I would like to remove the carpeting from my stairs and install strip flooring over the existing stairs. I have put in strip flooring before but never on stairs. I have a few questions.
1. This house is about 15 years old and the stairs were originally carpeted. Am I likely to find that both the treads and risers are plywood? The existing "nosing" is just chiseled off, correct?
2. I assume it's not practical to use a flooring nailer. Are the strips normally fastened with a finish nailer and/or glue? Is this durable enough?
3. How about the nosing strip - should this be screwed and plugged? I may use unfinished strip but I know when prefinished is used they don't screw it so how do they get a good attachment on the nosing strip?
4. These stairs are located between walls (drywall). I'd like to put in a wall skirt on both sides. The critical part of the wall skirt would be getting a tight fit between the riser and the skirt. Seems to me this could be something of a challenge. I have run across the wheaton skirt gauge. Is this useful?
5. As far as getting a tight fit on the strips to wall skirt, should I use a tread gauge and dry fit all of the pieces for a given tread on the bench first? Or should I first scribe the end, then cut to fit existing piece (if piece is shorter than tread length)?
6. Should I work from the front of the tread back, ie. place the nosing first and then the strips, removing the bottom of the groove on the last piece? How to attach the last piece without face nailing?
7. I'd like to paint the risers white. If they are plywood I'll get some grain showing through the paint. Is this generally objectionable or should I put some type of veneer over it?