Refinishing roughed in stairs - removing carpet

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BW1985
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Re: Refinishing roughed in stairs - removing carpet

Post by BW1985 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:28 pm

We have stringers too, he ripped off the framing lumber from the stringers and then installed the treads and risers to them.

I have a feeling that the most HD will say is the'll give me some new treads. That doesn't help me because then I'd still need to have a carpenter rip out the existing ones, install new ones and then we'd have to stain and paint again.

We can hide the cracks with touch ups but my concern is if they get worse, or more of them keep happening.
"Squirrels figured out how to save eons ago. They buried acorns. Some, they dug up, for food. Others, they let to sprout, in new oak trees. We could learn from squirrels." -john94549

mariezzz
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Re: Refinishing roughed in stairs - removing carpet

Post by mariezzz » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:54 pm

I did something similar a few years ago using Stairtek White Oak re-treads (fit over existing stairs) - had to special order from HD. They were quite a bit cheaper then - <$30 per tread for 42 inch. All but a couple fitted exactly - if you had to scribe & trim to an uneven riser, that would be more difficult. I finished with Bona DTS (slightly golden finish), followed by Bona traffic (commercial product with very hard finish). The Bona products are excellent - although you have to buy through contractor stores.

I haven't had any cracking in mine. Mine are as beautiful today as the day I put them in. Not sure if your using red oak treads might cause the cracking. Or whether the product you used was simply lower quality - what you bought wasn't the same manufacturer as what I bought). Might also help that I used a retread, so the original tread was underneath, so less flexing of the tread? Could be you didn't have enough support under the thinner treads (looks like the red oak is thinner than the pine treads that were originally there?. I was also very picky - I special ordered more than I needed & returned the ones with unacceptable appearances (knots, bad color, etc.) - that might have helped prevent cracking. Can't believe you painted over the oak trim - that's a sin.

This was one of the best diy projects I've ever done. Every time I use the stairs, I get enjoyment - they look so nice. I spent a lot of time sanding beforehand & between 3 coats of the Bona to get a beautiful finish; wiped down the bare tread with damp rag to ensure DTS was taken up evenly, etc.

For the riser, I used oak plywood (could only get that in red oak; it matches in color and I figured the better quality white oak wasn't critical for the riser), finished the same way (I had to put in some spacer wood, otherwise the tread would have been a little sort). The retread product required a specific glue which I used. Did not require screws, but I used them in the back corners, then made plugs out of an oak dowel. Used a special, very flexible saw ($15) to cut the plugs in place. I had pre-finished the treads, but had to sand a bit & apply finish once the plugs were in place.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Refinishing roughed in stairs - removing carpet

Post by Sandtrap » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:00 pm

It would not take much flex at all for a painted over joint to fissure along the joint line and end up looking like what you have. Perhaps an issue depending on the solidity of the base.
j :D

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mrc
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Re: Refinishing roughed in stairs - removing carpet

Post by mrc » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:54 am

My 2cents

If the oak is on the thin side, it may have cracked on a glue line. Doesn't take much stress. Overall, a glued-up board is more stable than a solid wide piece. So I wouldn't fret about the glue joints per se. Generally, the glue joints are the strongest part provided the joint is sound. Perhaps some of these glue lines were starved for glue or too long open time.

Wood moves with humidity. I suppose the backs are not primed (sealed). So they dry out in the winter, and swell (expand) a bit in the humidity of summer. A/C and a humidifier helps mitigate seasonal changes.

Provided nothing is loose, this is the sort of thing brown Sharpies are made for. 😉
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BW1985
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Re: Refinishing roughed in stairs - removing carpet

Post by BW1985 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:28 am

mrc wrote:
Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:54 am
My 2cents

If the oak is on the thin side, it may have cracked on a glue line. Doesn't take much stress. Overall, a glued-up board is more stable than a solid wide piece. So I wouldn't fret about the glue joints per se. Generally, the glue joints are the strongest part provided the joint is sound. Perhaps some of these glue lines were starved for glue or too long open time.

