I need some help.

Jodie M
by Jodie M
I have a house that was built in the late 70's. I want to remove the carpet and have wooden steps, but when I pried the carpet up to take a peak, they are "scrap" wood and their is a gap between the treads and the walls. I do not have open spindal railings; there are walls on both sides. I don't even have the board that runs along side the steps, just the wall. What do I need to do? Replace both the treads and risers?
  9 answers
  • The Money Pit The Money Pit on Dec 19, 2011
    Sound's like you have what we used to call "paint grade" stairs - very typically in the 70's and 80's. You can reface the risers easy enough but the treads are more challenging. I suggest trying to cover the gaps with molding, rather than replace or reface them.

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Dec 20, 2011
    This may be worse than just paint grade. I have seen stairs built with plywood, osb, framing lumber etc. The plan was since carpet was going to be used ..they could use anything. Where I have had the best look making these better is to either remove the existing material to the bones of the stringers and start fresh. or completely "skin" them in new material. The choice is usually due to how thick the existing material is and whether there is enough support ( proper number of stringers) to limit flexing of new treads and risers. Stairs have some pretty tight code restrictions in that step height can not vary by more that 3/8" Over the length of the run. so in many cases you need to plan for this. Replacing with all new treads is possible, but can be a bit on the pricey side. Solid treads run about $20 ea. http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&productId=202185480&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&MERCH=REC-_-product-1-_-100530808-_-202185480-_-N&locStoreNum=1546 Soild treads are much easier to install as a diy than "building up " treads from hardwood plank "flooring" and bullnosed edges.

  • You can either remove the treads all together and replace them with new hardwood. Lots of work. Or you can use a product such as Bruce Natural Reflections which is a solid 3/8 wood pre-finished flooring and then purchase the nose trim. then simply glue or nail down. You do the risers with either paint or the same material if you want all wood look. We did our stairs with this. Took some time, but it came out great. Figure about 45 min per step. Here is the link on install for this product. http://www.armstrong.com/pdbupimages/16256188099.pdf

  • Cathy S Cathy S on Dec 22, 2011
    when you say "scrap wood", do you actually have individual pieces of thin wood? then i would agree with removing that and starting over. but did you actually see half-inch-thick OSB or plywood treads and risers? see photos here. this is fairly typical for mid-Florida where the underlayer treads and risers don't meet the walls, although the finish wood treads and risers will. you can then add other molding and trimwork if you like that look. these photos show OSB stairs awaiting the finish oak wood treads & risers that match the floors. (remodel, Marion County)

  • Jodie M Jodie M on Dec 26, 2011
    Yes, the second picture resembles what I have under the carpet. So I can put treads and risers over them and still remain in code?

  • Cathy S Cathy S on Dec 27, 2011
    you are fine! cover them with whichever beautiful wood you'd like. make sure each step has a nosing - the little lip that sticks out over the next step.

  • Jodie M Jodie M on Dec 27, 2011
    Thanks everyone for your help!

  • Faidra at  CA Global Inc Faidra at CA Global Inc on Dec 28, 2011
    Whatever happens get ready to pay some money, just had this done!

  • Jodie M Jodie M on Dec 28, 2011
    Do you have pictures that you wouldn't mind sharing?