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some questions on stair case skirt boarding (how to measure, cut, materials)

28409 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Mike in Arkansas

New to this forum, but have already gleaned some nice info. Planning on purchasing oak stair treads from HD or similar and pulling up carpet on my enclosed stair cases to lay down the treads. I currently have drywall skirting the existing stair case and would like to have skirting boards for a nice finish, durability and so I can paint white to match the risers.

Now my questions:

1) Anyone have a how-to on measuring, marking and cutting the skirt boards?

I found an article on ( that suggests using a level on the front of the riser to basically extrapolate a line onto the skirt board for each riser. Then use a square to make a line for the tread at 90 degrees.

It seems like this would produce a good fit for the riser, but the tread might be a off a bit if it's not exactly 90 degrees. But perhaps not an issue as the treads will but up against the skirt board when installed?

2) What material should I use for the skirt boards? Will paint with white semi-gloss latex.

3) A more general question about installing the treads: I plan on purchasing oak treads that already have a bullnose on them, so I just need to cut to size and glue down (no stairnose molding or anything). I've read other articles that say the existing plywood tread overhang (I can feel it overhang over the riser underneath the carpet) should be removed so the edge of the tread is flush with the riser. I assume this is so the hardwood tread has a nice finished joint with the riser, rather than having this extra plywood protrusion in between?

Could I instead cut some nice poplar risers and nail them over the existing riser so it's flush with the edge of the tread? In order for this to work I assume all the overhangs would need to be nearly exactly the same (e.g. 1"), and that the poplar would need to be the same thickness.

Perhaps it would be better to spend the time to cut the tread overhang and then finish it with a nice thin poplar riser?

Sorry for the long post. Appreciate the feedback!

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I was the OP for the referenced link. I think your correct. If you install the treads after you put the skirt board in place then the treads should cover any gaps from inaccurate cutting of the skirt board. You should know that the problem is getting the treads to fit exactly against the skirt board without leaving any gap between. You have to scribe each individual tread (on both sides if it's an enclosed staircase) because the walls are not perfectly flat and the skirt board will follow the wall. Hope that makes sense. My skirt boards were different as they were installed first and the risers and treads put in place from behind with wedges. That technique is shown in the link on page 9 and 19 I think.
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