Can we put oak veneer on our stairs?

Q: We just removed the carpet from our stairs and are in the process of staining the pine treads to try to match the oak railing and spindles. It doesn’t match. Can we put oak veneer on our stairs? Will it be hard to curve the veneer around the tread? We are also installing a carpet runner once we are done.

A: It doesn’t surprise me that the color doesn’t match when you are dealing with 2 different species of wood. Oak veneer is not the way to go on steps. If you really want to match the handrail you could always have oak slabs installed on top of the pine treads. All the existing tread overhang would have to be cut back flush with the riser below it.

You could put a veneer on the risers. If you have spindles installed on one or both sides of the existing treads, the entire assembly would have to be taken apart, cut down and re-fitted afterward.

Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors: I have purchased a new construction townhouse and the stairs are plywood and will be covered in carpet. I was thinking of asking the builder not to install the carpet on the stairs, instead to put oak veneers on the stairs and stain the veneers and oak banister to match my hardwood floor. Maybe paint the balusters and risers.

A: I definitely would not install veneer on the treads! It won’t stand up. You would need a solid tread installed and veneer on the risers. If this is a winding staircase, you would be well advised to get a person who just does stairs because probably half of them would be pie-shaped, so are not bought “off the rack”. they would have to be specially made. Then the spindles and handrail would have to be dismantled and adjusted to fit on the new treads.

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