Carpeted stairs are passé. Hardwood stairs are the way to go, but is it possible to replace carpet on stairs with wood, without destroying the house, living under the mess of a construction site for months on end or selling your only child to the bank? Absolutely, as long as you can answer yes to two questions!
Tearing the house apart to redo your stairs just doesn’t make sense. Besides to build a standard set of hardwood stairs probably costs four times more that taking your existing stairs and changing carpet stairs to hardwood steps, in a wood species to compliment the balance of your home decorating. It is not unusual to save thousand of dollars. So what do you need to answer first?
Question number one: Are your existing stairs structurally sound? In other words if I were to remove the carpet and add a few (or a lot) of screws to the existing structure would they meet the existing building code and NOT squeak in daily use. If this isn’t the case then give up and start from scratch before you waste any more money!
Question number two: Are you happy with the overall layout of your steps? Are they a suitable size, rising enough on each step to be safe and offering enough depth for you to comfortably plant your foot? Many do-it-yourselfer’s and even those in the trade, have trouble with the math used in constructing steps. They often think that when you get to the point of wanting to replace carpet on stairs with wood, that you can also play with the overall layout by adding width to an existing set of treads. They think that if they build up the front of the stair under the nosing it will give them a longer run. They forget that if you do this to every step it kind of cancels each other out, so your layout must be acceptable as is.
Thus, if you are happy with your existing “rise and run,” then you are in the ideal position to recover these stairs. Hardwood of any species can be used for the job, thus here is a list of steps for changing carpet stairs to wood.
Step #1: Remove the carpet, tacker strips and/or any residual glue. Don’t worry if the wood gets gouged in the process.
Step #2: Cut off the existing nosing of the construction stairs on both the front and if you have an open end, there too.
Step #3: Remove and store any spindles that may be drilled into the stairs. Leave the newel posts in place. You can work around them, unless of course your intent is to have a new railing as well.
Step #4: Use a matching hardwood veneered plywood to face the back riser and stringer. No point in using solid hardwood here as it doesn’t take any wear in this location and solids are much harder to work with.
Step #5: Glue down solid hardwood plank stairs to the face of your old treads, using construction glue. Glue that is in a caulking tube is the easiest to apply, otherwise use a small notched trowel to spread, especially when applying it to the ¼” plywood or bulges will be obvious.
Step #6: Replace your spindles and trim any corners with appropriate mouldings to hide seams between the plywood used for the riser and that used for the stringer.
Further: It is best to pre-finish all the plywood and treads before you install. Polyurethanes typically take 48 hours to come to full strength so it can tie up your steps for a bit of time if you chose to do the finishing on site. Besides it is easier to avoid runs if everything can be finished while on the flat.
For further information on replacing stair treads, changing carpet stairs to wood visit our website: http://www.woodsthebest.com Lots of information on how to order custom made hardwood steps in the size, shape and wood species that you really want plus all the tips on how to install like a seasoned pro. After all precision woodworking is all in the details.