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Old 03-29-2009, 01:31 PM   #1
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Wood floor installation at top of stairs


I am replacing carpet in an upstairs hall with 3/4" prefinished wood flooring. At the top of the stairs, behind the top tread, there is not a suffient gap to install the flooring so that it will be flush with the top thread. Do I need to rip up the subfloor, remove and replace the top tread (and the wood under the baulester)? Any ideas?

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Dave
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Old 03-30-2009, 08:23 AM   #2
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Wood floor installation at top of stairs


If I were doing this myself, or having it done by others, I would expect that to be done, that the level of the floor be 100% flat (especially on a staircase) because the only other solution is transitions and you'd still get a difference in level between the new floorboards and the stairnose - and no-one wouldn't think that "safe" and perfect looking.

You could trip up - or trip down...your choice.

Taking off the railing, balusters and stairnose is not a huge deal. OK you may have to sacrifice a length or two of oak trim, but you should be able to salvage the balusters and railing, perhaps shorten them and replace them.

Piece of cake for stair companies...

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Old 03-30-2009, 11:35 AM   #3
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Wood floor installation at top of stairs


Hey Dave,

Boy does that look familiar to my project I'm finishing up. I had the luxury however of having an even subfloor so the edge which had landing tread around it was the same height as my flooring.

If I had your problem, I would not screw with the subfloor. I would remove all of your railing elements and build UP the area under your landing treads so that it is flush w/ your flooring.

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Old 03-30-2009, 01:35 PM   #4
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Wood floor installation at top of stairs


What is the current rise of the treads? Are they all even?
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Old 03-30-2009, 02:31 PM   #5
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Wood floor installation at top of stairs


Thanks for all the input. Sounds like building up the top tread is the way to go. The rise for each step is currently fairly even. If the rise to the top step is about 3/4 more than all the other rises, will this be an issue? Also, how hard is it to remove the baulester? It is simply screwed to the floor with a lag bolt? And are each of the spindles typically nailed to the floor? Any pointers on how to remove the rail assembly is appreciated.

Thanks again
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Old 03-30-2009, 03:09 PM   #6
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Wood floor installation at top of stairs


Just replace the existing stair nose molding with a thicker one. I presume the one in place that you say was for carpeting is going ot be thinnner than the 3/4" new floor boards, so replace it. May mean you have to replace all the stair noses all the way down to prevent any height differences.

Balusters have different ways of attaching themselves to the trim...depends.
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Old 03-30-2009, 03:13 PM   #7
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Wood floor installation at top of stairs


Quote:
Originally Posted by dekeen View Post
The rise for each step is currently fairly even. If the rise to the top step is about 3/4 more than all the other rises, will this be an issue?
According to code, the allowed variation between the minimum rise and the maximum rise in a flight of stairs is 3/8".

Added: The maximum variation between two adjacent rises shall not be more than 3/16".
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Last edited by 47_47; 03-30-2009 at 03:22 PM. Reason: Added
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Old 03-30-2009, 05:35 PM   #8
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Wood floor installation at top of stairs


When you say "replace all the stair noses", I take it to mean that I will need to replace the complete tread. This will really be a pain because I have balusters on most of the treads. Maybe I can build up (or replace) the top tread to gain about 1/2" (to accomodate the 3/4" flooring) and then "shim" up several of the treads leading up to the top while maintaining the 3/16" criterion noted above. Assuming the rises are currently equal, and I shim each of the top three steps by 3/16", I can get what I need from the top three steps.

Thanks for all the advice
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Old 03-31-2009, 08:45 PM   #9
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Wood floor installation at top of stairs


I wouldn't take up your balasters and hand rail at the top of the stairs.

replace the piece at the top of the steps with 3/4" to match your flooring. Run some flooring along side the banister . Have that flooring tapered from 3/4" (NEW FLOORING) down to the height of the board your balisters are on. could make a nice looking transistion

You may not feel the difference on the top step to the landing. It wont be quite 3/4" since you will be removing the piece that is already there.

These projects seem pretty easy at 1st then around every bend there is something else. Did you see my flooring project? new wood flooring

thought it would be cool to have a border go around all the outside walls and flow into the next room... WHAT A PAIN!

Good luck with your project... post more pics as you go along

Last edited by What have I done; 03-31-2009 at 08:48 PM. Reason: rethought about it
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Old 05-16-2009, 08:31 AM   #10
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Wood floor installation at top of stairs


I have a similar problem at the top of my stairs. The nosing that forms the ledge around the stairwell does not have grooves to receive the tongue of the hardwood. The question is, should I leave an expansion space between the new hardwood and the nosing and cover it with a saddle molding or T?

I intend to start the first row of the install along the long edge of the stairwell opening because of the odd shape of the room.

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 05-16-2009, 10:05 AM   #11
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Wood floor installation at top of stairs


Have you considered using engineered flooring instead as most of it is thinner than solid wood flooring?

If I had installed that stairway you wouldn't get it up without destroying everything as I used F-26 glue that would not release without taking other wood with it and my posts were anchored below the decking also.
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Old 05-16-2009, 05:47 PM   #12
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Wood floor installation at top of stairs


"Have you considered using engineered flooring instead as most of it is thinner than solid wood flooring?"

Good angle. And there are solid 5/16" hardwoods in 2 1/4 wide strip. Save some dough too.

Two that come to mind.

Bruce Natural Choice
Hartco Kingsford Strip
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Old 05-17-2009, 06:37 AM   #13
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Wood floor installation at top of stairs


As mentioned above. I'd seriously consider a thinner floor material. As long as the tread and balasters are solid and your only doing the hallway, why take them up.

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