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Old 10-31-2012, 09:46 AM   #1
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Redoing stairs for painting


Hi all!

I pulled up the carpet on the main stairway in my 1930s home.

I would like to redo the stairs by painting and then putting a carpet runner down the middle.

The stair treads are in fairly good condition, except that the nosing is splintering/cracked in a lot of places. Structurally, I think they are OK, but they are beyond sanding.

Unfortunately, there is a fitted skirt board on both sides of the stair case. This skirt perfectly fits over all the treads, which, I assume, would make it hard to pull them up and replace (see pics).

I would rather not pull out the skirt boards since on one side they are attached to a masonry wall, and I doubt I would get it out in one piece, and I don't want to have to repair the wall plaster where the skirt was.

So what to do? I thought about cutting off the nosing, and using a retread kit such as:

http://www.homedepot.ca/product/42-i...ser-kit/913518

But ~$40/stair is pricey considering I want to paint it.

Instead, I was thinking about cutting off the nosing, screwing in a 2x2 as new nosing (I don't mind a square nosing), and using filler to cover the screws and the joint between the old tread and the 2x2. I'm worried though that the 2x2 will break off since the nosing takes a lot of load...

Maybe putting a piece of ply down on the old treads and screw the nosing into the ply from the bottom? See pics.

Any thoughts?? Your help is much appreciated.
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Old 10-31-2012, 11:36 AM   #2
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Redoing stairs for painting


I believe if you look a little closer that your stairs are full mortised stairs. The skirts are actually the stringers as well. I could be totally wrong but that is what they look like to me. If you can access your stairs from below you can see if they are full mortise or conventional stairs.

Removing the nosing and installing a 2X2 is not the way to go, you will not be happy with that at all, it will not only look bad but it will feel uncomfortable as you ascend and descend the stairs and could be dangerous as well. If they are mortise stairs you will be able to disassemble from below and replace the treads. Can you get a picture under the stairs and post it?

Adding to the top of your treads may throw them out of code and make them a stumbler, but then they may be out of code to start with, but adding to the top of the tread is not the way to go.

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Old 10-31-2012, 11:49 AM   #3
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Redoing stairs for painting


Just looking at that picture of one of your treads where the paints worn off that sure looks like an exposed finish nail.
I'd be sanding off some more paint along the lenght of the tread to see if there's more nails. If there is then the nosing can be removed and replaced.
There no good way with any tool I've ever heard of to just cut off the nosing if it's part of the treads and have a straight enough line to attach new nosing.
Those skirts are going to need paint stripper and some paint scrappers to get off all those layers.
Once it's stripped I'd be using some water putty to fill in the low spots, sand it before primming and painting.

http://www.waterputty.com/
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Old 10-31-2012, 11:57 AM   #4
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Redoing stairs for painting


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Just looking at that picture of one of your treads where the paints worn off that sure looks like an exposed finish nail.
I'd be sanding off some more paint along the lenght of the tread to see if there's more nails. If there is then the nosing can be removed and replaced.
Those are nails used to hold on oak veneer which was under the carpet. It was badly damaged, so I pulled it off too. The tread is one piece


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
There no good way with any tool I've ever heard of to just cut off the nosing if it's part of the treads and have a straight enough line to attach new nosing.
What if I plywood the entire riser, attached the new nosing to the plywood, then plywood the tread going over the nosing. Like in my paint picture That should correct for any imperfections in the cut.
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Old 10-31-2012, 12:06 PM   #5
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Redoing stairs for painting


Not a great idea for several reasons.
Nailing into the end grain of plywood would have about 0 holding strength.

Since you have nothing to loose I'd try my trim router with a roundover bit using a ripped piece of plywood to act as a guide between the riser and the router so it would cut straight and not go to deep.
Then use my random orbital sander to round over the ends where the router would not reach.
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Old 10-31-2012, 12:42 PM   #6
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Redoing stairs for painting


Quote:
Originally Posted by zubor View Post
Those are nails used to hold on oak veneer which was under the carpet. It was badly damaged, so I pulled it off too. The tread is one piece




What if I plywood the entire riser, attached the new nosing to the plywood, then plywood the tread going over the nosing. Like in my paint picture That should correct for any imperfections in the cut.
I don't know if the 1/4 inch plywood will make your stairs out of code or not, because I don't know the rise per step on your stairs. If it doesn't you can do as you are saying with the 1/4 inch plywood, I would for sure go with a bull nose instead of a 2X2. If you dado the top of the bull nose so the 1/4 inch plywood will be flush with the top of the bull nose it will look much better and there won't be a raw end of plywood showing.

