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Author: Subject: Replacing Steps on Open stairs with Redwood Treads
John Harper
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[*] posted on 9-6-2021 at 12:00 PM
Replacing Steps on Open stairs with Redwood Treads


I've got open stairs, indoor, with carpet surrounding the treads, which are 2" x 12" x 36" each. With carpet, they are approximately 3" thick, with the treads being 1.75" nominal for a 2 x 12 (1.75" x 11 1/14") Just crappy Douglas fir as original treads, with tack strips, etc. Fugly, fugly, fugly.

Looking at getting some 4 x 12 redwood milled down so we can replace with finished wood (I hate carpet!!!!!). I'm just wondering if I should have it milled to 2.75" since it looks like the treads sit into/on metal hangers (w/ lag screws on bottom), and the carpet on the bottom of the stairs sits below and covers the lags. So, going with 3" thick redwood may be a bit higher for the first step than if I went with 2.5" or 2.75"

My original thought was just go with 2.5" thick, but having second thoughts since once it's milled, it's done. I hope someone with some stair building experience at their Baja places or elsewhere can help. Any advice, even on using redwood, is welcome. No money spent yet, just doing some hard research now. I just thought redwood would look good.

Here's what I'm sick of, I fricking hate carpet!!!! The sooner it dies, the better as far as I'm concerned.


John

[Edited on 9-6-2021 by John Harper]
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[*] posted on 9-6-2021 at 12:36 PM


Quote: Originally posted by John Harper  
I've got open stairs, indoor, with carpet surrounding the treads, which are 2" x 12" x 36" each. With carpet, they are approximately 3" thick, with the treads being 1.75" nominal for a 2 x 12 (1.75" x 11 1/14") Just crappy Douglas fir as original treads, with tack strips, etc. Fugly, fugly, fugly.

Looking at getting some 4 x 12 redwood milled down so we can replace with finished wood (I hate carpet!!!!!). I'm just wondering if I should have it milled to 2.75" since it looks like the treads sit into/on metal hangers (w/ lag screws on bottom), and the carpet on the bottom of the stairs sits below and covers the lags. So, going with 3" thick redwood may be a bit higher for the first step than if I went with 2.5" or 2.75"

My original thought was just go with 2.5" thick, but having second thoughts since once it's milled, it's done. I hope someone with some stair building experience at their Baja places or elsewhere can help. Any advice, even on using redwood, is welcome. No money spent yet, just doing some hard research now. I just thought redwood would look good.

Here's what I'm sick of, I fricking hate carpet!!!! The sooner it dies, the better as far as I'm concerned.


John

[Edited on 9-6-2021 by John Harper]


I would use polyurethane-finished oak, or similar hardwood to match the hardwood flooring I see in your photo.
Redwood is too soft for stair treads.
There are pre-finished stair tread hardwood boards available in flooring stores in USA, perhaps available in Mexico too.




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[*] posted on 9-6-2021 at 01:30 PM


Have carpeting on stairs but oak under it. I wear socks inside and slipped once. Didn’t want my Lab slipping .

Rather look at fir than that crappy carpet.




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[*] posted on 9-6-2021 at 01:53 PM


Our housekeeper said truck tires make better stairs. Don't forget the rebar either.

Oh this is a regular home, carry on




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John Harper
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[*] posted on 9-6-2021 at 02:25 PM


Quote: Originally posted by mtgoat666  
Quote: Originally posted by John Harper  
I've got open stairs, indoor, with carpet surrounding the treads, which are 2" x 12" x 36" each. With carpet, they are approximately 3" thick, with the treads being 1.75" nominal for a 2 x 12 (1.75" x 11 1/14") Just crappy Douglas fir as original treads, with tack strips, etc. Fugly, fugly, fugly.

Looking at getting some 4 x 12 redwood milled down so we can replace with finished wood (I hate carpet!!!!!). I'm just wondering if I should have it milled to 2.75" since it looks like the treads sit into/on metal hangers (w/ lag screws on bottom), and the carpet on the bottom of the stairs sits below and covers the lags. So, going with 3" thick redwood may be a bit higher for the first step than if I went with 2.5" or 2.75"

My original thought was just go with 2.5" thick, but having second thoughts since once it's milled, it's done. I hope someone with some stair building experience at their Baja places or elsewhere can help. Any advice, even on using redwood, is welcome. No money spent yet, just doing some hard research now. I just thought redwood would look good.

Here's what I'm sick of, I fricking hate carpet!!!! The sooner it dies, the better as far as I'm concerned.


John

[Edited on 9-6-2021 by John Harper]


I would use polyurethane-finished oak, or similar hardwood to match the hardwood flooring I see in your photo.
Redwood is too soft for stair treads.
There are pre-finished stair tread hardwood boards available in flooring stores in USA, perhaps available in Mexico too.


