Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 20

Thread: Stair Treads

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Ames, IA
    Posts
    538

    Stair Treads

    I've been asked to make some stair treads for a daughter. Being ones available at the big box stores (oak or oak veneer) are too short in length, I'm exploring purchasing oak boards from which to make them to size. The oak boards will be finished to about 1" thick, 11" wide, about 36" long (+/-). My question is should I rip, alternate grain, and glue to avoid the treads from warping (regardless of the width of the oak boards)? If so, how wide should the strips be? The only way to fasten them to the stair risers to avoid fasteners showing is using constructive adhesive.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    57,328
    If these are going to be stain grade treads, I sure wouldn't want them assembled from strips. There's nothing wrong with using wide lumber. If it's property dried, it's going to be reasonably stable and for this application, stair treads are held in place pretty securely because they must be.

    I would also suggest trying to find a way to get to them from below for assembly so you can at least use pocket screws in addition to that adhesive.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    I would also use wide boards and not glue up.

    If you select the grain with some care and intention and use some boards with mostly rift sawn grain, then cutting plugs that basically disappear is possible and you can face screw it from the top side with a oversized pilot hole and countersink.

    Using rift sawn grain will also mitigate expansion and contraction / seasonal movement and result in a more stable tread that will remain flatter and quieter over time.

    I think I would prefer to have screws in slightly oversized holes holding it all down compared to relying on construction adhesive on something that is going to move somewhat. The adhesive is going to try to inhibit seasonal movement, maybe a bit too much and if/when it breaks loose over time then you will have a loose stair tread and a problem to deal with on finished stairs.
    Still waters run deep.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    2,331
    Quote Originally Posted by BOB OLINGER View Post
    ...Being ones available at the big box stores (oak or oak veneer) are too short in length... The oak boards will be finished to about 1" thick, 11" wide, about 36" long (+/-)...
    Home Depot shows 1 x 11.5 x 48 oak treads in both red and white oak. I've seen them in my local store. Are you sure you can't order them if they are not in stock?

    Link.
    Last edited by Brian Tymchak; 06-07-2021 at 9:49 AM. Reason: Added link
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Exeter, CA
    Posts
    521
    I bought some stair treads at Lowes, red oak, finished, glued up from strips, same dimensions as you are looking for at Lowes. The ones I picked were dead flat. Used for a new top for my old Delta radial arm saw, where the top has to be dead flat.... They were reasonable at the time but that was a couple of years ago and with the price of lumber these days......... I couldn't have made them for what I bought them for... Randy
    Randy Cox
    Lt Colonel, USAF (ret.)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Elyria, Ohio
    Posts
    24
    I just used red oak treads from HD to build a set of housed stringer stairs. They're available in 36" & 48" lengths. They are built with basically stave-core construction and very thick veneer. They were dead flat and I'd expect them to stay that way. I go with those again over solid lumber. Just my .02.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Oskaloosa Iowa
    Posts
    195
    My stair tread project from a 1 1/2 yrs ago. I bought my treads from Menards. They are solid wood. It took me a few trips to get enough Good ones with the color and grain I wanted. I prefinished them and then cut them to size. Used both adhesive and screws. I added 2x4s to the sides and stingers for some thing solid to fasten to and filled the finish screw heads with colored putty. On some of them can't even find the holes. I haven't had any trouble at all with them.
    stairs 1.jpgstairs 2.jpg

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Posts
    5,777
    I always went to extra effort to avoid glued up treads. These were 27 years old, a few years ago, when I took this picture.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #9
    Depends on the job. On a couple of multi-million jobs company bought the best white oak they could get. Then we ripped off any flat grain
    and set it aside for for more humble use. All glue ups were matched so that it was difficult to see that they were not one piece. Boss told me
    the buyer’s wife was insistent that they be the best and that she cried tears of joy when she saw my “Frankentreads”. That house was 5
    million in 1980. One thing we did on all stair jobs was put the best stuff toward the lower part of the run. “That’s where the clients judge
    stairs, time they get half-way up they are tired of look’in at ‘em “.

  10. #10
    If you are not routing out the string boards to receive the treads and risers ,then I would nail thru string boards ,then put glue blocks under the tread ends and behind the risers. We always used dado set to plow out the treads to receive the risers. Glue blocks all the way across
    after assembly. We usually bought 5/4 oak for treads that we made, basement stairs and such we would usually use factory treads or any
    that we had rejected for main stair. Your nailed on stringer would get covered by a better piece of wood. I think you are gonna need 5/4
    wood,and if you do buy that ....then I would make treads 1and 1/8th thick.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Mel Fulks View Post
    If you are not routing out the string boards to receive the treads and risers ,then I would nail thru string boards ,then put glue blocks under the tread ends and behind the risers. We always used dado set to plow out the treads to receive the risers. Glue blocks all the way across
    after assembly. We usually bought 5/4 oak for treads that we made, basement stairs and such we would usually use factory treads or any
    that we had rejected for main stair. Your nailed on stringer would get covered by a better piece of wood. I think you are gonna need 5/4
    wood,and if you do buy that ....then I would make treads 1and 1/8th thick.
    +1 with Mel

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    7,465
    I'm with those who said to buy veneered stave core treads. They do come in 48" lengths. We all talk about how you have to allow wood to expand/contract with the seasons, then seem to disregard it when it comes to stair treads. A 12" solid piece of quarter sawn white oak is going to expand more than 1/8" seasonally, twice that if it's plain sawn. Of course you can use solid wood treads, but don't glue it down; you have to allow it to move because it will.

    John
    Last edited by John TenEyck; 06-08-2021 at 1:24 PM.

  13. #13
    Many of us have seen old stair treads worn down by feet , there is something charming about it. But seeing that the treads are
    movie prop stuff is jolting. I’m thinking that idea might have come from a guy who made his own paper-mache and tin-foil hard hat !
    But for a carpeted stair ,I guess it’s okay.

  14. #14
    I redid one of my two stair cases several years ago. I buy trim in 16 and 17 feet lengths from a local lumber yard. I asked them about stair treads and they had them in various lengths and with and without the nosing molded on the outside edges if I wanted it (for open steps). They were also cheaper than other sources and they had them in stock. They are laminated of several pieces. Look fine to me.

    I made 3 stringers for the staircase and I fastened the treads to the stringers with construction adhesive only when the tread would lay flat on the stringer and I added trim head screws through the tread when it wanted to rock. I later plugged the little holes for the screws with color matched wax. I also dado'd the risers and had little 1/4 inch wide pieces on the back of each tread to fit into these dados. That also helps secure the tread. The risers are painted softwood, screwed to the stringers with the screw holes plugged.

    I could have had access from below if I had built in a different order but I wanted a coat closet under the staircase and I put up the drywall on the underside of the stringers before putting the treads on the staircase. So I did not have access.

    The stairs and the coat closet are both working well. I rebuilt it because it did not have a single code compliant step on it. All the rises were too big and one was over 11 inches! Runs were also wide, like 14 inches, so I had room to put in a compliant staircase with consistent rises.

    Jim

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    1,807
    Perfinish in the most extravagant way you can. Allow at least a week for many coats and full cure.

    The riser is a critical part of the tread above it. It should be loose from the one below so that one can move at the back.

Posting Permissions

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