Some staircase questions...

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

chaoticbob

Established Member
Joined
14 Nov 2012
Messages
448
Reaction score
54
Location
Wirksworth
After a moth plague I had to take up a staircase carpet and what was revealed isn't great:

Stairs01.JPG


Personally I'd carpet again, but SWMBO wants wood. It would be a lot of sanding , and even then it might look awful so I am wondering about replacing the treads and risers with new.
Neither the treads or risers seem to be let into the 'strings' - if that's the right word - but the treads are made in two pieces, the main part of the tread and a 'nosepiece':

StairNose.JPG



It looks like the 'noses' might be let into the strings, but I'm not sure.

From below:

UnderStairs01.JPG


Understairs02.JPG




It looks like I might be able to knock out the existing treads/risers and replace with new boards, but I'm far from confident. If anyone familiar with this style of staircase (it's probably 150+ years old) could advise I'd be grateful. Even if to say I shouldn't meddle - it seems sound enough structurally and I don't want to screw things up.
Bob.
 

Bingy man

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
9 Feb 2022
Messages
461
Reaction score
300
Location
Wolverhampton
I’m certainly no expert on stairs BUT once you start taking something 150 years old you can for sure expect problems- the old saying-if it ain’t broke …….. however with a lot of elbow grease and a good mask , plenty of sanding implements, paint stripper etc you could bring those stairs back to life without the risk of affecting the structural integrity. What I would do is sand/strip a couple of treads and risers and see what results you get and how long it takes to achieve them . Then make a decision if it’s worth continuing or abandoning the idea altogether and go back to carpet . NO RISK to structure that way ..
 

Terry - Somerset

Established Member
Joined
22 Dec 2012
Messages
1,282
Reaction score
685
Location
Taunton
Is it possible to laminate both the treads and the risers with thin ply (4mm??) or laminated flooring.

Stair nosings can be bought separately - aluminium, wood or PVC.

Not the cheapest solution but certainly easier than replacement, and probably a better quality finish compared to sanding.
 

Just4Fun

Established Member
Joined
21 Sep 2017
Messages
990
Reaction score
350
Location
Finland
I replaced a staircase a few years ago. It took me a long time, only partly down to me being slow. The stairs have two 90-degree turns which really complicates things. Are your stairs a straight run?

The main problem was fitting in with the old structure. (Our house is 1890s). You will face similar issues.

I think you face a tough job. I would avoid it if possible. The idea above of test sanding a couple of steps sounds good to me. If that works, great. If not I would re-carpet.
 

Westy619

Established Member
Joined
21 Dec 2020
Messages
47
Reaction score
20
Location
Aberdeenshire
You could potentially look at cladding the existing stairs?


Not used the product myself, as my stairs were beyond repair so I removed completely and built a new staircase in oak. A long project but it was enjoyable.
 

niall Y

Established Member
Joined
1 Nov 2018
Messages
169
Reaction score
163
Location
CARDIGAN
After a moth plague I had to take up a staircase carpet and what was revealed isn't great:

View attachment 138227

Personally I'd carpet again, but SWMBO wants wood. It would be a lot of sanding , and even then it might look awful so I am wondering about replacing the treads and risers with new.
Neither the treads or risers seem to be let into the 'strings' - if that's the right word - but the treads are made in two pieces, the main part of the tread and a 'nosepiece':

View attachment 138228


It looks like the 'noses' might be let into the strings, but I'm not sure.

From below:

View attachment 138229

View attachment 138230



It looks like I might be able to knock out the existing treads/risers and replace with new boards, but I'm far from confident. If anyone familiar with this style of staircase (it's probably 150+ years old) could advise I'd be grateful. Even if to say I shouldn't meddle - it seems sound enough structurally and I don't want to screw things up.
Bob.
I've worked on several stairs that are made along these lines. Seem to be made by putting two or three bearers in first. Next boards with a right-angled triangular profile are nailed to the bearers and the treads and risers are nailed to these. Some dispense completely with strings of any kind and touch the bare walls, before being plastered in, It's a bit random that your treads are made of two parts, but I suppose that was the wood available at the time.
I would probably go for a good clean up and sand, replacing any damaged nosings
with old timber. That way it would still look like an old staircase - which is exactly what it is.
 

chaoticbob

Established Member
Joined
14 Nov 2012
Messages
448
Reaction score
54
Location
Wirksworth
Thanks for replies. It sounds like replacing the treads/risers with new might open cans of worms best left closed. I'll have a go at sanding and see how it goes. Niall's point that the stairs will look like what they are - old and well trodden - is well made. Probably more appropriate in the context of the house (nothing is square or flat) actually. If that fails then cladding sounds good, though I'd probably cut my own rather than going for off-the-peg engineered parts as suggested by Westy - but thanks for the suggestion Westy.

Doug - thanks for the video which was indeed inspiring!
Bob.
 

rogxwhit

Established Member
Joined
17 Jun 2022
Messages
252
Reaction score
140
Location
Mid Ceredigion
Answer 1 - environmental. If the wood's sound, leave as is! Save the planet!

(Footnote: the structure seems to depend on the bearers. What might be thought of as a string in the pics is probably just a trim.)

Answer 2 - aesthetic. Do you have a random orbital sander? Not that that would get into the corners. Or a traditional orbital sander? Start with 60 grit.

(Footnote: don't have the ambition of a pristine, veneer-like finish. Something a bit organic, that hacks with the real world, could be life-reinforcing.)

A bunch of effort, minimal intervention with structure or original material, nothing to lose!
 

chaoticbob

Established Member
Joined
14 Nov 2012
Messages
448
Reaction score
54
Location
Wirksworth
Answer 1 - environmental. If the wood's sound, leave as is! Save the planet!

(Footnote: the structure seems to depend on the bearers. What might be thought of as a string in the pics is probably just a trim.)

Answer 2 - aesthetic. Do you have a random orbital sander? Not that that would get into the corners. Or a traditional orbital sander? Start with 60 grit.

(Footnote: don't have the ambition of a pristine, veneer-like finish. Something a bit organic, that hacks with the real world, could be life-reinforcing.)

A bunch of effort, minimal intervention with structure or original material, nothing to lose!
Thanks for reinforcement - that's pretty much the way I've decided to go in the light of comments on my original post. I have a ROS and a 'mouse'. I'll probably attack with an angle grinder with one of those abrasive nylon wheels at first though - whatever that black stuff folk were so keen on in the 19th century for floorboards etc. melts and clogs sanding discs something rotten. Maybe patient scraping is the answer!
Bob.
 

MARK.B.

Established Member
Joined
4 Jul 2012
Messages
1,930
Reaction score
817
Location
East Yorkshire
A number of years back my good lady decided she wanted the carpet taken off the stairs , i spent many hours sanding and cursing ( there was a lot of cursing) then many more hours filling,sanding,staining and even more cursing,until one day the stairs were finished and they did look very very nice indeed . Less than a month after finishing the job my good lady asked for the stairs to be re-carpeted because it was to noisy when people(she meant me but was to polite to say it) went up and down them . I could have murdered her then and there and with good behavior i would have been a free man in around 15 years , of course murder however tempting was out of the question as she is a damn fine cook , so i simply replied yes dear and within the week a new stair carpet had been fitted. I guess the moral of the story is unless you can walk like a Shaolin Monk - have no kids or dogs then get a new carpet on them stairs :)
 
Top