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Old 04-16-2009, 08:52 AM   #1
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Converting carpet to wood stairs: rise issue


Hello,
I'm converting a carpeted staircase to finished Oak treads.
I tore out the old carpet, padding, and 2x12 lumber that was used as treads.

I have the new 1'' oak treads ready cut, finish and install; however, the rise in the stringers needs to be corrected.

I need to add a 1'' shim to each stringer, on each step surface, to make the rise consistent for all steps. I want to avoid rebuilding the 3 parallel stringers.

Can I just glue 1'' blocks to the flat part of each stringer and then install the new tread on top? If so, would you use a solid hardwood or plywood for that shim block?

To be clear, I have 3 parallel stringers running up a stairwell. To make the new rise/run consistent across all steps, I need to add 1'' to the rise of each step. To me, this means, gluing a 1'' block to each 10'' run section of each step on each stringer. Is this the best way to do this w/o rebuilding new stringers?

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Old 04-16-2009, 09:29 AM   #2
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Converting carpet to wood stairs: rise issue


the only right way to do this is to replace all the stringers to the proper rise.

if you add 1" to each tread then your first rise will be to high and the top rise to low. this will not meet any building code and depending on the rise you have be dangerous or uncomfortable .

if you have everything open you can go to a lumber yard and order a new set to the right rise and run,oak treads pine risers, or all oak,and order it as a unit and drop it in OR order it knock down and asemble it on site.

good luck.

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Old 04-16-2009, 09:41 AM   #3
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Converting carpet to wood stairs: rise issue


I should of been more clear.

Adding the 1'' block spacer would actually keep the rise consistent with the first step's rise. It also addresses the last step being too high. So, it all works out that if I just add 1'' to each stringer's rise, all the steps will be at a consistent height. I've measured and re-measured every step from first through last. I'll supply pictures if needed.

So, given that, do you think I could increase the rise by adding a 1'' block spacer to each step? (surface of each 10'' run on the stringer).

Or, is the real answer for me to go get new stringers? That's my least desired answer as It would require more de-construction/construction/drywall work, etc...
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Old 04-16-2009, 09:53 AM   #4
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Converting carpet to wood stairs: rise issue


if buy adding 1" to each tread will straighten out your existing problems then yes you can do it. just keep in mind that you are adding 2" to the first step and losing 2" on the last.

so if your first rise is 7" it will become 9" because your adding the spacer+ the tread.
and if your last rise was 7" it will be 5" ( presuming if all your risers are the same)

post some pics it will help
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Old 04-16-2009, 10:47 AM   #5
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Converting carpet to wood stairs: rise issue


Raise the complete stringer. Cut 1 inch off the top and put a 1 inch spacer under the bottom and all will be well.
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Old 04-16-2009, 11:14 AM   #6
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Converting carpet to wood stairs: rise issue


Here are photos.

Notice in the photos that by adding the 1'' blocks, I will have a consistent rise on each step, including the first and last ones. The 1'' spacer seems to be what it needs...


These red blocks are just for illustration. They are 1'' blocks. I would use solid 1'' hardwood as a real spacer here and glue it to the stringer.

First step is now 7.5 inches.


First and 2nd steps have same rise now...


This is the top step. It will have 3/4'' flooring on it. Believe it or not, just adding these 1'' spacers to each stringer will make all steps have the same rise.

So, can I do this? Can I just glue 1'' spacers (cut to size) on each stringer? Or, do I need to build new stringers?
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Old 04-16-2009, 01:17 PM   #7
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Converting carpet to wood stairs: rise issue


I think I would look for a 1" thick tread to put under it all. Perhaps two pieces of 1/2 plywood glued and screwed.
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Old 04-16-2009, 01:33 PM   #8
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Converting carpet to wood stairs: rise issue


i would redo all the stringers to get a consistent rise, since the stairs break on a landing your pretty much dealing with 6's or so.it would take you about 2 hrs to make them. versus all day of fidilling with little scraps and pieces and glue,only to have squeaky steps.!

a cheaper way out is to go to a lumber yard and order new steps already built and just drop them in, they will be less prone to sqeaking and the countless hours of shimming,glueing,and adjusting. you will save much time and finishing them will be much faster. just my opinion.

dont use hardwood as a spacer you can get 5/4 yellow pine will be sufficient.
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Old 04-16-2009, 01:45 PM   #9
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Converting carpet to wood stairs: rise issue


Thanks folks!
I decided new stringers is the way to go.

I initially was against this option because the removal of the existing stringers would mean drywall work in two adjacent rooms. I don't mind the drywall re-work, but I was hoping to avoid having to match paint, etc.

But, the right way to do it is w/ new stringers and that's what I'll do.

Thanks.
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Old 04-16-2009, 01:50 PM   #10
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Converting carpet to wood stairs: rise issue


good choice, you really only had 2 options doing this right!

1- new stringers to make the risers right
2- new prefab steps

any other way you would have been redoing the steps with in 1 yr
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Old 04-16-2009, 01:55 PM   #11
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Converting carpet to wood stairs: rise issue


you can save most of the drywall ,on the new stringer put a pine or oak 1x12 as a squirt board let it hang down over the existing drywall by 3/4-1", this way when looking at the steps the stairs are all wood and the drwall starts past the stringer.
GOOD LUCK
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Old 04-16-2009, 11:02 PM   #12
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Converting carpet to wood stairs: rise issue


Well, what's right when your remodeling. Addding 2 pieces of 1/2 ply glue and screwed would be just fine.
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Old 04-17-2009, 09:12 AM   #13
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Converting carpet to wood stairs: rise issue


If the truth be told, almost all truly well-crafted "boxed" staircases in the old days were done in a similar manner to what you are suggesting.

In true "boxed" staircases, each tread rests upon a separate, inserted and glued wooden wedge, not directly upon the stringer, itself.

Nothing at all wrong with what you are planning. Just make darn sure you have calculated correctly, and that the final outcome (this means with all treads in place) will give you the same height for each and every tread.... and this is sometimes tricky on the first (bottom) and last (top) spacing. Don't guess or calculate only..... set the treads in place, and measure the true, installed height, tread-to-tread... and floor-to-tread.

This cannot be stressed enough. This seemingly simple calculation often comes back to bite even experienced carpenters in the butt more often than you'd think.

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