Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 17

Thread: Risers and treads

  1. #1

    Risers and treads

    Should the riser sit on top of the treads? I've seen it mentioned either way: sitting on top of the previous tread or install riser and push tread up to it. If either works what's the pros and cons and I'm considering for a closed stair.

  2. #2
    Around here a dado is cut on the risers ,and a 3/8 toung is cut on the treads with a shaper. They are made into two piece units held by coated nails. We always kept the nails about 8 inches from the ends. That was so that it something was
    off a little a mallet blow would knock the nose all the way into string boards.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Rice, VA
    Posts
    1,093
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Pembrook View Post
    Should the riser sit on top of the treads? I've seen it mentioned either way: sitting on top of the previous tread or install riser and push tread up to it. If either works what's the pros and cons and I'm considering for a closed stair.
    I always did the install riser and push tread up to it. I know nothing of routed units, we always built them in place, although pre-built units are about all that I see on the job. It's pretty rare here to see a site constructed interior stair. A stair jig is quite a plus on a closed stair and easy to make.
    *** "I have gained insights from many sources... experts, tradesman & novices.... no one has a monopoly on good ideas." Jim Dailey, SMC, Feb. 19, 2007
    *** "The best way to get better is to leave your ego in the parking lot."----Eddie Wood, 1994
    *** We discovered that he had been educated beyond his intelligence........
    *** Student of Rigonomics & Gizmology

    Waste Knot Woods
    Rice, VA

  4. #4
    Nothing wrong with build in place. For clarity ,I was making them in a shop. We had a thick and level beam on the floor
    and one directly above attached to shop roof framing. One string on the bottom beam, set the units in place, add other
    stringer . Sticks were wedged to keep all together while adding the glue coated wedges. Long time ago

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    NW Indiana
    Posts
    378
    Hey Chris - unless there are aesthetic reasons prohibiting it, I always install the risers first, and then the treads. That way I can attach the riser to the back of the tread and this makes a stronger stair. It could be a dado as Mel suggests or just some screws.
    Bill
    I'm not old. I've just been young for a very, very long time.

  6. #6
    I have always started at the bottom of the stairs and installed the riser first, then the tread and then the next riser to sit on top of the previous tread and so on. If you do it the opposite then the tread will have to be cut to exact fit against its riser perfectly. Not that this cant be done, but why bother??? If the riser sits on top of the tread on the bottom and the tread has the typical bull nose with a slight lip {like 1/8" or so} then you don't have to be so exact, the bull nose of the tread or a small piece of trim going across will cover the gap.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Rice, VA
    Posts
    1,093
    I think the shop made units, built correctly, are superior to a field unit. Dados, wedges, glue, etc. are a bit more problematic to install in the field. I would like to see/try it one time. I really enjoyed doing stairways.
    *** "I have gained insights from many sources... experts, tradesman & novices.... no one has a monopoly on good ideas." Jim Dailey, SMC, Feb. 19, 2007
    *** "The best way to get better is to leave your ego in the parking lot."----Eddie Wood, 1994
    *** We discovered that he had been educated beyond his intelligence........
    *** Student of Rigonomics & Gizmology

    Waste Knot Woods
    Rice, VA

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Concord, NC
    Posts
    2,241
    30 years in the stair business and I have never seen a riser sit on top of a tread.
    Richard

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Kamiah, ID
    Posts
    239
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Wolf View Post
    30 years in the stair business and I have never seen a riser sit on top of a tread.
    Sadly, I have. I think the "average" person wouldn't notice, although some might subliminally realize something isn't right. Same with crown molding installed upside down. Even sadder is when either mis-installation was installed by a so called professional.

    West coast construction, stairs are generally site built. Finished treads/risers installed over framer cut stringers which were generally awful. Takes a lot of shimming. I've always attached the riser to the back of the tread and installed both as a unit. Keeps the most visible joint nice and tight.

    I've always admired the closed (or housed is it?) stringer stairs. Used more on the east coast I think.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    426
    Hi Chris,

    i just built my first set of interior stairs. After much research, I put my risers behind each tread. If it makes a difference, it seems like the prefab treads are usually sized for this type of install. I built the stairs onsite and installed risers then treadsc as I worked my way up the stairs. I was always one riser ahead so I could screw and glue each riser into the back edge of the tread below. However, I would always cut and lay the tread above the riser in place to adjust the height of the riser below before lifting the upper tread out of the way to screw the the riser to the back of the tread below. I used a lot of glue and the stairs are rock solid. FWIW, dadoing the bottom of each tread to accept the riser below (with or without a rebate) sounds like a good idea. I may give that a try next time to help concele slight variations in the height of each step and lock everything together. All my risers are painted, so small gaps caused by slight variations were canceled with caulk and paint (although, I’m not even sure caulk was necessary as the gaps were tiny).

    Good luck!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Posts
    3,351
    I already had this picture stored here. These ( no spiders were harmed for taking the picture) are built on the job, with housed stringers, and no joined up boards, but then my houses had everything built on site, so not really typical. Picture was taken when they were 27 years old, and still look like that today. I've seen some of everything, working on old houses, but the good ones have the riser behind the tread.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Posts
    3,351
    The old ones are in a 1798 house, so everything had to be done by hand. Interesting that they didn't use wedges in the housings. Last picture flipped for some odd reason.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Tom M King; 03-10-2019 at 10:31 AM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Posts
    3,351
    As seen in those photos, it's easy to get perfect fits with housed stringers, but that possibility approaches zero without.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    NW Indiana
    Posts
    378
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Wolf View Post
    30 years in the stair business and I have never seen a riser sit on top of a tread.
    2nd that. except 40 years.
    Bill
    I'm not old. I've just been young for a very, very long time.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Huntington, Vermont
    Posts
    849
    For what it is worth, I was shown a practical method of building closed stairs in place using housed stringers and glued, wedged treads and risers which is quite flexible, adaptable to tapered openings and feasible by one person unaided. I believe it is what Andrew Nemeth described above. It is probably quite common, but coming from a cabinet shop perspective where everything that can be is assembled in the shop it was a new and very useful approach.

    The stringers are routed with tapered grooves allowing for 2 degree wedges below the treads and behind the risers. All the parts are cut oversize and prefinished. The stringers are scribed and secured, then the treads and risers are cut to fit and installed one by one from the bottom up. The first riser is cut just short of the distance from one stringer face to the bottom of the opposite housing so it can be slipped in without access from below. The treads can be dadoed to accept the risers if desired while the back of the tread butts to the riser face. Pocket screws secure the top of the risers to the treads and risers are face screwed through the bottom of the risers into the treads, with a minimal amount of construction adhesive.

    This is a pretty slick method that allows for doglegs and winders where a pre-assembled stair would be difficult or impossible to install, and a much cleaner result than fitting treads and risers between unhoused stringers over rough carriages.Miles stair 2.jpgReed shop stair.jpgMies stair 3.jpg

    The first and third photos are a winder I built for my son's house. The blue tape is the layout for a built-in bookcase. The second photo is of a shop stair built by the fellow who showed me how.

    To the original question, running the riser behind the tread makes the assembly stronger than hanging the tread below the riser. When the treads and risers are screwed and glue-blocked together as shown they make a series of interlocking beams that can be quite wide without needing support from a center stringer.
    Last edited by Kevin Jenness; 03-10-2019 at 5:55 PM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •