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remodelinghouse 04-06-2011 12:43 PM

hardwood steps???
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I am in the process of installing hardwood steps in my house. I did the first three and thought they looked pretty good. The temp outside was 80, so i turned the furnace off. Unfortunately, I went out of town without turning it back on. As a result, I came home to this today (please see attached picture):

I did not face nail the front of the steps as I was hoping the liquid nails glue and nails under the risers would be enough. (I see that is a big mistake now). I have turned the heat back on, do you think the steps will level back out?

Is there any way to fix this?

If they do flatten back down, I will face nail the front of them. How many nails do you all recommend?

Will face nailing them prevent this from happening in the future? I did a lot of research online and didn't find anything saying I needed to lay a vapor barrier or anything under the hardwood before putting them on. Do I need to do this??

Any advice and insight would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks in advance.

joecaption 04-07-2011 04:44 AM

It looks like your trying to use real soild hardwood not the real stair treads you should be using.
If you go to Lowes or HD and look at there stair treads there laminiated, not one soild piece so they do not curl up.
And no trying to just renail it down will not work, more likly the board will split along it's length.

remodelinghouse 04-07-2011 05:37 AM

Thanks for the reply.

I know they do make laminate ones, but a lot of people use hardwood ones. I prefer to use the hardwood ones because I don't want to use laminate on the steps and then hardwood through the rest of the house.

These were made from a dealer in my area that uses them all the time. I just dont understand why they curled up like that.

inspectorD 04-07-2011 06:02 AM

Usually moisture, and heat /cold changes.
If your basement is damp, they will curl because you did not treat all sides.
Seal all cuts when you build these stairs, and the rate of curling goes down. Also deal with the moisture with a dehumidifier in the basement.:2cents:

remodelinghouse 04-07-2011 12:54 PM

Thanks for the insight. It's a split level house. Do you think i'll be able to use these existing ones? I can push it down, so just wondering if face nailing will solve the issue. Obv. I will not let the temp get that low again (I believe it was around 55 degrees when I got home from being away for a couple of days--and I know the temp got really low at night--in the 30's).

nealtw 04-07-2011 05:52 PM

Cold will not make things warp, You have moisture a problem either the house or the wood you are using as inspector pointed out. Joe was not talking about lam flooring, he was talking about real wood that is glued together to get the width, but these will warp also. As was suggest you need to seal each board on six sides before installing.

remodelinghouse 04-07-2011 05:54 PM

I think I know what the problem is. I think the liquid nails is what caused the issue. I know I put more under the one that warped the most. (the step right below this one didn't warp at all) I'm going to go get pl 400 and use that.

BTW, my stair treads are real wood that are glued together (I can see the variation in the grain and actual planks used).

Spencer 04-07-2011 11:32 PM

Solid Wood Stairs are not the problem. I do tons of work on 100 year old homes and they all have solid treads. Judging by the picture, yours are only 3/4" thick, they really should be 1" but that isn't the real problem anyway.

Moisture was the culprit, as has already been mentioned dehumidifier=good. I also recommend painting the bottoms of the treads. What happens is the bottom side is getting wet and it expands, the top, being relatively protected from moisture by the urethane stays relatively dry and does not expand causing the wood to warp.

Liquid nails is bad juju for stairs, or any flooring application for that matter. It fails when you don't want it to and won't fail when you need to take it apart (someone like me will curse you in 20-40 years when something needs to be fixed). Properly installed you can always get everything to stay together without liquid nails.

This link goes over the best practices of hardwood floor care.
How to take care of your wood floors - Saint Louis Wood Floors

joecaption 04-09-2011 07:21 PM

I always use a strip of 30 lb. tar paper or constrution adhesive to break the bond between the two pieces of wood so there's no future squecks.

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