A set of stairs allows you to gain access to another level of a house. A staircase is made up of wood stringers, plywood treads and risers. All of this makes up the subframe of the staircase. This is usually the condition the staircase is left in by the framers during the construction phase of a new home. The do-it-yourself handyman can then add decorative oak treads to the staircase.
Things You'll Need
- 1/4-inch plywood
- Table saw
- Miter saw
- Tape measure
- Wood clamps
- Pneumatic nail gun
- Trim nails
- Oak stair treads
- Oak stair risers
- Construction adhesive
- Caulk gun
Cut two pieces of 1/4-inch plywood. Set the table saw fence to 12 inches wide. Cut two pieces this width and at least 30 inches long. Take both pieces to the miter saw. Place the edge you just cut against the fence. Set the miter saw to 90 degrees. Cut one end of each board with the miter saw. Flip the board over and use the tape measure to measure 30 inches; mark the board with a pencil. Cut both boards at the 30-inch mark. These are the templates for cutting the stair treads and risers.
Measure the height of the first riser. This is the distance from the plywood of the subfloor stair landing to the top of the plywood of the next step. Set your table saw to this measurement. Place your oak riser lengthwise on the saw and trim its width.
Place one of the templates on the staircase, in a vertical position against the back of the stairs. Push it tight against the left side of the stairs. Place the other piece of the template over the last one and push it tight against the right side of the stairs. Use two small wood clamps to clamp the templates together in this position. This makes an exact template for the width of the staircase's first riser.
Transfer the templates to the oak stair riser you trimmed. Align the bottom of the templates with the back of the riser. Run a pencil line down each side of the riser template. Adjust the miter saw to cut the line on the riser that you marked.
Apply construction adhesive to the back of the riser, using a caulk gun. Nail the riser into position using a pneumatic nail gun.
Repeat Steps 3 and 4 for the remaining staircase risers.
Measure the depth of the stair treads. Measure from the oak stair riser that you just nailed into position to the front edge of the plywood stair tread. Add the measurement of the tread's bull nosing, usually 1 1/2 inches. Set the table saw to the total measurement and cut the width of the stair tread board. Building codes require that all of the treads be the same depth.
Place the template flat on the plywood tread of the first stair. Align the template against the left side of the staircase so it is even with the outside edge. Repeat this for the right side of the stair. Clamp the two pieces together in this position. Transfer the pattern to the first oak stair tread.
Cut the oak stair tread to width using the table saw. The bull-nosed side goes against the table saw fence. Place the template from the last step lengthwise on top of the oak stair tread. Place the back so it is even with the back of the tread; transfer the mark from the pattern to the tread. Use a miter saw to cut the tread. Test the fit of the stair tread. Adjust the cut as necessary.
Apply construction adhesive to the back of the tread and place it into position on the staircase. Use a pneumatic nail gun to nail the stair tread in position until the construction adhesive dries.
Tips & Warnings
- Wear knee pads when working on your knees.
- Wear safety glasses when using power tools.
- Photo Credit house construction interior 1 image by Paul Moore from Fotolia.com
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