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replacing wood stair treads

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  • replacing wood stair treads

    I am replacing the interior stair treads in my home and need some advice on how to remove the old treads. The staircase was originally built for carpet but we want to replace with new oak treads. We will leave the risers and paint them. How do I get the old off? They are nailed tight and most likely have adhesive holding them too.

    Thank you

  • #2
    Re: replacing wood stair treads

    How old is the house? It is possible that the treads are mortised into the stringers. This will make them very hard to remove. They will probably have to be cut in two, if that is the case. Also, if that is the case the risers generally aren't as structural as some other methods. They are more of a gap filler.
    It is really hard to say, but be prepared for nearly anything.

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    • #3
      Re: replacing wood stair treads

      Have you removed the carpet yet? If the stairs were originally designed for carpeet, the odds are the treads are not routed in, but the risers may not fit very tight against the skirt boards, either. Carpet covers a multitude of sins. If they are not routed, use a flat bar and a hammer to get between the stair horse and the tread to pry them up. Don't worry if you make small marks on the riser, 'cause you should put a small cove moulding under the new tread and against the riser.

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      • #4
        Re: replacing wood stair treads

        If you can't get to the underside of the staircase to see if you can see what's going on there, then I'd grab a reciprocating saw and slice one into pieces, just to see how it's held down. Chances are you're not going to be able to take them out in one piece anyhow, at least you can see where they're held down and what you might need to do to pry them loose.

        If you can get to the underside, why not take a mallet to the bottom side and see if you can knock one loose, unless they're mortised into the stringers, at which point it'll be even harder to remove and replace.

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        • #5
          Re: replacing wood stair treads

          You buy these and put them on top of what you have.
          http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/...h%3C%2FSPAN%3E
          SSG, U.S. Army
          Retired
          K.I.S.S., R.T.F.M.

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          • #6
            Re: replacing wood stair treads

            Originally posted by TOD View Post
            You buy these and put them on top of what you have.
            http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/...h%3C%2FSPAN%3E
            Um...I've never been accused of being a carpenter but wouldn't that make the lowest step 3/4" higher than it already is and the top landing 3/4" lower?

            How would you correct this?

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            • #7
              Re: replacing wood stair treads

              I posted the wrong link correcting it now.

              http://www.stairsupplies.com/eng/pro...rs/treads/8073
              Last edited by TOD; 11-11-2007, 05:37 PM.
              SSG, U.S. Army
              Retired
              K.I.S.S., R.T.F.M.

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              • #8
                Re: replacing wood stair treads

                This should be in the construction thread, Pipestone said it well ....

                Try to save the old boards, for exact measurements and wall contours (patterns). Nothing is ever 90 degrees, well sometimes they can be....
                Great Link for a Construction Owner/Tradesmen, and just say Garager sent you....

                http://www.contractorspub.com

                A good climbing rope will last you 3 to 5 years, a bad climbing rope will last you a life time !!!

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                • #9
                  Re: replacing wood stair treads

                  As previously mentioned, a lot is going to depend on what you see when you get to the underside of the steps.

                  I'm on the final leg of rennovating an old (1887) house, which we purchased two years ago. (see "Money Pit" with Tom Hanks) and we've replaced two staircases to date.

                  The first set of stair was to the attic from the second floor. I thought it would be a fairly simple project as only the second step was split and I'd replace that tread. It didn't take more than a few minutes to discover that there was no "stringers"... the steps were "toe-nailed" into the lath! It's a wonder that nobody was killed. So, that entire thing had to be rebuilt.

                  The main stairs to the second floor were carpeted, but creaks were quite noticeable, as was a bit of sag. The back of the stairs were also covered with wall board and we ended up removing all of that. Once uncovered, we found the stair construction to be quite conventional, in that the stringers were routed and the treads and risers were "morticed" into position and held with "wedges".

                  With my fairly limited experience (three houses and lots of reading), this appears to be how most decent quality stairs are built. In such cases, the back of the tread and the lower edge of the riser is fastened together with either screws or nails. The "wedges" used between the tread and risers and the stringers is to adjust the stairs over time, thus allowing for any expansion or shrinkage of the wood.

                  Unfortunately, once the treads and risers were removed the stringers were in such poor condition that we decided to replace them too. Now, I must admit that as much as I would have loved to do this job, I figured it was no time to learn new things, so I had my flooring contractor/carpenter do the job. I'm really glad I did as it came out great. (Besides, at the rate of speed that I work, we'd be using an extension ladder for the next year or so )

                  I should mention that in our particular case, it looked like the the main stairs would come apart fairly easy, by extracting the wedges and then pulling the dozens of nails that every previous owner and their offspring, seemed to find a need to pound into them. The first few stairs did come off like that, but once the poor condition was discovered and the decision was made to replace everything, the recip saw came out. It's amazing how much faster that made things!

                  I hope this helps,

                  CWS

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