help finishing stairs and landings?

im at a dilemma.. hope someone can shed some light.

there are a set of stairs going from 1st to 2nd floor that were covered in carpet. its a newer construction (1995), and workmanship wasnt the highest of quality. plywood was used everywhere under all carpets. now, for floors, i plan on adding hardwood directly on top. thats straight forward. the problem is withthe stairs and 2 landings.

first – the treads are pine(?), with a lot of paint overspray, but i am sanding, then staining and polyeurethaning them, with white risers and ballisters. downside is that they are framed (dadoed?), so no exposed sides. this will have to stay for now, i cant afford to redo the entire staircase. i think once done, itll be a big improvement over the carpet.

the first landing is about 32"x32", and the 2nd is probably 8’x4′, both made of plywood.

here is my dilemma:
do i:
1. replace plywood with tongue and groove flooring? probably the smartest solution, assuming thickness matches up (3/4" i think), but the plywood runs under the walls. how do i lay the planks properly? just cut close to walls, hope they dont float, and put quarter rounds to cover edges?

2. since i will be installing either hardwood or laminate in the 2 bedrooms on the 2nd floor, do i continue with the hardwood onto the landing? this will look the most seamless, but will create a 3/8-1/2 inch higher step at the last step (the landing).

3. continue with the engineered floor plan, and just end the floor near the stair with a transition such as a ramp. i see this as a tripping hazard.

4. hardwood/laminate the stairs as well, so everything is raised and no noticeable trip hazards? this may solve my problem with #2, but wont allow me (my wife) to have white risers. heh.

i like #2 the best b/c it will allow the entire 2nd floor to flow best, without having stupid saddles for height transitions, but am worried that even 3/8" will be enough to throw people for a loop on the top 2 steps.

any ideas, comments, other suggestions? i really dont know which is the best solution.
I like option 1. Could you cut out the plywood flush with the existing skirt, and maybe replace, or just add a new skirt? You could add 1/4" lumber scribed to fit around the framing — do it so the top edge just looks like part of the skirt profile.

If the existing skirt is dadoed, you may need to add blocking, if this was overlooked by the original stairbuilder.

If you pick up an angle finder you should be able to eliminate any need for quarter-round, as long as your cuts are clean and layed out well. Stain-grade hides minor variance better than you’d think.

I like option 1. Could you cut out the plywood flush with the existing skirt, and maybe replace, or just add a new skirt? You could add 1/4" lumber scribed to fit around the framing — do it so the top edge just looks like part of the skirt profile.

If the existing skirt is dadoed, you may need to add blocking, if this was overlooked by the original stairbuilder.

If you pick up an angle finder you should be able to eliminate any need for quarter-round, as long as your cuts are clean and layed out well. Stain-grade hides minor variance better than you’d think.

thx for the reply..

the plywood is dadoed, and im sure its gonna turn into a huge job to block/frame the edging of each landing, but maybe ill rip out a section and look.
this is gonna be a bigger job than anticipated :/

thx for the reply..

the plywood is dadoed, and im sure its gonna turn into a huge job to block/frame the edging of each landing, but maybe ill rip out a section and look.
this is gonna be a bigger job than anticipated :/

I don’t envy you…stairs are always a pain in the ass, even from scratch.

Keep posting on the project Leo. Do you have any pics?
here are some pics as they are now..

Wow, that’s a chunk of work. My earlier post regards the stair treads and risers only then.

Ideally, hardwood floors are installed over a subfloor. Check the carpet height to see if you can just install the flooring right over the plywood…it would help to eliminate squeaking. your door trim and jambs you can flush cut with a jamb saw and tuck the flooring right underneath it. It looks like you will need a tack strip of some sort for the carpet edge at the door thresholds. Are there any rooms without carpet? If so, the height of that room’s floor may not jive with this plan.

