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Old 05-26-2015, 01:14 PM   #1
clapped_r6 OP
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hardwood stairs qs

has anybody here done interior hardwood stairs?

long story short, i'm planning on doing my upstairs with nail down 3/4 prefinished hardwood, which i've helped my FIL in the past, and have a handle on how to get that done.

whats giving me heartburn is doing the stairs. turns out, there's no "exact" match of bullnose stair nosing to the wood i got, which would drive me nuts. my options are:

1. get it "close enough" with bullnose and the wood i already have

2. get one piece unfinished treads, and try to coordinate the finish to get it reasonably close, (or something that would give nice contrast) or

3. use aluminum or stainless stair edging and the wood i already have as treads

i stumbled onto the metal edging idea, and think it's a decent option. i could use the same flooring on the treads, installed the same way (nailed down proper) and the metal edging would cover up the unfinished (tongue side cut flush) edge. seems like it'd be way less slippery in socks, and a way more durable edge than wood.

however, i cannot find much info on people actually doing this in their homes. commercial areas, etc, yes.

this a good idea, or am i barking up the wrong tree?
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Old 05-26-2015, 01:51 PM   #2
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There are companies who will machine a cutter blade to match your bullnose. I had one made about a year ago and think I paid about 200.00 and they gave me a break on the price of the trim they cut.
What I don't like about stair edging is that some footwear will tend to catch on it and cause you to stumble. Not so with bullnose, and less likelihood of splintering on the edge of the tread with a rounded profile.
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Old 05-26-2015, 03:30 PM   #3
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i'd rather not modify the prefinished wood, if i were to do that i'd probably just get one piece treads and stain / finish them.

i like the metal nosing for it's "mad max" appeal, but not sure that'd translate well when i go to sell the house (way in the future)

although, some google images showed some super high end homes with just that, dark treads with metal nosing. hmmm
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Old 05-26-2015, 04:56 PM   #4
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maybe should have put this in garage instead eh? mods wanna move?
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Old 05-26-2015, 05:47 PM   #5
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I believe one of the paint stores, real paint store not that orange jungle, will also match stain using their paint match service.

Sherwin Williams maybe?

Can't remember which one.
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Old 05-26-2015, 06:38 PM   #6
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I bought pre-finished treads from stair-treads.com. For something like $20 they sent me a box of samples so I could match my floors then refunded me the cost of the samples when I ordered the treads. They also sell unfinished treads.
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Old 05-26-2015, 06:43 PM   #7
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We make stair tread in our shop. The solid 1" think hardwood with the bullnose cut into the outer edge. If it is open on one side then we have a return bullnose that wraps about the edge 1.5"

Problem with hardwood flooring and an attached bullnose is that it will eventually break off. But we do make those as well.

Be carefull with the metal edge and it could catch your foot/shoe on the top side.

My advice if you have a nice house is to bite the bullet and get heavy, 1" thick treads in the species you want and match the stain to what you want.

Good luck in what you do.
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Old 05-26-2015, 06:47 PM   #8
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If it's real wood and not laminated, just bullnose it with a router, then finish/refinish that part of it? Probably coat the whole tread with your last coat for surface consistency.

My treads are cherry, 1/2" round over on the front. I used 2" rough material planned down to 1-1/4" (that took a while).

I would be a little concerned about flex with 3/4" material. Might want an extra stringer? Or...laminate it to some 3/4" ply and rip a piece of the flooring to 1-1/2" wide, route the bullnose on that, and glue it up to the front of the tread/plywood assembly? Would make a thick tread, so maybe just use 1/2" ply. Just some thoughts.
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Old 05-26-2015, 08:52 PM   #9
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Solid treads are the way to go for a long lasting quality look and feel. If it is a closed stairwell build or buy a stairtread jig to get a perfect fit every time.
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Old 05-26-2015, 10:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clapped_r6 View Post
has anybody here done interior hardwood stairs?

long story short, i'm planning on doing my upstairs with nail down 3/4 prefinished hardwood, which i've helped my FIL in the past, and have a handle on how to get that done.

whats giving me heartburn is doing the stairs. turns out, there's no "exact" match of bullnose stair nosing to the wood i got, which would drive me nuts. my options are:

1. get it "close enough" with bullnose and the wood i already have

2. get one piece unfinished treads, and try to coordinate the finish to get it reasonably close, (or something that would give nice contrast) or

3. use aluminum or stainless stair edging and the wood i already have as treads

i stumbled onto the metal edging idea, and think it's a decent option. i could use the same flooring on the treads, installed the same way (nailed down proper) and the metal edging would cover up the unfinished (tongue side cut flush) edge. seems like it'd be way less slippery in socks, and a way more durable edge than wood.

however, i cannot find much info on people actually doing this in their homes. commercial areas, etc, yes.

this a good idea, or am i barking up the wrong tree?

