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Old 04-03-2015, 06:23 PM   #1
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Tiling stair risers


It's been a couple of years since I logged on here. Wife lost her job in the middle of our flooring project back then so everything got put on hold.

I'm about to put hardwood on our stairs. 2 years ago, the plan was to use a white painted riser to match the surrounding trim. Since then, we've seen other materials used on the riser, like tile. So, we're looking in to doing that but I have some questions.

We brought home some 12x12 samples of tile that is held together with the mesh on the back. Something you'd use for a backsplash, for example.

After measuring the typical riser space, i.e. between the flooring on the tread and the stair nose on the step above, I've got 6 5/8". The stairs are about 39 1/2" wide.

Aside from the obvious of cutting everything to fit, how do I fill in a 6 5/8" space with material that comes in 3", 6" or 12" increments? With a 12x12 piece, I cut 6 1/2" and I'm left with only 5 1/2". Sure, the scrap will get used, but I had hopes of needing only 1 1/2 tiles per riser. Now I need more material and every riser is going to be puzzle-pieced together.

We have a 12x12 sample of little 1/2" tiles. 6 1/2" allows for a cut between tiles, so if that's an option as we look at other tiles. The one we wanted to use has random length pieces that are 1/2" high and the ends are staggered. I can easily cut a piece to fit the height but it would be a nightmare of cutting and fitting to make use of all the scrap to try to minimize the number of 12x12 pieces we'd need to buy.

I don't know what I don't know. I was hoping some experts here might have some suggestions for something I hadn't thought of. A particular tile size. Another material altogether. Something to fill the extra 5/8" of space.

I'm ready to go back to the white painted riser, but the wife of course, doesn't want to give up on the tile idea.
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Old 04-04-2015, 12:08 AM   #2
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I have some 7x7 tile which would work nicely, also some 7x14. You could get some 14x14 and cut them down.
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Old 04-04-2015, 12:19 AM   #3
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I was looking at possibly using 2x2 tiles which would require 4 grout lines, but I'm still an 1/8" short if I used 1/8" grout lines, which I'm not sure one would use with 2x2 tiles.

I'm looking at about 850 2x2 tiles, but at say, 50 cents each, we're talking $425, which about double what I thought we could get away with.

And I'd really like to avoid cutting tile, at least top to bottom. I can understand one side or the other needing a cut tile, but it would be less noticeable.
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Old 04-04-2015, 11:00 AM   #4
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I think I figured out a solution to my problem: diagonal tiling

The decorative tile we're looking at comes in 4.25" squares. It's diagonal dimension is 6.01". Add in the grout lines and I have the space covered.

I would need 6 decorative tiles per riser. I would surround it with a cheaper solid color, which would require 8 tiles. Total estimated cost comes in the neighborhood of the $10.99 per 12x12 mesh tile we had originally picked out.
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Old 04-04-2015, 12:49 PM   #5
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Keep in mind that th thre is a relationship between riser height and depth of tread and if everything is perfect now you might mix things up a bit by the time you add your backer board, thinset and tile. Ron
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Old 04-04-2015, 06:01 PM   #6
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I was going to apply the tile with adhesive right on the OSB.

I get what you're saying though, as changing the dimensions of stairs ever so slightly will throw off a human.

The relationship between the treads will be the same. There is 3/4" flooring at the top of the stairs and each tread will get 3/4" flooring. So each step is being raised an equal amount.

Currently, there is carpet on the stairs. I have to remove the nose of each tread to accommodate the new stair nose. The is little difference between the existing nose and the one going on. I'm not anticipating that to be a problem.
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