08:51AM | 02/18/03
Member Since: 02/17/03
1 lifetime posts
Hi, over the weekend I removed the carpet from my 13 stairs in my 2-story condo. I had to do some paint and laquer removal as well, but that's another story (almost done though - that "3M Safest" stuff is a pain...but relatively non-toxic). The boards underneath are pretty nice (nicer than expected), I think they're a soft wood (they yellowish and there are some visible knots). The condo was built in the mid 80's. There are some staple and nail holes I have the pleasure of filling over the course of this week as the stairs have had 2 messy carpet jobs on the them over the last 15 or so years. I'm planning to stain the treads and banister dark and paint the risers and bollisters (sp?) white. I have bought my stain and urethane to finish the job, but i have one question about finishing it.

The treads are not a "perfect" fit for the stairwell. On either side of the tread there may be up to a 1/8" gap between the tread and the wall. My question is, is this normal? Should I consider adding some trim strips on the tread and riser or something? Or will it look fine when it's stained and painted? The only weird part with the trim would be that from the front of the tread there will still be a small gap between the tread and the wall. I have no references to see what normal wooden stairs should look like and cannot find any online. I do not know if the gap is acceptable. Can someone help me out?

Also, what's the best method of removing sawdust after sanding before I stain the treads? Should I use water and give 24 hours to dry?


02:44PM | 02/18/03
Member Since: 11/06/02
1280 lifetime posts
A common stair tread material is Southern Yellow Pine. It is harder than most softwoods and somewhat strong. Sometimes, it looks pretty good. That is probably what you have desscribed.

To remove sawdust, use a vacum and then a tack clothe. In your situation, I would probably use a wood conditioner before staining.

The gaps at the ends are not right or normal but I would assume they are there because the carpenter who installed the treads knew that they would be covered by carpet and didn't knock himself out doing good work. He chuckled along thinking, "Can't see it from my house."

If they are solid and things aren't pulling apart further, I would learn to live with these gaps. An altenative is to wait until after staining and finishing and then fill the gaps with a wax based filler the colour of the tread stain.

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