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blakelock 08-18-2009 06:35 AM

new stairs - finishing chipboard risers?
hey all,

we're in the process of having new hardwood stairs built. but my contractor decided to install OSB risers with yellow pine treads. this was absolutely not the plan. we should've had matching hardwood treads and risers.

so anyway, what are the finishing options for this type of plywood risers? can they even be painted? it seems that the texture would show right through the paint and look bad. are there thin pine sheets we could fasten on top of the OSB?


glennjanie 08-18-2009 11:46 AM

Welcome BlakeLock:
Man, you have been taken. If you haven't paid the guy yet, don't. He needs to tear the whole thing out and build is as you specified.
You are correct about the OSB, it will always show a pattern through and to top that off, yellow pine is notorious for peeling paint; it is almost impossible to keep painted.
Yes, you could buy a sheet of thin oak plywood to cover the risers but, then the treads would look awful. Its a tear out and replace.

blakelock 08-18-2009 12:22 PM

thanks for all the thoughts. i'm sure it would be better to fully replace the risers but i'm certain the contractor won't do that. the contractor actually had the stairs built by another company then just installed the entire prefabbed unit.

i'll let you know how it goes and give a FULL review of the company when all is said and done.


Nestor_Kelebay 08-19-2009 10:24 PM

I'm not a carpenter, but OSB just isn't a very strong material. It's OK as sheathing for
your roof or exterior walls, but it's not strong enough to make for a sturdy set of stairs.

I'm presuming these are TEMPORARY steps until the oak ones are built (?)

kwmainer 08-20-2009 11:21 AM

I'm with Nestor... get them to tear it out and rebuild. The contractor should have supplied the sub with the plans/requirements, or bought the correct hardwood stair unit in the first place.

Quality is an issue. But also so is durability and strength.


blakelock 08-20-2009 12:45 PM

so here're some more details. the contract is not very specific. it basically says:
"remove old stairs; frame and install new stairs. cost for pine = $2300; cost for oak = $2950."
of course we discussed very clearly choosing the best wood to match our hardwood floor and that i would do the staining/finishing. so it should've been clear that OSB was not acceptable. but this is not explicitly in the contract. my bad.:( since the contract does not directly say what portion of the stairs will be pine, i don't know if i have a strong enough claim in court.

we paid half the money up front. my inclination is to cut the contractor loose. i'll keep the 2nd half of the fee and finish the job myself. it's been like pulling teeth just to get them to come out and do the half-a$$ed job they've done so far. i doubt they'll ever do a good job.

p.s. they installed the stairs ~7" shifted from the old set. now there is a headroom problem too!!:eek:

inspectorD 08-20-2009 04:24 PM

Get another professional in there asap. They sound like a bunch of crooks. NOBODY uses osb or any particleboard for finished stair risers or treads.
get your money back and give them the stairs, minus a fee for their efforts, or contact your lawyer.
Good luck.

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