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Old 01-23-2011, 09:11 PM   #1
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Replace hardwood stair treads


I have really old hardwood flooring strips on the threads, and painted risers. The hardwood is oak, according to contractor, I can't tell the difference between wood species personally.

I wanted them to be replaced since I am also replacing the hardwood flooring around the house, so they would match. But he says it cannot be done, and that he would just sand and refinish.

It doesn't make any sense to me why you would not be able to replace hardwood on stairs. Can anyone explain how it would be done?
Thanks.

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Old 01-24-2011, 06:23 AM   #2
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Replace hardwood stair treads


There is not such thing as "can't be done", given enough time/money. But I would say, that from an economical standpoint, it is a lot easier to refinish the stairs. When finished, they will look like new.

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Old 01-24-2011, 07:25 AM   #3
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Replace hardwood stair treads


If you can't tell the difference between species, what does it matter?

But treads are a little thicker than usual flooring, but any woodworking or cabinet shop can get you the wood, plane it to the correct thickness, glue it up if needed and put a bull nose on the front.

As stated, just depends on the time and investment you want to make.
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:44 AM   #4
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Replace hardwood stair treads


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Originally Posted by acerunner View Post
I have really old hardwood flooring strips on the threads, and painted risers. .
What does this mean? Did someone apply flooring to the tops of the treads?
If you have closed stringers, replacing the treads makes no economic sense as the staircase would probably need to be removed to get the treads out.
Try posting pictures if you don't know what you have.
Ron
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:37 PM   #5
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Replace hardwood stair treads


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Originally Posted by JoeLena View Post
If you can't tell the difference between species, what does it matter?
let me clarify what i meant. Given a plank of wood, I don't know what to look for to identify the species of wood. However, put two species of wood side by side and I can tell they are different. I just wouldn't know what they are, oak, pine, maple, cherry, etc. I suppose its just a matter of being exposed to enough different woods to learn to identify it.


I don't have a photo on hand, but here's one i found on google that's similar to what i have.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/heritagestairs/3903239094/
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:03 PM   #6
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Replace hardwood stair treads


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Originally Posted by acerunner View Post
let me clarify what i meant. Given a plank of wood, I don't know what to look for to identify the species of wood. However, put two species of wood side by side and I can tell they are different. I just wouldn't know what they are, oak, pine, maple, cherry, etc. I suppose its just a matter of being exposed to enough different woods to learn to identify it.


I don't have a photo on hand, but here's one i found on google that's similar to what i have.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/heritagestairs/3903239094/
It only shows one side of the staircase. The side shown has closed stringers. If you have that set up on both sides, you won't be replacing the treads without a lot of effort.
Ron
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:44 PM   #7
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Replace hardwood stair treads


I believe your concept of flooring strips is a laminated tread and your flooring contractor realizes he will have to take the stairs appart to change the treads. In other words they are structural and probably in a housed stringer. It is not flooring attached to a tread underneath.
Sand them and they should torn out beautiful
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:49 PM   #8
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Replace hardwood stair treads


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It only shows one side of the staircase. The side shown has closed stringers. If you have that set up on both sides, you won't be replacing the treads without a lot of effort.
Ron
yeah, its same on both sides.

I'm not 100% clear on the construction of stairs. I assumed the skirt on the side is just trim, so can be pulled off to replace hardwood. And that stringers are behind that, inside the wall.

Is that incorrect? Is the skirt part of the stringers?
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Old 01-24-2011, 04:11 PM   #9
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Replace hardwood stair treads


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Originally Posted by acerunner View Post
yeah, its same on both sides.

I'm not 100% clear on the construction of stairs. I assumed the skirt on the side is just trim, so can be pulled off to replace hardwood. And that stringers are behind that, inside the wall.

Is that incorrect? Is the skirt part of the stringers?
In a closed system, the stringers are dadoed out about 3/8" into the wood. The treads are installed from behind the stringers by sliding them into the dadoes on each side. After that, shims are driven under the treads and behind the risers to lock them in place. The shims are usually glued and nailed(1 per shim) in place.
You can remove the ceiling in the staircase under the one you're working on and disassemble the treads and risers that way.
Like I said, a lot of work.
Ron
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Old 01-24-2011, 05:52 PM   #10
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Replace hardwood stair treads


I would say what it all boils down to is that it would be faster and cheaper to sand down the old treads. If done right there will be no difference between them and new ones...except the cost. However, if there are problems with the old ones, such as deep gouges, structural problems and cracks or if they are the wrong species, then you might want to replace them. Hard to tell without a actual pic. Of course replacing them can be done. Either your carpenter doesn't think he can do it or he just doest think it is worth it.
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Old 01-24-2011, 06:31 PM   #11
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Replace hardwood stair treads


ok i'm convinced. i'll do the sanding.

But for education sake. Are the finished flooring planks nailed into the thread substrate (plywood?) before sliding into the dadoes? Such that the finished material is IN the stringers thus making it impossible to remove? That's what I gather from Ron's explanation.

this is sort of how I thought it would work:

Last edited by acerunner; 01-24-2011 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:40 PM   #12
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Replace hardwood stair treads


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Originally Posted by acerunner View Post
ok i'm convinced. i'll do the sanding.

But for education sake. Are the finished flooring planks nailed into the thread substrate (plywood?) before sliding into the dadoes? Such that the finished material is IN the stringers thus making it impossible to remove? That's what I gather from Ron's explanation.

this is sort of how I thought it would work:
There are just stair treads. There is no substrate with an applied flooring.
Ron
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:08 PM   #13
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Replace hardwood stair treads


your stair may not be built with housed stringers. Some stairs are built with 2x10 stringers cut out like what you would see on a deck. Then the trim skirts are put in place on the outside walls. Next the risers are put in place between the skirts and the treads are fit on top of the rough cut stringers. This is a very typical way to do it but not the best. Some stairs are prefabbed. In this case there is no rough stringers. The stringers are also your skirtboards. The treads are dadoed into the stringers and held in place with wedges. The risers are done the same way. Everything slides in from the back. when done this way the stair needs no addition support. If you look at the end of your treads where they meet the skirt and you see a space, then you do not have housed stringers.
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:14 PM   #14
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Replace hardwood stair treads


Take a look at the underside of the stair, cut a small hole in the sheetrock if necessary. You will then know what you are dealing with.
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Old 02-21-2011, 11:23 AM   #15
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Replace hardwood stair treads


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Originally Posted by Keith Mathewson View Post
Take a look at the underside of the stair, cut a small hole in the sheetrock if necessary. You will then know what you are dealing with.
ok, i finally got a chance to get to the underside of the stairs.
Here are the pictures.
Attached Thumbnails
Replace hardwood stair treads-img00340-20110130-1356.jpg   Replace hardwood stair treads-img00341-20110130-1356.jpg   Replace hardwood stair treads-img00344-20110130-1357.jpg  

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