Submitted by DavidDunne t3_zwpno8 in DIY

So I am wanting to finish off these stairs leading into our basement. They are currently unfinished with no risers and rough treads. My initial plan was to simply install new treads atop the existing ones and install risers.

But as you can see in these images ( ), I have realized that the existing treads overhang ever so slightly. About a half inch. Enough to make them not flush. Simply installing risers is problematic. So...

Should I add wood behind the risers to make the framing flush with the current treads? Or should I REMOVE the current treads and install the new treads and risers on the empty framework?

What would be the simplest and also most cost-effective solution to this puzzle?



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athermalwill t1_j1w6m6p wrote

Chances are that installing hardwood treads in place of the existing ones will throw off the height of the first and last steps. You should measure the height of these two in relation to the finished floor on both ends and then make a decision.

I personally like to install my treads on top of sub floor dummy treads. Alternatively, you can trim back the existing treads and go on top of those with a hardwood tread cap. Just remember to add screws to the old treads to stop them from squeaking.


DavidDunne OP t1_j1wffly wrote

Interesting. Great information.

As for trimming those dummy treads, would a reciprocating saw be the way to go you think?


athermalwill t1_j1wirnl wrote

You could. I would probably use a jigsaw and finish the cuts by hand. It really depends on how good you are with a saxzall.

You could possibly take them up, trim them, and reinstall them with screws and flooring glue. That would make them squeak free.


tdipi t1_j1wm4o0 wrote

What is the height for the top stair, versus the rest of the stairs?


DavidDunne OP t1_j1wm94o wrote

Top stair is slightly taller and bottom stair is slightly shorter


One_Car_142 t1_j1wypyv wrote

This makes me think that the treads were sized correctly so that when they're finished, all the rise heights are the same. Make sure you check your local building code for proper rise/run requirements. There should also be acceptable values for overhang. Most treads that I've seen at the store have a little overhang built in. That way you install the treads, then risers, and everything falls into place. Disclaimer, I haven't actually done this project yet.


maxirabbit t1_j1w35sa wrote

Remove the existing treads and install new risers and solid hardwood treads. You can use 3/4" MDF for the risers and use 3/4" MDF stringers as well to get a better finished job. Do it yourself and save $3000 and add to the homes value.


WISteven t1_j1ww5kn wrote

save $3000?? huh?


maxirabbit t1_j1wz9me wrote

If you were to pay someone to do a hardwood stair case you would pay well in excess of $3K.


chookityyyypok t1_j1xjqxm wrote

>What would be the simplest and also most cost-effective solution to this puzzle?

I think the simplest and cost-effective route would be to install rough risers between the stringers (to maintain the overhang) and then just plop down some nice carpet.