Stairway to Hardwood Heaven

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Project by Rob McCune posted 04-07-2007 09:43 PM 2548 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My wife had a little accident involving a can of red paint, her wayward foot and the carpet on our staircase. Being that we had 7 days until the whole family was going to be here for Easter, I was “comissioned” to remove any trace of it.

When we bought the house we really admired the oak floor in the parlor/entry. The boards had a very nice look. So nice in fact that we were both, at one point or another, convinced it was real hardwood. It was in fact engineered hardwood, or basically 3/8” x 3” plywood strips with a veneer of hardwood on top. I especially liked these because of the small chamfer on all the edges of the hardwod. It really made the boards stand out.

I know it was engineered because in the back of the storage shed, along with a ton of sprinkler system parts, I found an entire box of the Mannington floor pieces. We decided to get a couple more boxes and replace the carpet on the stairs. The problem I ran into was that the company that made the flooring wanted nearly $20 per step for the bullnose that went on the front. That amounted to over $300 for the entire staircase for a product that, in my opinion, looked kind of cheap. So I ran over to the local hardwood distributor and bought $150 worth of 8/4 oak. I milled it into 1-3/4” square strips, ran it through the router a few times to spiff up the front edge. Then I cut a rabbet in the back with my table saw to accomodate the plywood subfloor. I stained it to (approximately) matchthe flooring. I laid the flooring and added plywood to the riser, which my wife painted to match the trim. I bradded the cap to the front of the tread. I am not entirely sure that it will be strong enough this way, so any ideas to boost the strength would be appreciated. I used about 8 1-1/2” brads.

I spent about a week on the entire project, of which the first two days were spent on tear down. The next two days were spent getting the flooring right, and the last 3 were spent working the caps. I finished applying the polyurethane with about 2 hours to spare before the family arrives. Since no one will be going up stairs that should not be a problem. I still need to do all this for the upper portion of the stairs above the landing. But that can wait till next week.

-- Rob McCune

12 comments so far

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4315 days

#1 posted 04-07-2007 09:53 PM

Put in screws every six inches then carpet over it! Just kidding. It looks good. You might not have any problem with the nose. Did you glue it?

View Rob McCune's profile

Rob McCune

123 posts in 4099 days

#2 posted 04-07-2007 09:56 PM

I thought about it, but didn’t have any construction adhesive, so I let it go without.

-- Rob McCune

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4162 days

#3 posted 04-07-2007 09:57 PM

It looks great Rob, like it was designed to go there. Maybe you should replace the rest of the stairs with the same treatment?

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View LJ's profile


118 posts in 4068 days

#4 posted 04-07-2007 09:59 PM

Great rescue, Rob! And with the clock ticking. The finish looks great, high polish but then it’s probably still wet!....... I trust ‘Tootsie Footsie’ was not hurt other than pride?

-- Peace, LJ

View Rob McCune's profile

Rob McCune

123 posts in 4099 days

#5 posted 04-07-2007 10:29 PM

Bill, I had originally planned to, but Char and I just discussed how the carpet makes a nice transition into the upstairs, so we don’t know. I hate to have wasted half that hardwood though. It’s all cut and ready to stain.

She was fine, LPJ, just kicked the can down the stairs. I think I am going to add a couple more coats of poly to the whole thing to keep that nice shine over the whole thing.

-- Rob McCune

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4161 days

#6 posted 04-07-2007 10:44 PM

brave soul. I probably would have left it and shared the story with the family. :D

this looks wonderful so I guess the “accident’ was supposed to happen. The timing could have been better though!

I vote for finishing the stairs.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Karson's profile


35121 posts in 4401 days

#7 posted 04-07-2007 11:52 PM

Rob: Nice recovery. The stairs look great. I think from a design point. I’d go with all the stair treds the same. Someone, somewhere will make a comment about running out of carpet or get tired and quit. But it will be noticeable.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4327 days

#8 posted 04-08-2007 12:04 AM

No problems with the noses if you jump down from the landing ;)

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 4093 days

#9 posted 04-08-2007 02:41 AM

Really great work. I like all of the geometric shapes going on… makes the transition really distinctive. And good save too. Thanks for letting us hear the story and see it.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View Corey's profile


68 posts in 4081 days

#10 posted 04-08-2007 05:32 AM

Excellent, you do great work!



View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4247 days

#11 posted 04-08-2007 06:40 AM

nice save. like Dennis said some glue might have been nice, but it might last forever. jockmike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Rob McCune's profile

Rob McCune

123 posts in 4099 days

#12 posted 04-08-2007 07:34 AM

Thanks, you all are very kind. Char says I have to do the entertainment center before I can finish the stairs.

-- Rob McCune

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