What is covering the stairs now, carpet? Plywood treads? How much existing overhang? Have you checked the rise, this can limit options if you want to stay in code. Be good to know exactly what kind of wood we're talking about. Type of stairway too. I do lots of them. Solid treads are well worthwhile, no beveled edges to clean, anything else will look cheap in comparison (what kind of stairway, open, closed, skirted, landings?). Solid oak run about $10/ft, other species are readily available and there is always a chance the color match is easy. Need a product number. What about risers?
Don't buy a jig, I can show you how to get superior results with less money.
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Old 05-26-2015, 10:39 PM   #11
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hardwaregrrl

Who hangs out down in Old's cool does Hardwood floor refinishing, you might want to PM her.

Personally I'd go with a nice tone on tone contrast deal, Or try my hand at mixing up my own color.

but then I've spent years in color development for paint so I have an eye for that kind of work.


I'm guessing I'd end up doing a contrasting color, because I'd never be able to get the match as perfect as I would like.
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Old 05-26-2015, 11:10 PM   #12
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thanks for all the replys doods!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PunkinHead View Post
I bought pre-finished treads from stair-treads.com.
thanks, will look into that

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagwood_55 View Post

Problem with hardwood flooring and an attached bullnose is that it will eventually break off. But we do make those as well.
what breaks, the separate bullnose piece, or bullnose off of a solid tread?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ig_88e View Post
If it's real wood and not laminated, just bullnose it with a router, then finish/refinish that part of it? Probably coat the whole tread with your last coat for surface consistency.

I would be a little concerned about flex with 3/4" material. Might want an extra stringer? Or...laminate it to some 3/4" ply and rip a piece of the flooring to 1-1/2" wide, route the bullnose on that, and glue it up to the front of the tread/plywood assembly? Would make a thick tread, so maybe just use 1/2" ply. Just some thoughts.
i should have been more clear. this is an existing carpeted staircase from the mid 70's. rough ply underneath, but really solid with no squeaking.
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Old 05-26-2015, 11:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clebner View Post
Solid treads are the way to go for a long lasting quality look and feel. If it is a closed stairwell build or buy a stairtread jig to get a perfect fit every time.
i saw an instructables or somesuch on making your own jig, looked like a really good idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tweaker View Post
What is covering the stairs now, carpet? Plywood treads? How much existing overhang? Have you checked the rise, this can limit options if you want to stay in code. Be good to know exactly what kind of wood we're talking about. Type of stairway too. I do lots of them. Solid treads are well worthwhile, no beveled edges to clean, anything else will look cheap in comparison (what kind of stairway, open, closed, skirted, landings?). Solid oak run about $10/ft, other species are readily available and there is always a chance the color match is easy. Need a product number. What about risers?
Don't buy a jig, I can show you how to get superior results with less money.
carpet, rough 3/4 ply underneath, 7/8" overhang. rise looks perfect, i'm astounded that they're all within 1/8" between steps. what is this superior tread measuring you speak of?

Quote:
Originally Posted by squish View Post

I'm guessing I'd end up doing a contrasting color, because I'd never be able to get the match as perfect as I would like.
and,
that's kinda where i'm at right now. consulted the War Dept. and she really likes the idea of contrasting treads and risers.
i had originally thought of having the risers a really dark carbon bamboo for texture (against a "kinda walnut" sort of random coloring i have going on) but she said, hey why don't we do a darker walnut or oak for the treads and use the other flooring for the risers?

so, in short, thanks for all the replys and ideas. *I* liked the idea of burly aluminum step edging, but then again *I* have no taste or fashion sense. (i figure if no one is doing it, it's probably for a reason!)
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Old 05-26-2015, 11:26 PM   #14
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I'm not an interior decorating but Contrasting stairs look awesome in my opinion, you have to break thing up a bit.

Don't put the metal edge on, you'll regret it.
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Old 05-27-2015, 08:39 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clapped_r6 View Post
carpet, rough 3/4 ply underneath, 7/8" overhang. rise looks perfect, i'm astounded that they're all within 1/8" between steps. what is this superior tread measuring you speak of?
You'd need to cut that overhang flush. You really need to double and triple check the rise on the first and last tread. Usually they build them with a 1 1/16" tread and 3/4" flooring in mind. The first tread should be 5/16" lower to the floor and 5/16" taller on the top rise to the upper landing if you want to accommodate 1 1/6" treads and stay legal.

I have a jig, an expensive Stair Wizard, what a pain in the ass, I have ruined more treads using that jig. Jigs simply will not cut to my standards, which is NO CRACKS< NO FILLER on any butted joint. You cannot do that with a jig because it has rigid sides that will not contour to the fluctuations in the wall and side skirt. So the jigs arm will only go to the shallowest point and you are left with gaping gaps.

You can get easily the same results with a framing square, two thin sticks and a pair of vicegrips or pliers as long as one side is square (that's why the framing square). Lay your sticks down inside the front and back corners, clamp them and transfer the length to your tread measuring from your square side.

You can go farther and get superior fits with two of these, a steel square and magnets...both sides out of square, undulating side skirts, it doesn't matter, no cracks...
http://www.harborfreight.com/6-inch-...gauge-907.html

I doubled up my own, for some reason their setup was not good, I forget why, using 1/4" wood with two rare earth magnets routed and glued into the wood, attach tot he square and you are set.

If your serious about it, I'll write a little tutorial. Otherwise, I do have a Stair Wizard I would sell, I've been doing 2-3 sets of stairs/year for 30 years.
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