How can I fix old stairs/risers without removing the wood?
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When you say "fix," what exactly is the problem? Is the wood dented and scratched or is the wood split? Part of the answer is if you have access under the stairs. Scratched and dented? Fill with wood putty, sand, and repaint/refinish. Split risers? Same thing, they are not structural. if the stair treads are split, that poses a safety problem depending on how wide the stairs are and how many stringers were used. No stringer in the middle means no support in the middle and more of a safety concern. You can add supporting pieces of wood by blocking between the stringers If you can get under the stairs.
If the tread is split and you cannot get under the stairs, you may need to replace part of the tread or the whole tread:
If the nose of the tread is split, check out this youtube and the other link for screws:
You can also hide imperfections by adding a thin layer of luan to reface the riser and you can add stair tread covers in the same fashion, but that will not solve any structural issues.
If you can get underneath the stairs you can reinforce them with screws from the bottom. Not sure what the problem is.
Hi AnnW, as long as the structure is intact and surdy, you can simply measure and put new boards right over top of the old, or get creative and do ceramic tiles or something over top of them.
Sand them sown I am doing that now to