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Old 04-18-2011, 11:05 PM   #1
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Stair landing construction

I have lived in my current house for 3 yrs. It is appx 19 yrs old. We have always been annoyed by a severe creak at the edge of the landing at the top of the stairs as well at the landing midway. My plan was to drive some screws to better secure the tread board.

Well, we are getting new carpet, so I cut away the carpet from the top step to the landing and what I found shocked me. The 1" bull nosed stair treads are nicely grooved into the stringers, but the top step, or should I say the landing which is the second floor has a 1x2 nailed into the top of the riser. Nailed! Below it for support they nailed a piece of crown molding as a brace. It is the movement and scraping between the 1x2 and the crown that makes the gosh awful creak.

The first question is why would anyone build anything like this? Using a 1x2 as the bull nosed portion for the top psudo tread?

The 2nd floor decking is 3/4" particle board, or glued together wood scraps, if that is the same these days, not sure. Now I understand the rationale for the 1x2, I just don't like it.

My solution - I bought a 1" stair tread which came with a rounded bull nose. Nice. Of course, being 1" material, I had to notch out for each floor joist as well as a double joist at the front which the riser is nailed to. That, was a lot of notching to get that thing to fit! I just used a circular saw set to 3/8" and made a groove the length of the tread which began at 1 1/4" from the bull nose. I had to make the same groove for each of 3 floor joists. I chiseled and used a router to clean up the material left after numerous passes with the saw. I also had to modify the 2x4 supports I made to support the floor as well as the new 1" tread. To do this, I made a rabbet in each 2x4 support piece I placed between the joists for support, also about 3/8", since 1/2 of the new support 2x4 had to be flush with the 3/4" flooring, but the new tread stuck down another 3/8" to 1/2" below the floor decking - thus the reason for the rabbet.

I also had to trim the riser even with the two 2x4 cross pieces.

What a lot of work this was! Now I know why they nailed on the 1x2, but was there another way without using 1" decking?

I know this is a long description and hope it is clear. Thanks for your help. r


Last edited by rkoutz; 04-18-2011 at 11:09 PM.
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Old 04-19-2011, 08:38 AM   #2
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They used it because it was going to be covered by carpet and the homeowner would never know.


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Old 04-19-2011, 10:16 AM   #3
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Stair squeak

I know it's covered with carpet, but the squeal that thing makes every time you step on it - ouch. I've got one more to do today and may take me 2-3 hrs to finish. I'm not a very fast carpenter. Just bought a dado set to help with removing wood from the 1" stair tread. Should expedite considerably. A project that requires a new tool purchase is always a worthwhile effort!

Thanks for your reply.
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stair treads

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