Am I crazy to try and floor these curved stairs?

Discussion in 'Solid and Engineered Hardwood Q&A' started by wardpower, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. wardpower

    wardpower New Member

    Hey All,

    Great forum here, lots of great info.

    I'm closing on a house the end of this month and my wife and I want to install hardwood in the main living area that is currently carpeted, but there's a tricky staircase. I'm a DIYer who is somewhat skilled, my Dad who is a fairly skilled woodworker/carpenter with a shop full of any tool we would need, and a friend of mine who used to install wood floors for a living will be helping me with the install.

    The house is in Minnesota near Minneapolis. It's above ground level with what looked like good quality plywood subfloors underneath. Below it is the unfinished laundry and utility/boiler room. we plan on knocking down the kitchen and dining room walls so it will be a large rectangle of around 600 square feet being floored in total. My friend that will help with the install said 3/4 hardwood nailed down is the way to go on account of the stairs. Also the wife and I both love the look of an onsite finished hardwood floor so much more than the micro bevels that everything pre-finished and engineered has nowadays. I don't know for certain yet what species or width 3/4" hardwood it will be. If I could wave a magic wand I'd have a fancy exotic wood in a herringbone pattern but that's probably too ambitious. May be something fancy, maybe Hickory, may just be simple red oak.

    My friend who knows what he's doing said he would get a square or triangle piece of wood and cut the curve out, then router the stair nose edge and mill down the part that isn't the lip to 3/4", and that by doing it that way the install is easier because the wood squares up to the one big stairnose piece. Is that the best way to go about this our would glueing some planks in a semi curve and cutting & milling a curved piece of stair nose be just as good of an option? I also saw some examples online of planks of wood installed up against the riser protruding 3/4" up, with a bent one needed on the inside curve.

    I appreciate any opinions that anyone would be willing to offer, and apologize in advance for any confusing or incorrect terminology I'm using. I also don't have any misconceptions about how hard of a project this is going to be. My friend told me the stairs will easily take longer than the rest of the entire floor job.

    I was also wondering if anyone knows just exactly what you would call this type of staircase? I have the hardest time explaining it to people.

    Attached Files:

  2. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    Your friend has it right. Let him do it and stay out of the way. (G)

    Don't ask a lot of questions and don't 2nd guess his decisions. I install floors for about $30-45 an hour. If you want to argue it's $100 an hour.
  3. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    That staircase is custom.
  4. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti Senior Member

    I agree with solid stair treads, I think it will be most aesthetically pleasing, I think if it were pieces I would be distracted to look at it instead of paying no mind to steps.
  5. kylenelson

    kylenelson You'll find me on the floor I Support TFP Senior Member

    Your friend is right, I wouldn't attempt this myself. I'd pay your friend whatever he wants to do it. If it's not near perfect it will look like you did a diy job and there's nothing that will make the rest of your house look junky quicker than that.
  6. Steve Olson

    Steve Olson Hardwood/Laminate Guru Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    It will be interesting to pull off the carpet and see the construction of those stairs. There has been more then a few times, I've pulled the carpet off of some stairs that we were going to install wood flooring on, and said, "HOLY S #!+"

    Hope it goes well for you!
  7. wardpower

    wardpower New Member

    No Kidding, I'm still holding out a hope that there will be a gorgeous wood floor under the carpet I can refinish. I didn't see any nails or staples in the bottom of the subfloor though so I'm not holding my breath.

    I'm definitely doing whatever my buddy says is the best way to go and he's helping me. I don't have to pay him, but he lives out of state so I gotta fly him here and he may not be around the entire time.
  8. Chris 45

    Chris 45 Director of P.R. on some deserted island. I Support TFP

    Those pie stairs look like they would be fun to do. I love custom stuff. Cookie cutter jobs get boring.

    If you are trying to put wood on the curved wall, use a thickness planer to plane down some wood until it is flexible enough to wrap the curve. Might even need to run planks vertical. The short curved section at the point of the stairs will be the challenge.

    The mystery is what it looks like under the carpet.
  9. wardpower

    wardpower New Member

    Once I get the keys and pull up some carpet I'll post some pictures. I do have a halfway decent picture of the stairs from underneath I'll try to find and post.

    The house is a very Spanish Colonial style place so I was considering getting some cool small tiles and tiling the curved wall and stair risers. You can sort of see in the picture the big bulbous hexagon tile on the floor in front of the stairs.
  10. wardpower

    wardpower New Member

    Oh and Chris 45, my buddy who is gonna help me lives in Newport so I could just get you both some tickets here out of PDX. You are more than welcome to come help with the install, I wanna do my part to alleviate any boredom!!!

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