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TerryDM 06-21-2012 07:00 PM

How do I install hardwood on a step?
Hello everyone.

I'm going to be taking up carpet and putting down hardwood in our family room very soon. Although not having done it before, I'm fairly confident except for one thing. How do I install the wood on a two step drop down into the room? Unfortunately the wood is going to be installed perpendicular to the step so this my problem. Any suggestions?
Here is a photo to give you a look (I hope).

CallMeVilla 06-21-2012 07:13 PM

Installing the hardwood on the tread is easy. You will have to trim the edges with bullnose because the hardwood edge is ugly, yes? :0)

The risers look small. Have you considered ripping the hardwood so you can install it horizontally, not vertically? Would make more sense.

Actually, my instinct is to rebuild the stairs entirely. However, if the stair is cement, not wood, then you have larger issues.

Want to offer more details??

TerryDM 06-21-2012 07:33 PM

Sure, thanks for the reply.

Should have included the info earlier: It is just a wood/plywood step under the carpet. If rebuilding, would still work with a two-step entry or go to one larger step? I'm also concerned about the side of the step. I understand the bullnose to the "front" to cover the edge but won't I have to cover the edge on the sides too? Won't that look weird with the bullnose all the way around the edge of the step?
Maybe you've got a better idea and that's exactly why I'm here: better ideas.
Thanks much for helping out.

nealtw 06-21-2012 09:14 PM

If this was built for carpet, it might not be good enough for hardwood, so hauling it out and replacing it, is likely the best idea. As far as the open sides you would just cut the bull nose at 45 degree to wrap a 90 degree corner Like a picture frame on the top of the step. If the tile is staying, rebuilding the steps will allow you to set proper height to match the tile.

CallMeVilla 06-21-2012 11:19 PM

Yep, as usual, Nealtw and I think in parallel. :0)

Typical stair ergonomics use a 7" riser per step. Your picture looks like one of the risers is smaller than the other. You can demolish the existing then rebuild the stairs for rise and run, making sure to close the sides.

Next, you would want to install hardwood (3/4" T&G?) but you must have bullnose to trim the front of the steps. To finish the look, you "return" the step by cutting a 45 degree, creating a 90 degree corner. If you stay with the design as shown in the picture, the return will NOT be a 45 degree cut but (estimating) a 22.5 degree cut part of the step then another 22.5 degree cut to turn ths step into the wall.

Hope you have a nice miter saw with a new 60 tooth blade . . . great excuse to buy one now!

TerryDM 06-22-2012 12:22 AM

Great info! Thank you both so much! I was stuck in my thinking that I HAD to use the existing step! Ha! Sometimes it takes a fresh pair of eyes and fresh ideas. Guess that's why we're all here.

Thanks again!

CallMeVilla 06-22-2012 03:23 PM

Another tip . . . use this online riser-tread calculator to get the right ergonomics.

Using plywood as the underlayment is just fine. Just improve on the design and do a tongue nail or glue down to fasten the new wood. I prefer nailing and use glue to strengthen the bluunose (which is also nailed).

Have a great project!

nealtw 06-22-2012 03:29 PM

We use 1" plywood for stair treads.

TerryDM 06-22-2012 11:19 PM

Wow! More than I expected! Thanks you guys!

TerryDM 07-14-2012 10:03 PM

I just wanted to give you guys a follow up on this step.
I took your advice and ripped out the old steps. I built a new one with 2x8's and 3/4" plywood. I put A LOT of support inside the "box" since I was going to put hardwood on it. I took the pic with my phone (little fuzzy - sorry) before I finished it off so you guys could see it. I think it is turning out really well. Horizontal planks on the risers; bullnose on top picture framing the vertical planks which run with planks on the floor.

Thanks again for all the advice guys.

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