This adding plywood on the tread will not hold up unless you cover the plywood as you suggest. The veneer is just too thin and will wear through quickly. Be aware that the nosing will have a lot of pressure exerted on it by the traffic and especially moving heavy objects up and down stairs so the nosing will need to be glued and nailed or screwed on very securely.
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Last edited by BigJim; 10-31-2012 at 12:46 PM. Reason: Never mind
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Old 10-31-2012, 07:02 PM   #7
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Redoing stairs for painting


I would use a wood restoration epoxy paste to regain the bullnose contour. You will have to cut yourself a tool to match what you have out of masonite, plex or something. The epoxy will cure hard and as strong or stronger than wood. Tint it to the wood color to be safe but it should not matter if you are going to paint.

I use restoration products from Abatron but ConservEpoxy sells great stuff too. ConservEpoxy has more catalyst and resin combination options which can be a bit confusing but is nice I guess.

http://www.abatron.com/buildingandre...intenance.html

http://conservepoxy.com/

Obviously you want to patch any obvious and deep gouges in the treads and risers and the curing resin will come in handy for that as well. Work in small batches.

Then, use a quality porch, patio and floor paint like Benjamin Moore and other real paint stores sell. The oil based product is urethane reinforced and the waterbased is silicon reinforced. It comes in a myriad of colors and I think in tint bases as well. Floor paints are self-priming.
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Old 11-01-2012, 09:35 AM   #8
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Redoing stairs for painting


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I don't know if the 1/4 inch plywood will make your stairs out of code or not
This got me thinking. The rise on the stairs are already not uniform due to the addition of subfloor/flooring on the lower and upper floors. Bottom stair rise is 6.75" and top is 8.5". The rest are ~7.5" rise.

In Canada, I think code is ~5-8" for the rise.

Can I just cut the nosing off the stairs. Put a piece of plywood for the riser which would extend from top to top of the old risers to hide any imperfections in the nosing cut, then just add a new 1" thick pine treads on top.

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-25ec...1#.UJJ264ZaI0M

This would bring the Bottom stair to 7.75" and the top to 7.5" which is not only to code, but more uniform then before.

I would need to fill in and sand the space in the skirt left by removing the nosing.

Thoughts?
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:13 PM   #9
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Redoing stairs for painting


Quote:
Originally Posted by zubor View Post
This got me thinking. The rise on the stairs are already not uniform due to the addition of subfloor/flooring on the lower and upper floors. Bottom stair rise is 6.75" and top is 8.5". The rest are ~7.5" rise.

In Canada, I think code is ~5-8" for the rise.

Can I just cut the nosing off the stairs. Put a piece of plywood for the riser which would extend from top to top of the old risers to hide any imperfections in the nosing cut, then just add a new 1" thick pine treads on top.

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-25ec...1#.UJJ264ZaI0M

This would bring the Bottom stair to 7.75" and the top to 7.5" which is not only to code, but more uniform then before.

I would need to fill in and sand the space in the skirt left by removing the nosing.

Thoughts?
That would work and be a lot more comfortable and a lot less of a stumbler. If you could cut the nosing where it recesses back in the carriage smooth, you wouldn't have much sanding to do and filling wouldn't be so bad. I think you solved the problem yourself. Make sure you secure the treads good so they won't squeak, put glue in all places where wood contacts wood.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:25 PM   #10
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Redoing stairs for painting


As Jim pointed out that is a mortised stair.

What I would do is to gain access to the underside of the stair and remove the wedges. They will have either not been glued in or if they have the glue will have been hide glue and can be reversed using hot water. You may have to remove some nails from the riser into the treads to remove the treads, perhaps not. Once the treads slide out the back of the staircase you can put a new nosing on the tread by running it through a router table with a bullnose bit and then glueing some stock onto the back of the tread. Then make new wedges and reinsert treads.

The end product will have been done well and in keeping with the period of the house instead of a piece-mealed together.
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Old 11-01-2012, 09:31 PM   #11
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Redoing stairs for painting


I thought about removing the treads but I didn't think about re-nosing the treads like that, but that would sure work great. The only concern is the first and last step is so far out of code as they are right now and adding an inch to the top of the treads will bring them almost into code. It is a tough call, easy fix by removing the treads, (if can access underneath) renosing, reinstall, or cut the nosing, fill hole left by nosing recess in carriage and install new treads on top.
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:08 PM   #12
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Redoing stairs for painting


Thank you all so much for all your help. It is really appreciated.

Sorry for leaving this thread for so long, I had to go out of town for work and did not have Internet.

I would love to remove the treads, but I don't have access to the underside.

I decided to cut the nosing off, and lay 3.5 planks of hardwood flooring to match the floor at the base of the stairs. The previous owner left me more than enough to cover the stairs. I know it's botching up the character of the house... but refinishing just wasn't an option.

Any suggestions on filling the holes in the skirt left by the removed nosing? I have used this stuff: http://www.homedepot.ca/product/elme...r-453gr/968323 in the past... and it is CRAP.

Any other good products?

Thank you again for all the help.

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