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Thread: Re-facing curved stairs

  1. #1
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    Default Re-facing curved stairs

    I know there are a few threads on this topic but I am contemplating re-facing my carpeted stairs with oak. I have a good idea on how I will do this. The first 6 stairs go straight up so the threads are square. The remaining 7 stairs curve to the right so the threads are curved on the left side. Is there a jig I can make so I have match the curved side with the thread?

  2. #2
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    Steve Morris

    Default Re: Re-facing curved stairs

    i just finished a carpetted staircase with oak hardwood flooring, this was actually winders with no stringers

    are the stringers exposed and are they to covered with oak? id suggest 1/4 oak plywood with a top trim piece

    what are you covering the treads with? oak flooring with a nosing or a solid tread

    a couple of pics would help!!

    ive covered them all!! some cases (punny i know!!)are easier than others
    my shop is a beaver lodge
    steve, sarnia, ont

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Re-facing curved stairs

    Attached are some pictures of the stairs. I am assuming this is red oak with a clear coat?? I was planning on using solid oak with a nosing
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Re-facing curved stairs

    so you have an open stringer and a closed stringer, but both are finished in red oak

    so you have to cover the risers which a re simple rectangles and the treads which are not

    you will have to strip off the carpet/underpad and remove the spindles then evaluate what you have

    chances are pretty good the treads are solid softwood

    they will have to be cut back flush with the riser and open stringer(right side facing up the stairs) this cut doesnt have to be pretty, just reasonably structuarally sound, a sawzall works well enough

    then your new nosing material has to wrap around each tread with three pieces, front, side and a small mitered return) then fill in the tread area with flooring material, each piece of flooring may have to scribed or mitered carefully to fit the inside curve

    nails and PL premium will hold it securely

    then add riser material, 1/4 inch ply and cover the outside corners witha trim piece

    its a tough job, been there, done that, as a pro it would take me 3-4 days
    my shop is a beaver lodge
    steve, sarnia, ont

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Re-facing curved stairs

    Hi Ak,

    Replied to your PM before I saw this, so read both I guess.

    Are all the stairs going to be the same proportion? I can't really tell from the photo, but from logic, I would assume that they would be. I think code would require them to be as well in order to ensure proper cadence for the person using the stairs.

    If so, you will only need to make only template, then you can cut all of your treads the same. You will have to remove your handrail either way, so I would make a template.

    Cut the nosings off as Steve suggested. (This is the worst part of the job!)

    Next take a piece of 1/2" MDF slightly larger than what you estimate your stair tread to be (ie. add 1-2" around). Place the edge nearest the wall at the stringer and flush to the riser (finished riser) scribe the curve to the template. Cut the curve and temporarily tack to the tread. Cut to pieces of scrap to the width of overhang that you want for the front of the step and the side of the step. Hold the front piece in place under the tread template, and scribe your line. Repeat with the side piece. Remove the template and cut and clean the edges (straight edge and skilsaw or router with flush bit).

    This should give you a template for the stair tread - but make sure that you are measuring the tread with the finished riser in place. Otherwise your overhang could be off. You should also test the template on each stair to make sure that they are all consistently sized. If not, you may need to make multiple templates and cute each one.

    If you have to make multiple templates, make sure to number then (I'm sure you know this, but just wanted to remind you!). Also number the finished treads.

    Then glue up your stock and make solid stair treads. A little stain, poly, construction adhesive, some trim, and your done.

    Good luck.

    Max

    PS - Plan ahead for your hand rail. A change to the floor height could mean that your current handrail no longer meets code. Or are you planning on replacing the handrail, ballusters, etc.
    Last edited by Max In Sudbury; 05-14-2010 at 03:11 PM. Reason: Additional info.
    "Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils."

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Re-facing curved stairs

    max makes some good points espcially if you intend to make the treads one piece instead of from t&g flooring material

    imho, one thing to avoid is huge amounts of 1/4 round trim for a professional look to the finished job

    the back edge of each tread can be covered with 1/8 or 1/4 plywood, the biggest scribe job will be the left end wether its solid oak or t&g flooring

    ive done it both ways with no trim added and its tricky
    my shop is a beaver lodge
    steve, sarnia, ont

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Re-facing curved stairs

    Thanks for the feedback. I will measure the treads once I remove the carpet to see if the dimensions are the same. I was planning to use sold oak for the risers. I just assumed ply would not be a good route since the top layer is so thin.

    I have never taken a banister down. Will the top rail come apart in sections or would it be all in one piece? I assume I unscrew the top rail. Unscrew the metal strip from the top of the balusters. How are the balusters connected to the steps. Are my assumption? Any idea where I can get the book with stair and rail codes?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Re-facing curved stairs

    i would avoid disturbing the banister at all cost, the joints will be glued and held together with special bolts similar to countertop draw bolts, it will never go back the same way

    remove the spindles, they will be dowelled into the traed before the carpet and under cut the newel post to accomadate the new flooring, if you are using a solid tread you will have to remove the newel post somehow

    i did say it wasnt easy!!
    my shop is a beaver lodge
    steve, sarnia, ont

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Re-facing curved stairs

    Right now it seem removing the banister is the difficult part. Has anyone removed a banister before? I am not sure how I would remove and re-install the spindle without removing the rail.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Re-facing curved stairs

    Quote Originally Posted by akabek View Post
    Right now it seem removing the banister is the difficult part. Has anyone removed a banister before? I am not sure how I would remove and re-install the spindle without removing the rail.
    I don't usually have much trouble taking the bannister off. Don't touch the connections just take it off at the newels. I've seen a number of different ways of attaching spindles to rails. The most common are holes drilled into the rail or spindles screwed into a band of steel that's plowed into the top rail. Getting the spindles out of the top rail is usually fairly easy. The glue bond is often not great. Getting them out where they are dowelled into the stair is more difficult. The glue bond is stronger than wood and you always break a few off trying to get them out. I would almost count on buying new spindles then be pleasantly surprised if you don't need them.

    I've clad quite a few stairs in wood on commercial jobs where the stairs are either steel with concrete treads or concrete. I've never done it on a residential job but I've replaced quite a few. I would much prefer to make a new stair carriage rather than renovate an existing one. Speaking for myself it's much faster to build a stair in the shop than fit them on site and try to hide the fact that you did it that way with trim band aids. I also like to get my rises and runs consistent. I have jigs for fitting stair parts but I would charge just as much or less to build a new stair as I would to futz around with an old one and you would get a much better end product. It comes down to your expectations.

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