Wood moves with humidity. I suppose the backs are not primed (sealed). So they dry out in the winter, and swell (expand) a bit in the humidity of summer. A/C and a humidifier helps mitigate seasonal changes.

Provided nothing is loose, this is the sort of thing brown Sharpies are made for. 😉
Thanks, they all look to be cracks at the glue lines. Some you can see the fine line down the entire length of the board. I have no problem touching them up my main concern was the stability. Nothing feels loose though. My dad thinks that because the strips glued together have different grains they are moving in different ways with the very low humidity and stressing & cracking the glue lines.
"Squirrels figured out how to save eons ago. They buried acorns. Some, they dug up, for food. Others, they let to sprout, in new oak trees. We could learn from squirrels." -john94549

pshonore
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Re: Refinishing roughed in stairs - removing carpet

Post by pshonore » Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:30 pm

I would wait until warm weather. They will probably close up and then open again next winter. I am typing this at a Cherry desk I built a few years back and has a surface 24" wide front to back. Made out of four boards glued up each roughly 6" wide. In the Summer, that will measure at least 24 1/4". Cross grain construction in good furniture can be a problem. Wood almost always expands and contracts across the grain, not lengthwise. Gluing a large piece that can expand to a piece that cannot is not a good idea. Much better to faster with slightly over size or oval shaped holes when using screws for example. Those keep the top firmly fastened but allow the top to expand. Or use L shaped blocks fastened to the top that fit in slots on the side pieces. Norms Abrams used a similar modified approach to install stair treads on TOH this week. Thats also one of the reason why quality wood doors usually have panels which float in grooves. Usually not a problem with stair treads which are not really that wide. More likely green wood was used or the wood was not allowed to acclimate for at least a couple of days in its new home prior to installation. Old time carpenters know that. A lot of modern handymen do not.

BW1985
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Re: Refinishing roughed in stairs - removing carpet

Post by BW1985 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:54 pm

pshonore wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:30 pm
I would wait until warm weather. They will probably close up and then open again next winter. I am typing this at a Cherry desk I built a few years back and has a surface 24" wide front to back. Made out of four boards glued up each roughly 6" wide. In the Summer, that will measure at least 24 1/4". Cross grain construction in good furniture can be a problem. Wood almost always expands and contracts across the grain, not lengthwise. Gluing a large piece that can expand to a piece that cannot is not a good idea. Much better to faster with slightly over size or oval shaped holes when using screws for example. Those keep the top firmly fastened but allow the top to expand. Or use L shaped blocks fastened to the top that fit in slots on the side pieces. Norms Abrams used a similar modified approach to install stair treads on TOH this week. Thats also one of the reason why quality wood doors usually have panels which float in grooves. Usually not a problem with stair treads which are not really that wide. More likely green wood was used or the wood was not allowed to acclimate for at least a couple of days in its new home prior to installation. Old time carpenters know that. A lot of modern handymen do not.
The treads sat in our house for a week prior to installation so that wasn't an issue. What's green wood?
"Squirrels figured out how to save eons ago. They buried acorns. Some, they dug up, for food. Others, they let to sprout, in new oak trees. We could learn from squirrels." -john94549

pshonore
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Re: Refinishing roughed in stairs - removing carpet

