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Installing new oak stair treads

I am about to tear out the old pine stair treads in my house and replace them with new Red Oak, I am going to poly the oak treads and leave the existing pine risers and skirt boards which will be painted white.

My question is what is the best procedure to installing the new oak treads to avoid any sqeaks in the future? The stairway is 14 treads long, and typical 36" wide, I have a stair stringer in the middle and sides, the hosue is from 1950. I have no access below the steps to do any reinforcment from below.

What is the best adheasive to use or caulk? and what type of fastners do I use? screws or nails? I am assuming I will have to countersink all the screw holes and then puddy them after. How many screws per tread/stringer? any help will be appretieated, or any links to good sites on installing new stair treads, I have tried to look on-line but can not find any information on this.

Re: Installing new oak stair treads

Dear JJSCHWI- I'm doing same stair project you did and have the same questions about the screws and nails. Did you ever get advice? If so, would you be kind enough to share it with me? My main questin is whether to secure the treads with finish nails and screws. Do you countersink the screws? Also, what kind and size screws are best. Thanks in advance for your reply.

Re: Installing new oak stair treads

I did recieve some insight and this is what I did,
I did not use any sort of screw. What I used was the strongest adhesive made for wood, I think it was a PL brand from Home Depot. I put a liberal amount of adhesive to each stair stringer, and then across the top of the riser and then a little to the back edge of the new tread as it will butt against the back of the riser of the next step.

Then I shot the longest nail from my Pasload Finish nailer, I think it was 2.5" long. I shot 3-4 nails in the edge stringers and 3-4 nails on the center stringer

Then I shot a couple nails through the riser of the next step into the tread I just nailed, does that make sense, you will actually aim your gun from the next step and shoot in from the back edge of your tread you just installed.

This method was what I read from some other pros. I think the old timers will still tell you to use screws, but then you have to deal with counter sinks, and patching and you know its never going to look like the wood. The other things I have read and just knowing myself how far they have actually come in adhesives nowdays! they are crazy rediculas strong! I have used adhesive outside to attach bricks to my foundation and steps with just adhesive, and they told me I would literally break the stone before the glue gave out, and found that out becuase I leaked out some glue on a stone and another brick stuck to it, man! what a bond, they broke before then cam apart.

So what I am saying is, todays adhesives are plenty to hold a stair in place, coupled with 2.5" finish nails shot from a gun leaves just a pin hole to fill with putty. I think the finish nail I used was a 16 gaugue, or I think they have 15 gauge as well.

Just be sure that after you patch the hole with the puddy, you sand very well to make sure there is no puddy residue surrounding the hole. a got impatient and didnt sand as good as I should so when I went to Poly the steps I could really tell where I didnt sand as good as I should.

My steps turned out amazing!! and they are rock solid, there is not a single squek or creak, and for about a month, I felt like I shouldnt walk on the edge of the steps for afraid that I would loosen up my bond! but now, the kids and myself run up and down the steps with not a worry and its been about 6 months and still not a single noise!! best project and really pretty easy! good luck.

Re: Installing new oak stair treads

PL Premium, that is what I used! its so strong! coupled with nails, why go through all the work of counter sinking and pluging. good luck! you will soon be rewarded with great stairs.

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