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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:52 pm 
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Hi guys

at some point soon we will be sorting the staircase in our new house. (newish as we moved in just over 2 years ago) and i was hoping for a few pointers as we used to have a relative do EVERYTHING for us and due to health issues we, the wider family, are having to now learn quick and start doing stuff ourselves.

so a few thoughts and questions if anyone can help.

1) the stairs themselves.

a) 2 of the 3 stairs that create the right-angle turn at the top (wide at one side going to a point at the other and forming the fan type shape) are damaged. one has been repaired by the previous owner by simply screwing an 8mm board over it so i dont yet know it's condition and the next has split about 3 inches back from the rounded bullnose edge where someone has stepped down very hard on it. split about half of it's length so we have had to watch what we are doing each time we step on that one. there isnt access from underneath but i was thinking about removing it completely and replacing. the only problem is that it is 'inside' the side board and the post rather than just butting up to it so i dont think i can just slide the new one in. however, see 1b below for the next question that will address my other possible solution as part of that next task...

b) we have decided to keep them as bare wood so we thought about cleaning them up but i thought i could just get some hard wood board and create risers and treads to glue and stick over the old. i would need to chop off the current bullnose on the existing treads so the new riser can fit flush (would that be okay?). on those damaged steps i could use a metal bracket spanning the split and then recess the underneath of the new tread so it clears those brackets if that will work.

2) any advice, suggestions, guides etc on doing spindles from the viewpoint of a novice? there is currently just metal swirly things where spindles would go and they are just screwed top and bottom.

so guys, any advice, opinions and help for preparing me for this would be gratefully appreciated

marc


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:36 pm 
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Hi Marc,

A couple of photo's would help. The three treads you refer to are called 'winders'.
It would be normal for any repair joinery to be achieved 'under' the damaged treads.
Is access available beneath the stair, say within a cupboard?

Second question. Turned spindles are usually retained in a groove in the top of the 'string' (side support of stairs) and a groove in the underside of the handrail.
Starting at the bottom a timber packer is fixed in the top and bottom groove followed by a spindle then another pair of packers.
This is then repeated until complete.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:48 pm 
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thanks mate. i took some photos and will try to attach them.

there is only access to those steps if i take down the ceiling in the understairs bathroom which my wife would kill me if i did.

any thoughts on 1b?

cheers, marc

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:37 pm 
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Personally I can't see any long term reliable solution to that which can be achieved from above. The tread has to come out because it is housed into the stringers, and the glue blocks and wedges will probably need to be replaced at the same time - and that means working from beneath.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:06 am 
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I agree with everything Job and Knock says above!

Now to look at question 1b. as you request:

No, you can not cut off the existing bull nose to the treads! To understand this you need to know the basics of stair construction. Each tread is machined with the bull nose and a groove about an inch back on the underside. Then each riser has a rebate machined to the top edge which leaves a 'tongue' that fits snugly into the groove in the tread. To cut the bullnoses off would weaken the flight considerably. Where the tread meets the riser, three or four glue-blocks are fitted. Each tread & riser is also 'housed into the strings on ether side, then these are also glued and wedged in place.
Sorry to dishearten you mate, but I think you are looking at a rip-out and complete stair replacement!

Davyp1



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:36 am 
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davyp1 wrote:
I agree with everything Job and Knock says above!


Sorry to dishearten you mate, but I think you are looking at a rip-out and complete stair replacement!



I don't see anything that can't be repaired - but it has to be done from underneath.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:25 am 
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ayjay wrote:
davyp1 wrote:
I agree with everything Job and Knock says above!


Sorry to dishearten you mate, but I think you are looking at a rip-out and complete stair replacement!



I don't see anything that can't be repaired - but it has to be done from underneath.


Your right ayjay, perhaps I did condemn it a bit prematurely!


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:56 am 
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davyp1 wrote:
No, you can not cut off the existing bull nose to the treads! To understand this you need to know the basics of stair construction. Each tread is machined with the bull nose and a groove about an inch back on the underside. Then each riser has a rebate machined to the top edge which leaves a 'tongue' that fits snugly into the groove in the tread. To cut the bullnoses off would weaken the flight considerably. Where the tread meets the riser, three or four glue-blocks are fitted. Each tread & riser is also 'housed into the strings on ether side, then these are also glued and wedged in place.

To illustrate what Davy is saying, take a look at the following diagram which shows the general sort of construction used on closed riser stairs in the UK. I can say from experience that this type of construction was common use from at least the early Victorian period:

Attachment:
Stairs Construction 001_01.gif
Stairs Construction 001_01.gif [ 9.75 KiB | Viewed 1132 times ]


This makes it easy to see what he said about never cutting off the nosing as that robs that step of all integrity. Similarly you can see how the treads and risers are housed-in to the stringers (i.e. they sit in grooves routed into the sides) and then held in place with a combination of wedges and glue blocks - which is why I stated that repairs must necessarily be done from beneath. Whatever else you should not continue with your present arrangement - a single tread with a different going (i.e. an uneven step) more than 6mm different from the rest of the steps is a known (and scientifically demonstrated) trip hazard, as this video graphically illustrates. You may want to show the missus what the consequences are as an argument for taking a small section of ceiling out

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:12 pm 
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hi guys

thanks for all the replies

makes sense re the bullnose. is there a decent 'kit' that would cover/clad the risers and treads then that would wrap around the bullnose so i didnt have to remove it?

with regards to the repair, i will attach a very rough drawing that hopefully isnt too faint to see. what i have drawn is if i could break out the old winder and place a new piece there without having to slot in as long as i screwed battens in and screwed the step down on to these battens? i would then silicone or caulk the edge to cover any slight gap.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:46 pm 
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you wont have anything to fix a baton too on the bottom off the riser
you would have to fix 2 timbers in an "L" and make sure the bottom edge off the riser isnt a few mm low

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:25 pm 
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big-all wrote:
you wont have anything to fix a baton too on the bottom off the riser
you would have to fix 2 timbers in an "L" and make sure the bottom edge off the riser isnt a few mm low


You'd have to cut the bottom of the riser off to do that, as it should extend at least to the bottom of the tread and be fixed to it, (it looks like it isn't very well fixed there currently).

I really wouldn't want to do it from the top, but in that scenario, I'd screw a piece of 4X1 behind the riser and then screw a 2X1 to the 4X1, (with a riser's thickness of packing between the two).

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:59 pm 
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Hi guys. Any chance of a rough diagram of what you mean there?
Again, thanks for all the help


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:19 pm 
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have a look at jxk diagram above the riser[back off the stairs ]stops at or slightly under the tread so nothing to fix your baton too under the back off the tread

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:41 pm 
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Okay... I get what you're saying now. The suggestion of screwing 4 x 1 and 2 x 1 makes sense.

I think until I get the tread off I won't be fully confident about it but I think I know what I need to do with your suggestions.

So by not slotting it in to either side, would silicone or caulk be best at the edge?

So when those treads are sorted, any suggestions on covering them up with some nicer looking new wood?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:42 pm 
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hi again all.

as well as the above question at the base of the last reply, i found this video on youtube that shows someone cutting off the bullnose and cladding the stairs as i had thought. any thoughts on it? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tep_pcQF4RE&list=WL&index=10&t=29s


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