Yea, the flooring can be butted right up to that base trim. Base shoe is pretty much a given with wood floors, so you have that 1/2" or so to fudge…it doesn’t have to be perfect. Newer homes here in MN are leaning towards shoe that matches the flooring rather than the painted trim.
ya, i think ive decided my route – hardwood over everything. makes the most sense, it will just be frustrating as it has to be done in phases. that carpet you see will eventually come out, no need to worry about the saddle for now, or just something to hold it in place. that was what is throughout house, so it will be an ongoing thing..

i have an idea of the color of hardwood i want,(dark, almost black cherry) i just dont think that ill be able to match the new treads that color (i want solid treads, not hw over them), so ill have to experiment a bit in that department, or spend the extra $ on a similar wood.

thx for the help.. ill be sure to post pics as the work continues.

Hardwood doesn’t run under the wall, you get up close to it and then cover the gap with trim.

Be careful when doing stairs, there is a reason carpenters charge up to $100/tread, if one of the heights is messed up people will constantly trip.

Yes you gave wrong information. Hardwood is not typically butted up to the trim unless it is a hackjob, the trim is pulled and then reinstalled after the flooring has been installed.

I answered his question, even 3/8" can throw people off.

I was licensed and bonded to install flooring in the state of California, what are your credentials again?

Yes you gave wrong information. Hardwood is not typically butted up to the trim unless it is a hackjob, the trim is pulled and then reinstalled after the flooring has been installed.

I answered his question, even 3/8" can throw people off.

I was licensed and bonded to install flooring in the state of California, what are your credentials again?

initially, i was talking about removing the plywood subfloor and resurfacing with tongue and groove. (see my original post). had i considered this option, i would have to butt the wood to the trim/wall, as well as get some additional bracing in b/t the joists to support the ends. this is what he was referring to i think..

thx for the help though!

Yes you gave wrong information. Hardwood is not typically butted up to the trim unless it is a hackjob, the trim is pulled and then reinstalled after the flooring has been installed.

I answered his question, even 3/8" can throw people off.

I was licensed and bonded to install flooring in the state of California, what are your credentials again?

I own a construction firm that specializes in high end finish work.

He is doing this project himself. Whether or not he pulls the trim is his choice.

I own a construction firm that specializes in high end finish work.

He is doing this project himself. Whether or not he pulls the trim is his choice.

My license number is 817973

And yours?

Nah, I misinterpreted option 1 and thought you were also considering the technique for the stair treads in relation to the dadoes in the stair skirt. There should be blocking under the edges of the treads, but this is often overlooked, leaving the dadoes to carry that much of the bearing.

That first response of mine was entirely about stairs, sorry

My license number is 817973

And yours?

Never mind. I’m done with you now, K?

Thought so.

I’m not putting any info here.

I could use a little help with what I’ve got going right now. If you want, I can ask one of the members here if he needs some work this week.

I’m not putting any info here.

I could use a little help with what I’ve got going right now. If you want, I can ask one of the members here if he needs some work this week.

You are so full of shit

Nah, I misinterpreted option 1 and thought you were also considering the technique for the stair treads in relation to the dadoes in the stair skirt. There should be blocking under the edges of the treads, but this is often overlooked, leaving the dadoes to carry that much of the bearing.

That first response of mine was entirely about stairs, sorry

the treads are blocked underneath (i can tell b/c basement stair construction is the same) with wedges.
cutting the dadoes (i already tested some) had no impact on stability, and no squeeks either!

as far as stairs, ill either replace with full treads if im confident i can get them to match the flooring closely, or use the flooring and bullnose edges from the same company for the stairs. (which i dont like as much, b/c lack of full tread).

ill also cover risers with thin sheeting to hide the old bullnose cuts, and paint that, most likely, white.

well, anyway, its almost all worked out in my head.. just a matter of financing now. heh.

if your in the tri-state ny area, ill help work

MN
update. came out nice.

i cut all the noses off original stairs. bought finished face plywood and tacked it to the risers, sealed and painted, hw on the treads..

before and after

looks awesome, Leo!

it didn’t occur to me recommend a tread jig. they aren’t cheap, but they give you the whole template, angles and dimensions, just by manipulating a few hinged straight-edges. it allows you fit and flush out your treads perfectly with the stair skirt, almost as seamlessly as dadoeing. yours turned out great without the jig, however.

how did you solve the floor heights at the bottom and the landing?
its all the same height at the end of the day, since im raising everything equally, all risers are 8.5".. right now the lower level has carpet, so its raised, but it will be replaced with hw, so there wont be a height change.