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DIY_user 11-29-2006 02:00 PM

Changing from carpet stairs to wood stairs
I like to change the existing carpet covered stairs into wood stairs. It goes from the main level to second floor. It is not curved. It goes straight up and turn back half way to reach the upper level. It has 3 pie shape steps and a flat square area at the turn. The balusters are not on the steps. I was wondering what is the easiest way to do this.
I have not removed the carpet yet. So I have no idea what is under it. Can I just replace the steps with wood or I actually have to rebuild or replace the whole stairs ? With limited budget what will be a good choice of wood ?

J187 11-29-2006 02:54 PM

I dont' think you or anyone else can answer this question before you remove the carpet. What if you remove the carpet and find that the stairs are exactly what you were hoping for underneath? When I took up the carpet in my house, my stairs were wood underneath and in great shape except for one broken one.

DIY_user 11-29-2006 04:47 PM

I agreed. But I just want to have an the idea the amount of work involved before taking things apart. This is a regular house that the builder will use whatever the cheapest material they can find at the time. So I know that it will not be solid wood stair under the carpet. My friend's house (almost the same age, but not built by the same builder) replaced the carpet last year and I saw that the treads are just plywood and the rise is particle board. I suspect that I'll have the same. So I think I'll need to replace the treads and perhaps the rise also. I am looking for suggestion from some one who may have done this before. Perhaps getting the replacement materials for both the tread and rise and all the work involved will costs close to getting a preassembled replacement.

troubleseeker 11-29-2006 07:56 PM

A lot really depends on what is under. I suspect you will need to replace the treads and risers as you suggest. Most houses built to have carpeted stairs use 2x12's for threads.They will need to be removed to install the new treads, which will also have to be "massaged" with shims to keep the riser heights as close to code as possible. It is a lot of work, but doable. The best way to fit the treads is to rip a sheet of 1/4" plywood into 2" strips, then scribe pieces and stick them together with hot melt to make a pattern. Start at the bottom so you can reach from the step above to wedge the bottom of the riser tight to the tread.

Most important, use plenty of construction adhesive to keep moving wood from squeeking against each other.

Darylh 11-29-2006 10:11 PM

I would tear out the carpet and replace with real wood of the same thickness of what your carpet makes up.

ncgrogan 12-03-2006 08:24 AM

I've been doing the same thing this weekend. Ive only got about half the steps done but its coming along nicely. The wood is red oak stained with a "custom" blend of red/brown. I would recommend a table saw for this job though as I had to rip an 1" off of every tread. It also helps to keep your sanity when the walls are crooked and you think you're not cutting straight. Heres some pics

jamowa 05-24-2008 01:37 PM

Very nicely done, NCGrogan. We are setting up for a similar project. How did you make such a nice transition between the hall carpet & the stairs? Likewise we have carpet in the hallway, which someday will be replaced by carpet or cork tiles.

Allison1888 05-24-2008 09:57 PM

wood stairs
Boy, what a great transformation. The wood looks great!

ncgrogan 05-28-2008 06:10 PM

I used a bullnose at the stair/carpet transistion and put it down before the carpet was installed so they could put the carpet right up to it.

I also ended up putting red oak on the landing

lineworkerjoe 09-05-2009 03:27 PM

carpet stairs to hardwood stairs
I pulled up the carpet and as mentioned, and I have 2x12's for treads. Do these have to come off and the hardwood put in its place, and is the a code or rule of thumb, of how tall the riser has to be?

Darylh 09-06-2009 07:59 AM

If you have carpet on the floor on both floors and your just replaceing the carpet on the stairs with real wood you will have to remove the 2x12's and shim each one before installing your new treads to make up the difference in thickness of the carpet so all your risers are the same.

Proulx06 10-26-2009 09:58 PM

I know this is a stupid question, but I can't seem to figure this out on my own. I'm doing the same thing...pulling up carpet on the steps to my basement, I already know there are 2x12's underneath...but WHY do you need to tear them up? Why can't you just put the hardwood treads on top of the 2x12's? I would think the rise would be the same. I know the front of the step (not sure what the technical term is, but the non-traffic part of the step) would need to be covered up, but I would think that some thick plywood or trim board would do well there. What am I missing here?

MI-Roger 10-29-2009 11:32 AM

Lots of shimming and cutting
As other have said, your treads are probably 2 x 12's. The oak treads you buy will be thinner than the 2 x's so each tread will need to be securely shimmed to accomodate the difference.

The winders (the pie shaped pieces in the center of your stairway) may only be 3/4 inch plywood pieces with additional blocking for added support. These will be thinner than the new oak treads and will require careful in situ cutting of the stair jacks to accomodate the thicker wood treads. An easier (and probably less expensive) method will be to replace the scabby plywood you are certain to find under the carpet with new 3/4-inch plywood with a quarter sawn (not rotary cut) oak veneer and proper oak tread nosing. (that beautiful oak board at the top of ncgrogan's stairs where the carpet stops is a piece of tread nosing).

I haven't looked at the code book recently, but I recall that the riser height for each stair tread cannot vary by more than 1/8-inch from tread to adjacent tread, and that no two treads anywhere on the stairs can vary by more than 3/8 of an inch.

Just scabbing new treads on top of the existing treads is a code violation and a HUGE safety issue. Unequal stair tread heights guarantee every user will trip while going up and/or down the stairs!

Gary in WA 10-29-2009 11:27 PM

" Unequal stair tread heights guarantee every user will trip while going up and/or down the stairs!" ---- notice the lack of handrail in the picture. A newer stair code:
Be safe, Gary

Brian A 11-15-2009 10:09 AM

want to change my stairs
Your stairs look really great, where did you buy the wood and what brand is it,I am not handy and I am doing my stairs over, They are the stairs that go from my front door up to my apartment. would this be good for all the traffic that will be in and out of my house. Thanks for any suggestions.[/quote]

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