I thought redwood may be too soft. Thanks, I'll try a flooring outlet.

John
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[*] posted on 9-6-2021 at 02:32 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Lee  
Have carpeting on stairs but oak under it. I wear socks inside and slipped once. Didn’t want my Lab slipping .

Rather look at fir than that crappy carpet.


The slip factor is an issue, especially for us old farts.

I'm letting the carpet die, detest that chit.

John

[Edited on 9-6-2021 by John Harper]
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[*] posted on 9-6-2021 at 02:59 PM


Well, it looks like pre-made "floating stair treads" are at least $3-400 a piece and I need 11. That's the low end pricing. That's 3-4 times the cost of using redwood and having it milled for about $1000.

Now, I'm not going to live forever, maybe 30 years more. How fast would the redwood wear, provided we give it a good urethane finish?

That's been my conundrum, hate carpet, but spending $4000 on stairs that only a couple people use seems ridiculous.

I guess I can always do it again if the redwood doesn't pan out.

John

[Edited on 9-6-2021 by John Harper]
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[*] posted on 9-6-2021 at 03:30 PM


Redwood is quite soft. I wouldn't recommend it for heavy traffic, boots, or pet's toenails.
Douglas fir, while a "softwood" is rather hard/dense.

One option is to remove the carpet on one step, or experiment on another used/seasoned Doug fir 2"x4". Try a couple colors of oil based transparent penetrating stain finishes and coat with polyurethane. If you like the results, you could do all of the stairs. For best results, fill any nail hole with matching wood filler, use a router to bullnose the leading edge of each step, and give a light sanding.

The wood is very stiff and strong for its weight, and is also among the hardest and heaviest softwoods commercially available in North America.
https://www.wood-database.com/douglas-fir/
Common Name(s): Douglas-Fir
Scientific Name: Pseudotsuga menziesii
Distribution: Western North America
Tree Size: 200-250 ft (60-75 m) tall, 5-6 ft (1.5-2 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 32 lbs/ft3 (510 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .45, .51
Janka Hardness: 620 lbf (2,760 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 12,500 lbf/in2 (86.2 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 1,765,000 lbf/in2 (12.17 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 6,950 lbf/in2 (47.9 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 4.5%, Tangential: 7.3%, Volumetric: 11.6%, T/R Ratio: 1.6
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[*] posted on 9-6-2021 at 03:59 PM


Quote: Originally posted by John Harper  
...How fast would the redwood wear, provided we give it a good urethane finish?...

If this helps: My in-laws built a house on the coast of Northern California with an intermittently used interior staircase of redwood. The urethane finish held up well for decades; still looks beautiful. It should be noted that it was top quality heartwood, back when that was available. Elderly couple, no dogs or kids, and not a high traffic path in the house. He was a woodworker and furniture re-finisher, so I can only guess that he had several coats of urethane, properly applied.

Btw, good luck finding clear heartwood redwood. Most of the redwood I see these days is mostly blonde, lacking the tannins. And with knots because it is from younger trees. Termites ignore the menu label that reads "Redwood" and eat it for dinner, jajaja.

Are you aware of stair "retreads" to cap your existing Doug fir steps? Comes with a bullnosed edge Much less expensive than replacing with solid hardwood or redwood.
https://hardwood-lumber.com/stair-parts/wood-stair-treads/
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[*] posted on 9-6-2021 at 04:29 PM


Maderita,

Yes, I've thought about putting some kind of veneer over the Doug Fir. Now that I realize I should use thicker wood treads after the carpet gone makes me wonder if that might be another possible solution. Adding another 1/2"-3/4" to the top of the Doug Fir might do it, with a bullnose or flat front.

The only treads that would need to be 100% wrapped would be the upper flight, where the bottom is visible.

Frankly, I keep returning to this project and then putting it off, because I still think a better solution is out there. In fact, been stalling on this for about 10 years, as the existing carpet can attest.:o

I'm very conservative about making decisions until I'm satisfied I have all possible solutions considered. Obviously, more research is needed.

Thank you!

John

[Edited on 9-6-2021 by John Harper]
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[*] posted on 9-6-2021 at 04:36 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Maderita  
Redwood is quite soft. I wouldn't recommend it for heavy traffic, boots, or pet's toenails.


None of those factors apply at my house. Stairs used maybe 4-6 times a day most the time. Thanks for the advice, glad I posted the question.

John

[Edited on 9-6-2021 by John Harper]
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[*] posted on 9-6-2021 at 07:55 PM


I would just go over the existing wood with something you like, you can glue and nail it down, much less work. As you said the carpet is probably going to be close in thickness. The solid threads could always be routed into the brackets if they were to thick. Another option might be some kind of metal replacement, with the price of wood it might not be much more? You could probably even pour some concrete with a metal plate for strength?
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[*] posted on 9-6-2021 at 09:33 PM


Quote: Originally posted by John Harper  
Well, it looks like pre-made "floating stair treads" are at least $3-400 a piece and I need 11. That's the low end pricing. That's 3-4 times the cost of using redwood and having it milled for about $1000.

