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Old 08-29-2010, 07:09 PM   #1
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Need assistance installing brazilian cherry stairway


I recently purchased a brazilian cherry stairway kit from an internet vendor. I would greatly appreciate any tips, pointers, advice etc. on how to properly install this stairway kit.

In, particular, I have the following questions:

1. How to accurately cut the hand rail going up/down from the landing platform.

2. How to install the wrought iron balusters.

3 Should I start from the 2nd floor and work down of should I start from the first floor andwork up? The second floor is currently carpeted. Should I install the hardwood on the second floor prior to starting the stairway?

4. What is the best way to cut the hardwood platform to fit the landings?

5 What is the best way to install all the skirtboards?

6. Anything else I should be aware of when attempting this project.

I have attached links to pictures of my current stairway. The hardwood kit would look very similar to this since I wanted to keep everything as simple as possible.

http://i1203.photobucket.com/albums/...7/IMG_0458.jpg

http://i1203.photobucket.com/albums/...7/IMG_0457.jpg

http://i1203.photobucket.com/albums/...7/IMG_0456.jpg

http://i1203.photobucket.com/albums/...7/IMG_0454.jpg

Thank you in advance for any assistance offered.

Bob

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Old 08-30-2010, 06:07 PM   #2
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Need assistance installing brazilian cherry stairway


What happened to the instructions that came with the kit? The kit should have been ordered based on you house setup, these are not universal kits.
Ron

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Old 08-30-2010, 09:11 PM   #3
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Need assistance installing brazilian cherry stairway


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Originally Posted by Ron6519 View Post
What happened to the instructions that came with the kit? The kit should have been ordered based on you house setup, these are not universal kits.
Ron
Unfortunately, there aren't any instructions because the vendor doesn't supply detailed installation instructions. They assume that the buyer has the knowledge/experience to install the stairway.

I just ordered the required items such as 40 balusters, 16 feet of hand railing, 5 right hand replacement treads, 5 left hand replacement treads etc. I had to provide the vender with pictures of my current stripped down stairway and other information such as the dimensions of my treads are which are 42 inches wide and 10 inches deep. The vendor then determined which items such as treads and risers I needed.

The vendor's site does have some basic stairway 101 info such as describing what a newel is or describing what a skirtboard is. There is absolutely nothing that can be considered detailed installation instructions.

I have a fairly good idea on how to approach this task. But since this is my first stairway upgrade, I'd like to hear from the experts on how they would tackle this task since my approach is probably not the best approach.

Bob
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Old 08-31-2010, 12:57 AM   #4
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Need assistance installing brazilian cherry stairway


In thinking about this, this is going to be a tough install. The 2X treads will have to come off as they would show under the new tread even if you cut the nosing off the old tread. You would also have to add another riser to cover the old tread up.

Another reason you will have to take the old treads off is adding the thickness of the new tread on top of the old tread will make your first step way out of code and very dangerous, leaving the old treads would make the two landing 1/4 inch different also.

This just an example, say your rise is 7 1/2 inches from top of tread to top of tread. That would also make your rise from top of tread to top of landing 7 1/2 inch. This is the way your stairs is now. Say we remove the tread below the landing, which the tread is 1 1/2 inches thick. From the top of the stringer to the top of the landing is now 9 inches with the tread removed. OK we add back the new tread which is say, 1 inch thick, now we have 8 inches from the top of the tread to the landing. You will need a landing tread which is 3/4 inch thick, with this extra thickness of 3/4 inch you now have 8 3/4 inches which is totally not acceptable as some one would surly fall or trip.

The landing is fixed with 3/4 plywood for decking, using these measurements you would have to cut down the framing of the landing 1 1/4 inches and add back the 3/4 plywood. Then you will see how much lower the landing is than the upper stringer. When you remove the treads on the upper stringer and add the new tread you will be 1/4 inch too low. You can rip 1/4 inch strips glue and nail the strips to the stringers and once the new tread is added you will come back to the correct height. Cutting the carpet back on the top landing and installing a landing tread and you are ready to do the rest.

I will let one of the younger fellows check this out to make sure I am thinking straight.
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Old 08-31-2010, 01:04 AM   #5
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Need assistance installing brazilian cherry stairway


One more quick note, all of these changes more than likely will mess up the height of your skirt boards and they will have to be adjusted. If no one else chimes in I will try to help you through this, although, I am an ole man and my thinking is a little rusty now days.
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Last edited by BigJim; 08-31-2010 at 01:05 AM. Reason: I told you I was old.LOL
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Old 08-31-2010, 08:18 PM   #6
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Need assistance installing brazilian cherry stairway


[QUOTE=BobS0327;492941]

1. How to accurately cut the hand rail going up/down from the landing platform.
Make a pitch block. Take a piece of plywood and mark out the 10" for the run of the stair then measure the riser height, now connect to make a triangle. That will give you all the info you need.

