Installing new treads to morticed stringer
I am looking to install new oak treads in place of the existing pine ones previously carpeted over. Reading enough material to appreciate that the stair risers should be the same height, I've pursuaded myself against installing retro fit treads that would leave the first and last riser 1" off height from the rest of the stairs. The problem I've found myself in is that the treads are morticed in. For some reason the stringer at the bottoms stair was cut so that the tread could be slid out from the front (after cutting the nails keeping it in place).
I really really don't want to tear down the drywall on the rear of the stairs. If possible, I would prefer to extend the mortice to the front of the stair, slide the old ones out, the new ones in and patch the mortices.
Is this a legitimate option? Is there an easier way I'm not thinking of without accessing the rear of the stairs?
There is a potential safety issue if you provide a continuous groove. And won't you spend as much time cutting the grooves all the way as replacing a sheet of drywall or two? And how would you hold the treads in place in a continuous groove? Finally, won't it look goofy?
Mortised or "housed" stringers are, in my opinion the best way to fabricate a stair. They are a structural element to the stair which provides ease of tread installation and the cleanest and most professional look. Doing as you describe will compromise all of this. Drywall is easy to replace. I would rip it down and cut out all the treads and risers and clean out the wedges that are left behind. Take my word for it, if you want it done right that is what you should do.
You could consider this, if you are willing to use a veneered tread.
Cutting the pieces is a little tricky if you are not skilled at it, but I can guide you through if you PM me.
You can also pre-finish all the pieces after you fit them, then glue them into place and use a pin gun for the 1/4 round.
The veneered plywood of 1/4" thick will not impact the height difference by much.
The drawing is what we call a "Fag packet sketch" as I spent all of 2 minutes on it
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