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Veneering Stair Trim

Question

I need to put new stair treads and risers on my indoor entry stairs. How do I remove the existing stair skirt boards? Or do I just veneer the old ones?

Answer

Some times the stair trim (skirt board) is installed attached to the stair stringer, so it may not be easy to remove. Regardless, I would keep the stair trim there and veneer it with about 1/8" or 1/4" plywood and add a solid wood cap. Do this first, before adding the new stair risers and treads. The stair skirt is not the easiest thing to veneer, so it is easier to cut the stair risers and treads tight to the skirt than vice versa.

Make a pattern from cardboard. Cut these strips a bit wider than the stair skirt board to allow for scribing against the existing stair tread and riser. Once you are happy with the fit, trim the veneer off flush with the top of the stair skirt board and finish it with a piece of oak, or whatever choice of wood, running on the top of the stair skirt, acting as a cap to cover the end grain of the veneer and top edge of the old skirt. Then fit the new stair treads and risers to the skirt. Watch the height of the stair risers. You don't want to change these too much - your stair risers should be consistent in height from floor to floor.

Dave

(Ask Dave) (About Dave)

Your source for building tips, woodworking & furniture plans, house plans and building advice directly from Dave...

Hi, I'm Dave Osborne. With over 50 years experience as a journeyman carpenter, foreman and contractor in heavy construction I enjoyed working with apprentices and sharing the tricks of the trade that others shared with me. Now I get emails from Members all over the world and we include many of my answers in our Free Monthly Newsletters. Some of my answers include drawings and instructions specific to a project, but may also answer your questions. I use correct construction terminology, so you can confidently inform your building supply dealers or contractors exactly what you need.

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