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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Now for the Oak Steps

When I added a bathroom to this home in Donelson I raised the floor from the den to match the rest of the home. That meant that there would be three steps to build going to the den (see this post).

The homeowner has decided to have me add hardwood flooring to the hallway, but before I do that, I need to install the oak treads and risers on the steps.

There's usually a section at the home stores where they sell all kinds of stair parts like the treads, risers and balusters in basic red oak. That would have worked fine, except that these steps were 51" wide.
To find the wider cut treads and risers I went to JeffCo Flooring downtown. It's the super-secret place where the pros shop for hardwood flooring, including stair parts. They had just what I needed.

I started with the bottom riser and worked my way up. These steps will not have any trim on the sides to cover any gaps so I had to be exact with my measurements. I usually cut the pieces a little long and trimmed it to make sure it fit well. I put it all together without any fasteners and then took all the pieces outside for a good sanding.

Some people finish the wood before installation, but I like to install them before I finish. After a healthy dose of liquid nails, the treads were nailed in place with the risers. The top step gets a piece called stair nosing that is rounded on the front, but the back has a groove where the end-tongue from the flooring will fit. The stair nosing is sold by the foot, so you can just buy as much as you need.

I put a little painters tape on the wall to keep from making much of a mess and then applied the stain. These steps were stained with a Minwax color called "Natural". It's nearly the same as just using a clear coat, but I thought it was a slightly better match to the pre-finished red oak flooring that the homeowner wanted to install in the hall.

Letting it dry overnight and lightly sanding between coats, the steps will get two more coats of polyurethane after this stain.

Next comes the hardwood flooring...


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