Now, I'm not going to live forever, maybe 30 years more. How fast would the redwood wear, provided we give it a good urethane finish?

That's been my conundrum, hate carpet, but spending $4000 on stairs that only a couple people use seems ridiculous.

I guess I can always do it again if the redwood doesn't pan out.

John

[Edited on 9-6-2021 by John Harper]


Here are Stair treads $29 each

https://hardwood-lumber.com/red-oak-retro-fit-stair-tread/?s...

You are in Mexico, find a craftsman that does nice woodwork/wood flooring, and it will be a lot cheaper than $4,000


[Edited on 9-7-2021 by mtgoat666]




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[*] posted on 9-7-2021 at 04:35 AM


Quote: Originally posted by mtgoat666  
Quote: Originally posted by John Harper  
Well, it looks like pre-made "floating stair treads" are at least $3-400 a piece and I need 11. That's the low end pricing. That's 3-4 times the cost of using redwood and having it milled for about $1000.

Now, I'm not going to live forever, maybe 30 years more. How fast would the redwood wear, provided we give it a good urethane finish?

That's been my conundrum, hate carpet, but spending $4000 on stairs that only a couple people use seems ridiculous.

I guess I can always do it again if the redwood doesn't pan out.

John

[Edited on 9-6-2021 by John Harper]


Here are Stair treads $29 each

https://hardwood-lumber.com/red-oak-retro-fit-stair-tread/?s...

You are in Mexico, find a craftsman that does nice woodwork/wood flooring, and it will be a lot cheaper than $4,000


[Edited on 9-7-2021 by mtgoat666]


Actually, it's for my place in the US. Thanks, I looked at the full treads from the same supplier. I'll take a look!

I'm still not clear on how that's going to cover the existing 2x12 treads, especially the bottoms of the upper flight. I does not look like they are designed for a "floating tread" staircase. I think I'll try to call them.

I have no problem doing this myself. I got a buddy who's good, too.

John


[Edited on 9-7-2021 by John Harper]
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[*] posted on 9-7-2021 at 07:03 AM


before you invest ANY money in this stairway you should go look at a NEW house and see what kind of stairs they use...it is 2021

your stairs are "brady bunch 1970"
they are dangerous as they are open...kids could fall thru
maybe illegal dangerous

the money you invest should increase the value of your house




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[*] posted on 9-7-2021 at 07:14 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Bob and Susan  
before you invest ANY money in this stairway you should go look at a NEW house and see what kind of stairs they use...it is 2021

your stairs are "brady bunch 1970"
they are dangerous as they are open...kids could fall thru
maybe illegal dangerous

the money you invest should increase the value of your house


Susan,
There you go again!




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[*] posted on 9-7-2021 at 10:28 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Bob and Susan  
before you invest ANY money in this stairway you should go look at a NEW house and see what kind of stairs they use...it is 2021

your stairs are "brady bunch 1970"
they are dangerous as they are open...kids could fall thru
maybe illegal dangerous

the money you invest should increase the value of your house


There's lots of floor plans just like mine in our development, have not heard of anyone having issues about the stairs.

Use to have carpet downstairs, but I yanked that crap and tiled it and put some wood down. Just working my way upstairs now.

There's a reason I keep delaying this project, and revisiting, and delaying.

John

[Edited on 9-7-2021 by John Harper]
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[*] posted on 9-7-2021 at 10:43 AM


Have you thought about tile or stone? I have stairs like yours. We used 4x12s and covered with saltillos, the same as most of the house. The bottoms and backsides are covered with 1x4, and 1/4x12 fir to match the 4x12s on each side. All stained the same.
No steel brackets to see. 22 years and counting, no wear, no problems.


edit
I would post photos but it is more trouble than it is worth.

[Edited on 9-7-2021 by msteve1014]
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[*] posted on 9-7-2021 at 11:13 AM


Well, the retrofit treads are not designed for the stairs I have, and the Hardwood Lumber reps seemed pretty clueless. Looks like I'm gonna try the redwood treads, or maybe see if I can get some Doug Fir milled and just stain/seal that.

John
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[*] posted on 9-7-2021 at 11:16 AM


Quote: Originally posted by msteve1014  
Have you thought about tile or stone? I have stairs like yours. We used 4x12s and covered with saltillos, the same as most of the house. The bottoms and backsides are covered with 1x4, and 1/4x12 fir to match the 4x12s on each side. All stained the same.
No steel brackets to see. 22 years and counting, no wear, no problems.


edit
I would post photos but it is more trouble than it is worth.


I'm trying to stay with a wood motif to blend with planned upstairs wood flooring. Trying not to make this so complicated.

John
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