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Cap or replace stair treads/risers with hardwood after carpet removal

Mark S
2 years ago
last modified: 2 years ago

Hello, I'm hoping I can get some advice on how to convert my once carpeted stairs to red-oak hardwood to match the floors I am doing upstairs and down.

These stairs are likely 40 years old. They had carpet on them which I've removed along with the ridiculous amount of staples that once held the carpet.

My ultimate question is ... do I install treads / risers over these rough stairs, or do I remove the old and just replace them with what I want?

Following is a picture of the bottom of the stairs...

Next is a picture of the straight ...

Last is a closeup of the corner of tread/riser/stringer...

This last detail shot seems to indicate that the skirt board is installed over the tread. They all look the same and it's hard to tell.

What I fear is that I'm adding way to much work to this project if I hack off the skirt boards, treads, risers and start from scratch. I don't have the luxury of time on this project as I need the bedroom upstairs to be in use again. Also, I'm not experienced enough (at all, first staircase) to decide what is the best way to tackle this project from a ROI point of view.

Another thing I worry about, but don't know if I should even worry about it ... is if I just cap the treads / risers with ... well ... new treads and risers, the first step will be an inch taller than the rest and the last (top) step will be an inch shorter than the rest. Don't know if I'm overthinking this and don't know if I'm adding way more effort than need be.

I have a good tool/saw set. Only thing I'm really lacking is a thickness planer.

I live in Toronto so any products I am recommended have to be available here. Given my time crunch, I am reluctant to have anything shipped from the states in these "covid" times. I'm looking for a natural red-oak solution and will stain to match my "copper" red oak floors being installed.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.



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