Can I use flooring on the stairs, with matching stair nose pieces?

Q: I want to replace the carpeted areas in my house with hardwood floors to include the stairs. I would prefer not replacing the stairs at what I estimate would be around $100+ per tread/riser. Can I install hardwood flooring on stairs, with matching stair nose pieces?

A: Yes, you would need to cut off the overhang or lip on each existing stair tread so that it is cut back flush with each riser. You would then start at the bottom riser and work your way up. Install either hardwood or veneer on the bottom riser up to the top of the existing tread. Then glue and nail a nosing in place on the first step and fill in with hardwood to the next riser and so on.

Strips of hardwood for stair treads

Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors: When placing hardwood on stair treads, do they have to be 1″ thick or thicker? And do you use one plank of hardwood or could you use strips of hardwood for stair treads?

A: When asking about refacing stair treads, “Do they have to be 1″ thick?”, are you are referring to the existing thread, whether it be plywood or constrube plywood or construction grade pine, for example?

My general answer would be no. If your treads, for example, are plywood, they may be 3/4 thick, which is the typical thickness of a subfloor, over which hardwood and other floor coverings are applied. I have refaced a number of staircases.

Yes, you can use flooring of whatever size you like, whether 3/4 thick (which offers you a greater choice of width) or standard 3/8 X 1 3/4 strip. You can purchase slabs which usually are available in oak or maple, and I believe are 1 1/8 thick. In this scenario, you would use a veneer, either 1/8 or 1/4 on the risers. Otherwise, you would paint them.

If one was to reface with flooring, the procedure would be as follows. All the outer lips of the tread which overhang the riser (about 1 1/2″) would be cut back flush with the riser. You would start installing from the bottom riser, at floor level.

The last piece installed on the riser would be cut flush with the top of the tread. Then you would install a stair nosing on the first tread. Don’t forget to also use glue, not just nails. Fill in the tread up to the next riser. Then start your next riser, and so on. It is a time-consuming job.

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Hardwood on stairs

Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors: Is it a good idea to put hardwood on your stairs? Is it noisy? Would you recommend it or is carpet better?

A: It is fine to put hardwood on stairs, and I have done so a number of times. It should not be squeaking provided the underlying tread is sound. Also, not just nails, but adhesive must be used on at least the outer nosing. Having said all that, it still looks nicer, in my opinion, if you can install solid slabs rather than individual strips.

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