Q: I am covering my stairs, which have existing plywood treads with 3’1/4″ x 3/4″ unfinished Quartersawn Red Oak. My questions are – what is the best way to finish this wood? And would it be advantageous to glue up pieces of wood to make stair treads before nailing them down, almost like a tabletop?
I have the tools and equipment to do this and I assume it would give it more strength.
A: You will need to cut the overhang of each stair tread back so they are flush with the riser below it. I would then start at the bottom riser and, if you installing the hardwood on them also, nail each row from the floor to the top edge of the plywood tread. Install a 3/4 nosing. then install the oak from the edge of the nosing to the bottom of the next tread and so on. Glue and nails on the tongues. Sand smooth and finish with the product of your choice.
Glossy finishes tend to be less slippery than satin and semi. However, Basic Coatings has a waterborne, sports floor finish which allows no “slip” at all.