Installing New Steps & Risers

John started installing the treads (steps) and risers at the bottom of the staircase leading to the master bedroom wing.

However, he installed the top riser first to ensure the bullnose was in the proper position.

Each tread must be leveled left and right as well as front to back.

This is what the recessed high hats look like on the other side of the drywall. John installed 80 of these throughout the house. Each one costs approximately $20.00 at Home Depot or Lowes.

This is the stairwell underneath with the two high hats. The original oak staircase to the left will be sanded and finished with MINWAX.

John marked the center of the stringer to nail it later.

It took a full day to rip, cut, shim, level and install the pine treads and primed risers. (There is 3/4″ from riser to end of bullnose.)

The pine treads are not available primed; the primed risers are finger-jointed  (1x8x16).

We chose a pine route over oak because I plan to paint the treads and stencil the risers. Click here for one of my stenciling ideas.

John will cut 1×8 to cover the gaps on each side.





How to Install Stringers

John nailed in the three hangars that he bought at Home Depot. He then nailed the stringers to the hangers to secure them in place. In this photo he is checking level on the top step; it was right on.

In 1954, when the home was built, the framers used 2x4s throughout the house except bathrooms and closets. To John’s right there are 2x4s for the hallway/main staircase and to the left, the hall bathroom is framed with 2x3s. They did this to be more cost effective.

John placed the pick plank on the sub floor. The other end of the pick is on an 8ft ladder in the living room. Without the pick, it would be difficult to do this job. Using a ladder would be dangerous because of the flight of stairs below him.

John hammered the stringer hangers in with #10 hot dip galvanized Simpson nails (they’ll never rust).

Tools Used: From left to right – Box of #10 galvanized nails, DeWalt 20V Hammer drill, speed square, corded Sawzall (corded has enough power to cut through anything), 2′ & 4′ levels, Estwing framing Hammer and FatMax measuring tape. Only use FatMax because of it’s rigidity.