Installing Wood Stairs

This story shows how to give your old stairs new life with wood treads and risers.


You can refresh your old staircase with new treads and risers. Wood replacement treads are available that can be secured directly over the existing "subfloor" treads and risers. The "body" of these replacement treads is 1/2 inch thick so that your steps will remain a consistent height. The nose on the replacement tread is 1 inch thick to retain the illusion of a standard tread.

You can also opt to remove the old stair surfaces and begin anew as shown here. Select a wood type for the new treads and risers that will complement flooring and moldings in the rooms the stairs adjoin. Standard stair treads come with a rounded (bullnose) front edge and measure 1 inch thick and 11-1/4 inches deep. Plan to measure the width of each stair because each one will vary slightly in width.

Stairs that are enclosed on both sides (with no balusters) are a job you can do yourself. For anything more complicated plan to hire a finish carpenter to do the job.

Prestart Checklist

About 1 hour per step

Measuring tape, power saw, compass, pneumatic nailer

Measuring, scribing, and using a power saw and pneumatic nailer

Remove old stair surfaces if desired

Stair treads, risers, wood putty

Step 1

Rip-cut the individual risers to the desired height. Measure the width of the riser and add 3/4 inch. Cut the riser to length. Temporarily tack the board in place.

Step 2

With the riser in place, separate the legs of a compass to 3/8 inch. Draw the compass down the wall as shown, scribing a line onto the riser. Cut off the excess using the scribe as a guide and repeat the process on the opposite end of the riser. Scribe and cut the remaining risers in the same manner.

Step 3

Cut stair treads so they will overhang risers by 1 inch. Measure the width of each tread (which is the length of the board) and add 3/4 inch. Cut the tread to length. Scribe the end of the tread, following the same scribing procedure as described in Step 2.

Step 4

Cut off the excess, following the scribed guidelines. Scribe the other end of the tread, following the same procedure as before, and cut off the excess tread.

Step 5

Position treads on the stairs and secure each one with a pneumatic face nailer. Fill nail holes with wood putty.

Comments (3)
sgfsd wrote:

Download over 16,000 WOODWORKING PLANS at here Woodworking guide offers anyone of any skill level the ability to build amazing projects. The guide is extra helpful because it offers more detailed explanations, videos and blueprints then your typical woodworker magazine . Hope it will help you next time !

6/9/2016 01:31:37 PM Report Abuse
megacleaning44 wrote:

can i install wood on tap of laminate ? sure i use glue ? the steps goes wall to wall is not square do i have to make a temple for each estep ? or theres a tool aut there

4/12/2011 11:39:04 AM Report Abuse
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