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Old 04-22-2013, 04:13 PM   #1
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Best wood choices for painted stair risers?


What are the best woods for 3/4" risers that will be painted white? Using them with stained oak treads. I am thinking... poplar. Price not important. Looks and durability from dents and dings from normal usage is important.

Thanks for opinions.

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Old 04-22-2013, 05:13 PM   #2
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Best wood choices for painted stair risers?


Poplar is a good choice to be painted but its almost as soft as pine so it will dent.

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Old 04-22-2013, 06:08 PM   #3
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Best wood choices for painted stair risers?


Not many people kick their toes into the risers as far as I know. Poplar is probably fine. Even pine should be OK.
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Old 04-22-2013, 06:08 PM   #4
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Best wood choices for painted stair risers?


Maple a better choice?
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:34 PM   #5
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Best wood choices for painted stair risers?


Hard or soft maple is a good choice also----in this area paint grade hard maple is reasonably priced---

Poplar is used most often for paint grade risers---with no problems---
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:46 PM   #6
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Best wood choices for painted stair risers?


A another related question...

If I go with poplar as the wood, any good reason to buy pre-fabricated risers from a stair parts store online (typically constructed from multiple edge glued staves) rather than just buying 7 1/4" wide poplar boards from a local lumber yard (typically cut from a single piece of poplar)? The risers need to be only about 7" wide (space between the top of one tread and the bottom of the tread above) so I would not expect I would benefit much from using edge glued boards to avoid cupping and warping, unlike the benefit they provide with wider stair treads.

Thought I would ask before installing risers made from poplar boards from a local lumber yard and later finding that I made a big mistake.
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:49 PM   #7
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Best wood choices for painted stair risers?


Solid poplar risers are good, no need for premade risers
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:50 PM   #8
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Best wood choices for painted stair risers?


I prefer solid wood over the glue ups, whenever possible----often the glue joints show up after a couple of seasons .
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:52 PM   #9
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Best wood choices for painted stair risers?


Not to mention the might be finger jointed,aka garbage
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:55 PM   #10
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Best wood choices for painted stair risers?


Seems like there should be no worries using solid piece 7 1/4" poplar boards (from my local lumber yard) for the painted risers.

Thanks for the quick replies and opinions guys.
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:59 PM   #11
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Best wood choices for painted stair risers?


why not mdf for paint grade? Is already compressed and should not ding, is easy to work with and will paint nicely.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:27 PM   #12
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Best wood choices for painted stair risers?


If you use the 7" boards, paint all sides before you put them up. Less likely to have moisture caused warping issues that way.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:49 PM   #13
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Best wood choices for painted stair risers?


how will mdf warp on stairs if its for an interior stair. mdf and poplar will both work find. poplar is commonly used for high end homes with paint grade trim. its cheaper than maple or birch but holds up better than mdf
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:32 PM   #14
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Best wood choices for painted stair risers?


Quote:
why not mdf for paint grade? Is already compressed and should not ding, is easy to work with and will paint nicely.
I don't have any experience installing mdf myself, but I have seen MDF trim sitting on the shelf at home depot and such that is chipped and damaged from rough handling.

The risers will be installed on a stairway that is open on one end and the risers will be mitered to a stair bracket at this end. I am most concerned about the mitered corners holding up to abuse. I only have 9 steps so the difference in cost between MDF and poplar is marginal to me, especially when compared to the cost of the whole project. I am looking for the best choice of wood/material, not the best value or cheapest.

Last edited by hkeiner; 04-22-2013 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:34 PM   #15
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Best wood choices for painted stair risers?


Quote:
If you use the 7" boards, paint all sides before you put them up. Less likely to have moisture caused warping issues that way.
Thanks for that tip. I wouldn't have thought of that on my own.


Last edited by hkeiner; 04-22-2013 at 11:41 PM.
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