Post by pshonore » Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:23 pm

BW1985 wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:54 pm
pshonore wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:30 pm
I would wait until warm weather. They will probably close up and then open again next winter. I am typing this at a Cherry desk I built a few years back and has a surface 24" wide front to back. Made out of four boards glued up each roughly 6" wide. In the Summer, that will measure at least 24 1/4". Cross grain construction in good furniture can be a problem. Wood almost always expands and contracts across the grain, not lengthwise. Gluing a large piece that can expand to a piece that cannot is not a good idea. Much better to faster with slightly over size or oval shaped holes when using screws for example. Those keep the top firmly fastened but allow the top to expand. Or use L shaped blocks fastened to the top that fit in slots on the side pieces. Norms Abrams used a similar modified approach to install stair treads on TOH this week. Thats also one of the reason why quality wood doors usually have panels which float in grooves. Usually not a problem with stair treads which are not really that wide. More likely green wood was used or the wood was not allowed to acclimate for at least a couple of days in its new home prior to installation. Old time carpenters know that. A lot of modern handymen do not.
The treads sat in our house for a week prior to installation so that wasn't an issue. What's green wood?
Greenwood is fresh cut wood which has a very high moisture content. It can be dried in a kiln in a relatively short time or air dried outside but covered and 5/4 stock would take about 1 year to reach an acceptable moisture content to use indoors for furniture, etc

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Refinishing roughed in stairs - removing carpet

Post by Epsilon Delta » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:26 pm

BW1985 wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:28 am
Thanks, they all look to be cracks at the glue lines. Some you can see the fine line down the entire length of the board. I have no problem touching them up my main concern was the stability. Nothing feels loose though. My dad thinks that because the strips glued together have different grains they are moving in different ways with the very low humidity and stressing & cracking the glue lines.
More likely the stringers and treads are a classic cross grain situation*. Temperature and humidity changes cause wood to expand more across the grain than along it. If the stringers are firmly attached to the treads along the entire contact surface if the stringers expand they will try to stretch the treads. If the glue joints are the weakest link they will break. The furniture maker's solution is to attach the crossed grained woods at, at most, a single point and allow the rest to float. Not sure that would work with a tread.

* Or at least sine(theta) of a cross grain situation where theta is the angle of the stair case.

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Re: Refinishing roughed in stairs - removing carpet

Post by Alex Frakt » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:28 pm

BW1985 wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:54 pm
pshonore wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:30 pm
...More likely green wood was used or the wood was not allowed to acclimate for at least a couple of days in its new home prior to installation. Old time carpenters know that. A lot of modern handymen do not.
The treads sat in our house for a week prior to installation so that wasn't an issue. ...
If they were in packaging or even a tight stack, this wouldn't be nearly enough time for the humidity to equalize. How were these attached? It's certainly possible that the treads shrunk a bit and if they were securely fastened at the edges, the gap would open in the center. If so, it will get better as the humidity rises. Another possibility is that stringer unevenness or movement is allowing the treads to deflect enough to cause problems. Are the gaps in the middle of the stairway runs? If this is the case, spring won't cure the gaps.

BW1985
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Re: Refinishing roughed in stairs - removing carpet

Post by BW1985 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:31 pm

Alex Frakt wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:28 pm
BW1985 wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:54 pm
pshonore wrote:
Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:30 pm
...More likely green wood was used or the wood was not allowed to acclimate for at least a couple of days in its new home prior to installation. Old time carpenters know that. A lot of modern handymen do not.
The treads sat in our house for a week prior to installation so that wasn't an issue. ...
If they were in packaging or even a tight stack, this wouldn't be nearly enough time for the humidity to equalize. How were these attached? It's certainly possible that the treads shrunk a bit and if they were securely fastened at the edges, the gap would open in the center. If so, it will get better as the humidity rises. Another possibility is that stringer unevenness or movement is allowing the treads to deflect enough to cause problems. Are the gaps in the middle of the stairway runs? If this is the case, spring won't cure the gaps.
They were sitting stacked up in a couple piles but there was no packaging. Prior to that they were sitting inside Home Depot for who knows how long.

They were attached using a construction adhesive and a nail gun into the stringers.

The cracking is at the edges of the treads near the skirt/railing but some of them are longer and extend down the length of the tread.

The stairs feel solid. There's no creaking or flexing.

When I contact Home Depot I'm not sure how I can prove that there was a quality defect with them, they could challenge me that it's an issue with the stringers not being even like you say and there's no way for me to prove that they are.
"Squirrels figured out how to save eons ago. They buried acorns. Some, they dug up, for food. Others, they let to sprout, in new oak trees. We could learn from squirrels." -john94549

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