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How to Secure Stair treads and Risers?

RayinBishop's picture

I want to install interior stair treads and risers on an enclosed wall stairway.   This is new construction with 3/4' CDX plywood screwed down on the stringers.  I plan to use 1" solid oak treads and 5/8" plywood oak for the risers.   I am not sure what is the best way to secure them.  Do I finish nail the treads and risers, glue only or nail and glue?  What size nail and what type of glue would be best to use?  Do I finish nail by hand with galvanized nails or woud a 15 ga. finish nail gun be OK?  I am unable to screw the treads and risers from underneath due to the stairwell bottom being drywalled.


Thanks in advance for your suggestions,


Ray

(post #94581, reply #1 of 11)

Ray, use subfloor adhesive and 16d galvinized casing nails. Predrill the treads and wax the nails. 15 gauge or even 18 gauge nailer for risers. Risers do not need adhesive. The adhesive will help prevent squeaks. Use 16d casing nails because of the added depth of plywood subtread. Galvanized nails hold better than plain steel. Galvanized nails bend easier than smooth nails, hence beeswax or other suitable lubricant for nails make it easier. Liquid nails can be used instead of subfloor adhesive, but I have used the latter a number of times without a single complaint about squeaks.


mike

(post #94581, reply #3 of 11)

Mike........thanks for the quick response.  Obviously, this will be my first attempt at installing treads and risers.   Your suggestions just made my day one heck of a lot easier.


Thanks again for the great suggestions.


Ray

(post #94581, reply #2 of 11)

ray..is the "3/4 plywood screwed down on the stringers " just the temporary treads ?


take off the temporary..


you can nail a riser ( or screw it ) to the back of your tread and install it as an assembly.. then finish nail the riser to the stringer... and either finish nail or screw and bung your tread to the stringer.. a good construction adhesive under teh tread will help to seat it and keep it from squeaking...


 you can also rabbet the bottom of the tread so it locks the top of the riser below...


start at the bottom.. install a riser... then your first assembly ( riser nailed to tread ).. and work your way to the top.. at the top you need a landing tread or molding..


 also.. this is a housed stair (enclosed by walls ) so you need a template to accurately scribe your tread ends and riser ends where they meet the skirt..


here is a jig i made from an old stop sign... both ends slide and swivel and lock with the wingnuts.... you can accurately transfer the cuts to the tread with something like this... or make a template from thin plywood


Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

(post #94581, reply #4 of 11)

Mike......Unfortunately, the 3/4" plywood treads and risers were glued in addition to being screwed down.  However, I believe I can still use most if not all of your suggestions. 


Obviously this will be my first attempt at installing treads and risers but with your suggestions it will definetly make my day a lot easier.  Especially, your suggestion for making a stair jig.


Thanks for the suggestions and quick response,


Ray

(post #94581, reply #7 of 11)

If I labeled my tools with my initials, followed by "SA," most of my colleagues would assume it meant "smart ####."  But hey, that's me.


But seriously, on this topic of tread/riser design and assembly, what would you consider the max depth for that plowed groove on the tread's bottom front edge, that houses the riser's top?  Maybe about an eighth or so for a 5/4 tread?


I had a trim carpenter, since fired, that swore up and down that you should never, repeat, never, groove the tread to receive the riser.  He claimed you were inviting squeaks that way.

Gene Davis, Davis Housewrights, Inc., Lake Placid, NY

 

 

(post #94581, reply #9 of 11)

if your initials were mfs... what would you do ?.. and it don't stand for Memphis Folding Stair...


i like a 1/4" rabbet on a 1 1/16" oak tread... he's entitled to his  opinion.. if it ain't movin , it ain't squeaking..


 i'd be using construction adhesive on the stringers and yellow glue on the riser rabbet


Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

(post #94581, reply #11 of 11)

I was going to say that because your initials are MS, that MF must stand for something else.


LOL




Posting at Breaktime should not be a full contact sport.


quittintime

.

It's a small world. Until you have to walk home...

(post #94581, reply #10 of 11)

I had a trim carpenter, since fired, that swore up and down that you should never, repeat, never, groove the tread to receive the riser.  He claimed you were inviting squeaks that way.


I havn't used a groove for over 12 years on my tread to riser connection for just that reason. Glue blocks (poly glue) and no exposed fasteners while working from the bottom up makes a rock solid stair. I stopped using yellow glue on the stairs only because its brittle. Cove or some other decorative trim under the nosing closes any seam that isn't 100% and when glued gives a second insurance connection to the riser underneath. I don't worry about pianos being moved on my stairs and breaking off a nosing.

(post #94581, reply #5 of 11)

have you thought of pre fabbing the whole assambly?  notch cut your skirt boards, cut all of your treads and risers then put the whole thing together and glue it to the rough stair with construction adhesive. this works like a charm. if you can not get the whole run in do it in two parts.


i even go as far as to pre finish all the componets before assambly ( paint the skirts, stain and finish the treads , and paint or stain and finish the risers)


james

(post #94581, reply #6 of 11)

Ray, do you have a source for your 5/8" oak ply?  That's not a common thickness for oak ply at my suppliers.


Kem

(post #94581, reply #8 of 11)

Kem,


I guess I'm not positive if I can get 5/8" oak ply or not.  I got a quote for 1/2" awhile ago and I was sure the supply house had 5/8".  But then again they may not.  I'll check with them Monday.


Ray