2. How to install the wrought iron balusters.
Get a laser plumb bob or string bob and make holes top & bottom. Drill holes. Drive Kreg screw into bottom hole, it will secure baluster and drive it up slightly. Put shoe on before driving screw.

3 Should I start from the 2nd floor and work down of should I start from the first floor andwork up? The second floor is currently carpeted. Should I install the hardwood on the second floor prior to starting the stairway?

4. What is the best way to cut the hardwood platform to fit the landings?
Buy a piece of 1/4" plywood, rip into 3" wide strips. Take strips and place against outside dimensions. Hot glue together. Take template and place on landing, trace and cut. DO NOT glue down landing, it will split.

5 What is the best way to install all the skirtboards?
Take the pitch block and place on skirt, when it reads level you have the correct angle for the skirt. Use a tuning fork to mark skirt for miter cuts.

6. Anything else I should be aware of when attempting this project.
Unless you are pretty darn handy, hire a professional.

As Jim stated you will have riser height concerns. Rough treads will need to come off. Place one of the treads you bought on the stair at various locations, I.E. 1st tread, tread before landing, directly above landing , last tread before top landing. There is a good chance they will be different. Build up with birch plywood and PL Premium adhesive, use plenty.

Last edited by Keith Mathewson; 08-31-2010 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 09-01-2010, 01:07 PM   #7
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Need assistance installing brazilian cherry stairway


I've removed one 2X tread and placed the new tread in its place. The new tread is 44 inches long and the original 2X tread was 42 inches long. Thus, the tread installment seems to be a "piece of cake" since 2 inches are allowed for the open bullnose end. I'll probably only have to compass/scribe and belt sand the other end to get a tight fit against the skirtboard. As, jiju1943 pointed out, I might have a skirtboard issue at the platform landing.

The 7 1/2 inch risers appear to fit without any problem. I may have to "shave" a riser or two to get a level fit for the tread above the riser by ripping it.

Also, I'll have to notch the first tread to mount the starting newel to the first riser using lag bolts. It looks like I'll also have to notch out the landing newel with my band saw so that I can have half of the bottom sitting on the landing and then I can use the other half to mount the landing newel to the riser below the landing with lag bolts. Anybody have any other suggestions for mounting the landing newel?

My approach is to install the treads and risers from the first floor to the landing. I'll temporarily nail everything in to verify that there aren't any potential issues. After which, I'll install the newels, hand rails and balusters. If everything goes as planned, I will continue from the second platform landing up to the second floor.

Keith, thanx much for the advice. I really apreciate it and will be putting it to good use. One question though. Would it be wise to put Lumber Liquidators 1/8 inch felt underneath the landing platforms to reduce the possibility of sqeaking?

As a last resort, I can use the original red oak newels and railing as a template to installing the new stairway since the hardwood I ordered is almost an exact duplication of this original railing system.

Finally, can anyboday identify any glaring issues with the technique that I will be using as indicated above?

Thanx

Bob
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Old 09-01-2010, 08:28 PM   #8
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Need assistance installing brazilian cherry stairway


Bob,

I hope everything goes well, but I'm a little concerned.

I do custom stairs everyday for a living. Most seasoned carpenters pause before taking on a stair job. Reworking a production staircase is one of my least favorite things. Almost certainly errors were made when the job was done the first time. You do not want to use the old as a template for new. First of all it doesn't work well even if things were done well in the beginning.


Do yourself a favor and rip out ALL the skirtboard, if you don't you'll wish you had when it is too late.

CHECK you're riser heights at EVERY transition. The likelihood that everything is correct is almost zero. This is your house and you have a chance to fix it now.


Newel posts go on first. PL Premium will make a very big difference in how secure the newels are.
Skirts next, followed by landings. You didn't ask what a tuning fork is. If you are unfamiliar with the term you will want to find out. They are a big help.
There are a couple of different ways to do the landings. I assume that you have a glued up single landing tread. Squeaks are the result of wood moving up and down against nails. Slip membrane is so the wood can expand and contract easily. I put some adhesive down near the middle of the landing tread, in the walk line making sure there is room for expansion at the wall line and first riser.
Risers are installed, then treads.
Forget the belt sander, it will only make things worse. Put a framing square against the riser and check wall skirt for square. The best solution is to spend a few bucks and get a Collins stair jig (under $100), with that you can't miss.

I've put up a few basic stair building videos at Youtube intended for the beginning tradesman but it may help you in this case as well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8Y0NpVlK4E

Good luck, I'm sure you'll do fine

Keith
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Old 09-07-2010, 10:30 AM   #9
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Need assistance installing brazilian cherry stairway


Keith,

All your points have been well taken. I ordered the Collins stair jig. I'm assuming that you're referring to a skirtboad jig used to accurately miter the skirtboard for the treads and risers. IMHO, the jig with a handle does look like a tuning fork.

Thanx again for all the info.

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