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Old 08-18-2009, 07:36 AM   #1
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new stairs - finishing chipboard risers?


hey all,

yeah, we're in the process of having new hardwood stairs built. but my contractor decided to install OSB risers with yellow pine treads. this was absolutely not the plan. we should've had matching hardwood treads and risers.

so anyway, what are the finishing options for this type of plywood risers? can they even be painted? it seems that the texture would show right through the paint and look bad. are there thin pine sheets we could fasten on top of the OSB?

go here for pics of the stairs
http://contractorsahoy.blogspot.com/



Last edited by blakelock; 08-24-2009 at 06:53 PM.
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Old 08-18-2009, 07:55 AM   #2
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new stairs - finishing chipboard risers?


If it is stated in the plans and specifications to have hardwood treads and risers that is what they should install. Your contractor can not make that change without having you sign a "change order" or addendum. I would confront your contractor about it and ask if those are temporary (not an uncommon practice). Withhold payment for that portion of the job until they are installed. Make sure you note in writing that you are withholding the payment amount for the stairs until the work specified is done.

Typically OSB risers are covered with carpet.

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Old 08-18-2009, 01:21 PM   #3
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new stairs - finishing chipboard risers?


thanks for all the thoughts. it sounds like the best option is to fasten 1/4" plywood or similar on these risers. i'm sure it would be better to fully replace the risers but i'm certain the contractor won't do that. the contractor actually had the stairs built by another company then just installed the entire prefabbed unit.

i'll let you know how it goes and give a FULL review of the company when all is said and done.

cheers
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Old 08-18-2009, 02:14 PM   #4
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new stairs - finishing chipboard risers?


The most important issue here is what the contract stated vs what you actually received. If the contract specified hardwood treads and risers, then you must actually get hardwood, otherwise the contractor is liable for breach of contract, at which point you have easy legal recourse to him. But if the contract didn't say, or just said "wooden" parts, then you're screwed.

But anyway, carpet is the only real good solution at this point. You can try the veneering method you mentioned, but that just seems like a band-aid, not a real solution. And you shouldn't really leave your risers exposed if they are pine. They will inevitably get dings, divots and scratches because it is a soft wood. Carpet really is your best option at this point.
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Old 08-20-2009, 01:45 PM   #5
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new stairs - finishing chipboard risers?


so here're some more details. the contract is not very specific. it basically says:
"remove old stairs; frame and install new stairs. cost for pine = $2300; cost for oak = $2950."
of course we discussed very clearly choosing the best wood to match our hardwood floor and that i would do the staining/finishing. so it should've been clear that OSB was not acceptable. but this is not explicitly in the contract. my bad. since the contract does not directly say what portion of the stairs will be pine, i don't know if i have a strong enough claim in court.

we paid half the money up front. my inclination is to cut the contractor loose. i'll keep the 2nd half of the fee and finish the job myself. it's been like pulling teeth just to get them to come out and do the half-a$$ed job they've done so far. i doubt they'll ever do a good job.

p.s. they installed the stairs ~7" shifted from the old set. now there is a headroom problem too!!
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Old 08-20-2009, 07:30 PM   #6
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new stairs - finishing chipboard risers?


You can get wood veneer in rolls large enough to do a project like this. www.rockler.com and several other suppliers have them. Basic wood veneer is applied with contact cement, or you can get PSA (pressure sensitive adhesive) veneer...Basically a wood bumper sticker. You can stain or paint it as you normally would.

Seems obvious to me that your installer thought you'd be carpeting. Pine treads aren't going to look good for long.
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Old 08-20-2009, 08:30 PM   #7
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new stairs - finishing chipboard risers?


Quote:
Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
You can get wood veneer in rolls large enough to do a project like this. www.rockler.com and several other suppliers have them. Basic wood veneer is applied with contact cement, or you can get PSA (pressure sensitive adhesive) veneer...Basically a wood bumper sticker. You can stain or paint it as you normally would.

Seems obvious to me that your installer thought you'd be carpeting. Pine treads aren't going to look good for long.
Wood veneer is not made for use on staircases or any other high traffic use. You would wear through it in a heartbeat.
Veneer is for things like cabinets, furniture, etc...
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Old 08-20-2009, 08:38 PM   #8
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new stairs - finishing chipboard risers?


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Wood veneer is not made for use on staircases or any other high traffic use. You would wear through it in a heartbeat.
Veneer is for things like cabinets, furniture, etc...
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No different than hardwood plywood. The loose veneer is every bit as thick as the face veneer on a piece of birch plywood, even thicker in some cases. Veneer sure wouldn't hold up on treads but it would be just fine on risers, which are the issue here.
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:27 PM   #9
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new stairs - finishing chipboard risers?


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Originally Posted by blakelock View Post
so here're some more details. the contract is not very specific. it basically says:
"remove old stairs; frame and install new stairs. cost for pine = $2300; cost for oak = $2950."

p.s. they installed the stairs ~7" shifted from the old set. now there is a headroom problem too!!
Sounds like another problem
If you do not have 6' 8" of headroom then the stairs do not meet code & must be pulled out/redone

Which stair sdid they charge you for, pine or Oak?
If the contract is not specific on which then he was free to install either & charge accordingly
However OSB is definitely NOT Pine so you are due a refund IMO
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:51 AM   #10
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new stairs - finishing chipboard risers?


Yes, "PINE" would be ALL pine, and "OAK" would be ALL oak.
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Old 08-22-2009, 02:29 PM   #11
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new stairs - finishing chipboard risers?


If you choose to go with the oak veneer on the risers I'd seal the OSB with a polyurethane or varnish first before applying the veneer. The oak veneer I've used before comes in 2" by 8" rolls. It's real wood and stains and finishes just like the stairs.

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Old 08-23-2009, 01:29 PM   #12
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new stairs - finishing chipboard risers?


Correction on the veneer. The rolls are 2' by 8'


sorry about that, rredogg

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