Replace Carpet on Stairs With Hardwood - Page One

Shown and discussed in this five page series is a collaboration of how an engineered plank was installed on a roughed framed wood substrate, or the actual surface once the carpet and padding is removed. Maybe you're asking; is this a project I can handle? Yes and no, but it depends on your patience, skill level, and expectations. Not to mention a significant other that may bring out the industrial sized magnifying glass when you’re done.

Types Of Stair Substrates

The substrate deals with what may be under the carpet. Some homes may have mortised treads and risers that were built as one large unit, brought to the site and installed. Others may have a Stairs layoutsystem that was built with standard building materials on site by framing carpenters. In both cases hardwood can be installed over, but preparations may be slightly different. Pull some of the carpet from the sides. If you see nails or gaps in the tread against the stair stringer this system has been built on site.

Solid Treads Versus Strip & Plank

Most prefer solid treads that are installed in one piece. If you're looking to match a prefinished floor with the same color, wood flooring manufacturers do not provide prefinished solid treads and risers. Instead matching stair nosing is available. This is installed on the edge of the actual step with planks installed against them. For the time being, this section only deals with installing matching prefinished hardwood on steps.

Appearances

We basically have two choices; hardwood installed on the steps and risers, or steps with painted white risers. Both involve similar methods but a white riser installation will cut down on actual time involved. Preferred materials used with painted risers has always been poplar as it takes paint better than other materials, providing a smoother final appearance without the grain.

Wood Risers
All Wood Risers
Painted Risers
Painted Risers

 

Preparation And General Knowledge

Most substrates for steps that were designed for carpet have a nosing that needs to be removed. This removal allows for new nosing to be installed on the steps. On the whole, the preferred method is prefinished material but site finished can be installed on steps as well. Treads and risers should be installed tight to the stringer, often called skirting. This provides more of a cleaner appearance than what some may find with an inexperienced person claiming they know how to do the work. Placing trim on the sides is an example of poor workmanship.

What Kind Of Hardwoods Can We Install On Stairs?

Aside of the many types of species, all types of hardwood can be installed on stairways. This can include solid 3/4" products, or engineered flooring. The latter is often chosen to match an existing area that may connect or is installed on concrete in the foyer of the home. Many often ask if a click or lock together floor a good choice. The answer is yes, but they will have to be glued down.

Costs Involved On This Job

CostsProduct chosen was a Mannington engineered three inch wide plank. In the following pages our job consists of twelve steps and one landing. Step width measured 36 inches with a standard rise and fall measurement. Total square footage on this job came in at 95 with the 23 square foot landing included. Adding a 5% waste factor our tally reached a combined total of 99.75 square feet. With the Mannington product sold at 26.88 square feet per box or carton our order came out to four cartons totaling 107.5 total square feet. We go into more detail on measuring steps in the next section.

Another material cost is the stair nosing. The Mannington nosing itself runs 84 inches long where one piece can be used for two steps. Mentioned previously, we have twelve steps but the top step which connects to carpet needs a stair nose as well. Essentially the order came to seven pieces of stair nosing with a four foot long piece leftover after the work was completed.

How About The Labor?

For a professional installation the numbers come in like this. Keep in mind rates will vary from one region to another. The initial work is the preparation for placing hardwood on the stairs. Included are carpet, pad and tack strip removal along with preparing the actual substrate that calls for removing the existing rough nosing. Typically a motivated installer would take two hours and charge $60.00 per hour. For the actual wood installation an average runs in the $60.00 per step range for pre-finished plank material on stairs that measure three foot across.

One detail that can change the outcome of our costs is who you hired to do the work. The numbers presented here are individual contractor pricing. Store pricing will often be higher as they’ll add in their markup.

Material Costs

Costs here will once again vary. The Mannington product was purchased over the internet at a price of $ 5.12 per square foot. Each nosing added $ 65.00.

Breakdown Of Costs

Description
Cost/Rate
Quantity
Total
Preparation (hour)
$ 60.00
2
$ 120.00
Installation Steps (each)
60.00
12
720.00
Installation Landing (S/F)
3.00
23
69.00
Plank Material (S/F)
5.12
107.52
550.50
Nosing Material (each)
65.00
7
455.00
Total
$ 1,914.50

S/F - Square foot

Items Not Shown Above

Contractors will differ on miscellaneous items and minor procedures. A preferred method of installing individual planks on stairs is using a trowled on urethane adhesive for the actual

step itself and not the riser (shown in subsequent pages). Costs may be added that could run in the $100 range. However, this is often calculated into the labor cost. Some may also add a waste disposal fee.

How Long Does This Project Take?

With standard steps three foot in width, an experienced installer should be able to install each step in approximately 40-50 minutes. This includes a considerable amount of time going back and forth to the cutting area, not to mention going up and down stairs all day long. Additionally the preparation that includes carpet, pad, tack strip and nosing removal ran about two hours. The landing which required gluing down added another hour.

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