Help me fix my stairs!

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Onion69420

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So i ripped the last of the carpet out of my house, the staircase.
Everywhere else in my home there was either hardwood floors or asbestos tile which I covered.
The staircase is unfinished construction grade wood. Its solid but its ugly and as u can see there are gaps between the wall and stair.
So what can I do?
The bottom of the stairs there is hardwood floor. The upstairs is done in pergo.
Should I just sand this wood and stain?
And how do I fill in the large gaps where the wood meets the walls? Foam filler sanded and painter?
Help!20210602_123357.jpg
 

joecaption

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How nice do you want it to look, and what's your budget?
 

Onion69420

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Well I'd like to do it myself, I'm thinking 1-2000, less is better. I'd like it to look good enough that if I had company I wouldbt be embarrassed plus I'm thinking of selling
 

joecaption

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Please back up and take another picture so we can see the whole staircase so we can see the whole thing including the hand rails if possible.
I looks like at one time there was a 2X skirt, and someone removed it.
There's just no way to fill in those notches in the treads and just stain them.
Just making a guess, the left hand stringer got attached directly to the studs, instead of what should have been done, which is adding a spacer behind it so the sheetrock and skirt could have been slid in before the treads and risers went in.
If it was mine from what I can see from that close up, I'd be getting rid of the old treads, removing the risers, likely moving that stinger over so I did not have to cut around every step, then adding a 1 X 12 skirt cut out around what looks like a return air vent.
Then use real hardwood treads.
At the top of the skirt I'd use base cap molding for less gaps.
 

Onion69420

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So basically u are saying to rip the entire staircase out? I've got no experience with stairs...the stringer is underneath the stairs isnt it?
 

Flyover

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Agreed we need another picture from further back where we can see the whole staircase.

The stringers are the long planks that go diagonally, with notches cut out for the risers and treads:


I am not as qualified as most other people here so take my advice with a big fat grain of salt, plus for all I know there are structural considerations I am not thinking about, but I am also a cheapskate DIYer so I might have an answer you like:

If this were my project I would sand down the treads and risers until that nasty-looking residue is gone and it's just pretty wood. Then I would stain it to match the rest of the hardwood flooring. Maybe apply a shiny protective coat of something or other, or maybe not...stairs are probably safer when they aren't shiny.

Then I would get an extra stringer, turn it upside down, paint it white (or a fun accent color!), and use it for a skirt to fill in those gaps near the wall. Make sure the stringer you buy is the correct thickness for that. And cut out for the vent, if that's what we're seeing in the picture.

Also, sand the long straight outside edge very smooth or maybe even rout it, particularly if that helps it match other trim in your house.

I'll bet the stringer and the stain comes to well under a hundred, maybe a tad over a hundred if you rent a floor sander or something. If it costs you more than a few hundred bucks I'd be very surprised.
 

joecaption

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I'd take flyovers advice with a salt block, not a grain, for many reasons sorry flyover.
There's no way your going to be able to find a precut unpressure treated stinger.
Trying to stain pine will just give you a blotchy finish.
There would be 0 reason to rent anything!
A simple, cheap, random orbital sander could do 99% of it if I was going to try and cheap out and still have it looking like poop.
 

bud16415

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I’m far from a pro and understand the desire to make something look better without reinventing the wheel if possible.



I would look for something pre-made or custom-made in a thin tread with a nose that would cover the treads that are there.



Do a search on laminate stair treads for inspiration.



You could have something made for the treads to match the hardwood and then paint the risers white or trim out the risers with thin new wood to be stained or painted.

Basically build everything out a small amount and only change the rise a slight amount as to not cause a problem with the first step.
 

cdestuck

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First off let’s address the notches. I would cut out 2x material to fit into that notch and then pre-drill, glue and screw those into the tread to fill in the void. For the riser I would get quarter inch plywood and cut to size And glue and tack that in place. Paint that to a color of your choice

take this picture to a good flooring store and have him figure you up material to cover the treads of the stairs with Pergo material. They make a special piece that will be the bull nose or front edge of the tread. Take your time and this will come out great
 

mabloodhound

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I've done many stairs over the years. Your's were designed for carpet to be installed over them. It's not a simple matter of putting new treads on top as it would change the rise of the 1st and last tread which is unacceptable. Further, that existing nose (hangover) would have to be removed.
If it were mine, I would take out the old treads and replace with oak or hardwood. Install the skirts beforehand and make sure the new treads are butted up tight. There are jigs that allow you to calculate the length and any slight angle at the ends to cut. This is a specialized trade but you can learn how to do it.
 

Steve123

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The notches can be filled, but stain is never going to look right on those stairs, and paint won't look good, or wear well either. But if paint is where your budget is, then you do what you can do.

But it is code, and very important that the rise on all steps be equal. As mabloodhound pointed out, you can get into trouble. First thing to do is check the rise of all the steps, paying particular attention to the first and last step, just to see where you are.

And a photo of the whole thing would help.
 

Sparky617

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We had our carpeted stairs replaced with oak treads when we added to the existing oak flooring in our house. We had the professionals do it. They had a cool jig that they used to measure each step and transfer it to the new tread. The jig had four adjustable sides that they could align with each wall to set the angle and length. They had a couple of them and the guy on the stair would set it up on one step hand to his helper who would go out and cut the tread while he used the second to set the next step, repeat as needed, very slick and very fast.

As a DIY project you're looking at $30 or more per tread. At my house I have a 1x12 skirt board going down the stairs covering the ends of the treads. It was there with the carpet and wasn't touched in the process of replacing the tread. The risers are luan plywood that are painted white. One problem with the white risers is they show a lot of scuffs from shoes and the vacuum cleaner head.

 

Onion69420

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Just an update:
I've started cutting of the existing nose on the treads. I found some oak treads with a bullnose that are 5/8" thick to go over the existing treads.
The problems I'm having is that the existing risers arent level or straight nor are the existing hangovers; one side might be 1/4" the other side 1/2" hanging over. I try and cut them off straight but then since the riser isnt straight there is always a bit of an uneven lip.
So I guess my question is: how am I going to make sure the new treads go on square? Just eyeball it?,
This house is 80 years old and nothing lines up with anything else.
Also the stair treads say to glue down with a urethane adhesive. Do I need to weight them down, should I add nails, or will the urethane do enough of a job on its own?20210623_170119.jpg
 

Onion69420

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Also it's a huge PITA cutting those overhangs off, the circular saw only gets within a couple inches of the walls so I'm having to use a handsaw, it's taking about 30 minutes per step
 

Steve123

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Also the stair treads say to glue down with a urethane adhesive. Do I need to weight them down, should I add nails, or will the urethane do enough of a job on its own?
What do the instructions on the adhesive say?
Probably it says "clamp for 24 hours".
 

Sparky617

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Putting a new layer on top will affect your rise height on the bottom and top steps and will likely create a tripping hazard.
 

Onion69420

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Yea I've thought of that, and it was a concern I had. However I've realized that the riser on the last step at the top is already higher than the other steps anyway, by about 2 inches, so this wont change anything
 

Sparky617

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Yea I've thought of that, and it was a concern I had. However I've realized that the riser on the last step at the top is already higher than the other steps anyway, by about 2 inches, so this wont change anything
That would never pass code today. Adding a layer on top will actually shorten the difference on the top step. It will also increase the riser height on the bottom step.
 

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