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Old 11-24-2012, 01:24 PM   #1
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glue/nails for stairs


I read a couple of comments about new stairs construction but can't seem to find the threads now so I will ask here. I am wondering what might be the best kinds of glue to attach the treads and risers (red oak) to Doug Fir stringers. I was planning to use about 2 1/2" galvanized finish nails for their superior holding capacity but for glue I seem to have heard different advice. At the local hardware stores there are construction adhesives in tubes, I think one is Loctite brand. I have used Liquid Nails in the past and thought it was pretty good, and I have basic wood glue but maybe there is a better glue out there. I assume that for stairs you don't want to compromise on materials as they take a lot of stress over the years. Any advice (fasteners or glue) will be appreciated.

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Old 11-24-2012, 02:28 PM   #2
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glue/nails for stairs


i would go with screws over nails, and a blue label wood glue should be just fine

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Old 11-24-2012, 02:34 PM   #3
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glue/nails for stairs


Unless you want to have to plug screw heads stick with the plan on finish nails.
I only use constrution adhesive. It fills any voids and helds keep the treads from squecking.
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Old 11-24-2012, 02:34 PM   #4
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glue/nails for stairs


unless you can hide the screws go with the nails, any good wood glue will work.
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Old 11-24-2012, 03:09 PM   #5
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glue/nails for stairs


x2, I'd prbably go with screws if it was the only project I had.

but since its not and I wouldnt have the time to spend plugging the screw heads, nails and glue it would be for me.

(lots of glue, avoid the squeaks)
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Old 11-24-2012, 03:54 PM   #6
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glue/nails for stairs


If you do it right....you don't need a lot of nails.....

I would put down the tread first with a liberal coat of const adhesive under it.....then put the riser board in....this will hold down the back of the tread....then a few nails in the front to hold it down. In reality, the nails are really only there to hold things in place until the glue dryes.
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Old 11-24-2012, 04:18 PM   #7
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glue/nails for stairs


You should be putting risers in before treads btw. I use pl400 premium and 2-1/2" finish nails (no need to be galvanized). Screws are nice but hard to match plugs later. The glue will do all the work. If you can get to he backside you can pocket hole the risers before installing them and attach glue blocks from underneath. You can also get screws in from the back of the riser into the tread.
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Old 11-24-2012, 04:29 PM   #8
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To determine which has the superior holding capacity, construction adhesive or wood glue ( Elmer's if you like ), do a test . Glue 2 wood blocks together with both products and let cure for a day or two . Shear test - Set the edge of one block on a sturdy solid surface and hit the other block with a hammer . If your test result was anything like mine was several years ago you'll quickly see which you want to use .
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Old 11-24-2012, 04:43 PM   #9
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glue/nails for stairs


I always installed the riser first also, that way I could nail the riser to the back of the tread for support. Always put glue where wood touches wood. I used 10d coated finish nails on the treads, but if you wanted to use trim screws they would leave a hole just a hair larger than the head of a 10d finish. The trim screws also use a square drive.
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Old 11-24-2012, 05:03 PM   #10
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glue/nails for stairs


Good old liquid nails works for me.
Assuming you start at bottom and work your way up, will be a face nailed riser, then a tread, then riser, then tread....
You can hide some of the nails in tread, under riser or maybe baseboard along wall.
Will not hide them on the face nailed riser.

I have installed them myself, now days just hire it out, if I did it everyday would be more efficient at it, every couple years and have to relearn tricks .... more efficient for customer to hire someone that is all they do is stairs.

But a trick I learned along the way and most here probably know it already.
I just use my finish gun to shoot them down, 1 3/4" nails with glue is all you need.
Same the pro's use around here.

Trick is, the oak is porous wood. if you apply a oak colored wood filler and then sand smooth, it will fill the pores around the nail hole. You will see those areas.
If you apply your first coat of poly or sealer to the wood first, will seal those pores, only thing left is the nail hole.
Before second coat, you apply the wood putty and sand, and second coat.
Those nail holes will disappear. You will know exactly where they are, and have to search to find them, nails only applies mechanical pressure while the glue dries.

Screws are good for newel post and sometimes attaching a rail to a wall.
I have a plug cutter I put in my drill, can use a drop from same wood am working with and make my own plugs, pretty close match to wood, but you need to look at the drilled area, look at the grain and color of the wood, select the area to cut your plug for best match ....
Sometimes you jump up and down hoot and holler ... I NAILED THAT ONE!
sometimes is errr! sometimes need to pull them back out and try again.
I would never use screws on stairs unless required for that particular part of process.
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Old 11-24-2012, 05:09 PM   #11
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glue/nails for stairs


Quote:
Originally Posted by Millertyme View Post
You should be putting risers in before treads btw. I use pl400 premium and 2-1/2" finish nails (no need to be galvanized). Screws are nice but hard to match plugs later. The glue will do all the work. If you can get to he backside you can pocket hole the risers before installing them and attach glue blocks from underneath. You can also get screws in from the back of the riser into the tread.

Why?

Ok....maybe it doesn't apply in my case......I already have my stairs framed with both treads and risers.....when I do the finish work it will be on top of wood. So in my case, installing the riser after the tread helps to lock it in place.

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Old 11-24-2012, 05:09 PM   #12
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glue/nails for stairs


wood glue doesnt stop squeaks. construction adhesive does, not only does it bond the tread to the stringer but it acts as a contact for wood on wood. .when wood moves and rubs on wood it squeaks thats why floors in old homes squeak . they didnt glue the boards down

as for screws.. unless you can get to the underside and use glue blocks for screwing from below just face nail
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:46 PM   #13
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glue/nails for stairs


There are a few reasons why I do risers first

-in cases where there is already ceiling up under the stair, you can nail or screw through back of riser into tread.
- if there is any separation between riser and tread the space will only be seen looking down from the top as opposed to being seen at eye level as one walks up the stairs.
- the riser can be shimmed from the back (between the back of riser and stringer) to keep it straight, this way there s no need to scribe in a tread.
- open stair applications with returned treads.
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:06 PM   #14
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glue/nails for stairs


miller knows his stuff. ive finished only a handful of stairs and been around countless stair guys.. both them and myself use the methods miller describes.. its proven to stand the test of time.. wood glue is best left for the mitres on the mitred open skirtboard and scotia molding that hides any gaps between the riser and tread above
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:25 PM   #15
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glue/nails for stairs


Thanks for all the good advice.

Is there a rule about not mentioning brand names? Except for liquid nails, I see a lot of adhesives in tubes (at Home Depot for example) but still am not quite sure which one to buy. But my other hardware store is the old fashioned kind with experienced staff so I will ask there for "construction adhesive".

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