosing. You
can order it at Tools4flooring

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Another website that I think you will find very helpful is LJ Smith Stair Systems especially the sections on Stair Systems Basics and Installation Information.


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 Post subject: Re: How to resurface stairs with real wood
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 12:02 pm 
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Location: Tucson AZ
Nice tutorial woodfloorist. Those take lots of time to put together. Here is one I refer people to.

http://nustair.com/installation.aspx

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Stephen Perrera
Top Floor Installation Co.
Tucson, Arizona
Floor Repairs and Installation in Tucson, Az
http://www.tucsonazflooring.com


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 Post subject: Re: How to resurface stairs with real wood
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:24 pm 
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Location: Knoxville,Tn
Here is another cap system. http://www.stairsolution.com/services/h ... tread.html

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Kevin Daniel
Heartland Hardwood Flooring
Knoxville, Tn
www.HeartlandHardwoodFlooring.com


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 Post subject: Re: How to resurface stairs with real wood
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:04 am 
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floormeintucson wrote:
Nice tutorial woodfloorist. Those take lots of time to put together. Here is one I refer people to.

http://nustair.com/installation.aspx


KevinD wrote:


Thanks. I added these resources to my wood flooring forum.


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