X-Post How can I update these stairs?

numbersjunkieFebruary 2, 2013

My stairs are oak, but the shirt boards are fir or pine, maybe both, so they look mismatched. I don't want to paint them because none of the other trim in my house is painted. I also want to get rid of the scrolls since they don't go at all with the contemporary style of the house. Even the bullnose stair treads bother me - too traditional in style, wish they were straight edges.

One thing I am thinking about to deal with the issue of having different woods that don't stain the same is using contrasting colors of stain on oak and other wood. I think if the trim was designed right, it could look very contemporary.

I know better than to think I could modify these stairs on my own, and plan to hire a woodworker to do the job once I know what I want to do.

I was hoping those of you with woodworking experience could give me some suggestions.

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You really want bullnose, because the center of square treads will wear into rounded very quickly and it's obviously worn in contrast with the squared edges.

Where are the scrolls?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 9:11AM
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On the outside, not very easy to see in the photo. But in person they are very obvious because the stain on the oak scrolls does't match the pine on the fir/pine boards underneath.

Yes, I did think about a square edge getting worn. Maybe just take the bull nose off the outside edges and it would improve the look? The pieces on the side are trim pieces, not part of the tread. But as I said in my original post, I would never attempt any of this myself.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 12:28PM
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I think I see the scrolls...hard to pick out. I believe the stringers and risers are chestnut, not pine or fir, but not having the opportunity to see up close, that's my best guess.

Very difficult to update a staircase such as this.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 1:08PM
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Saw your other pic on the remodeling forum and I saw the scrolls and the stringers. Yes the stringers are pine or fir, as you say.

You will have to do a lot of redesign and rebuild to get the look you're after. Painting the risers and stringers will change the look some and may give them a new and fresh appearance. Yes, you need to lose the scrolling, in my opinion.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 4:02PM
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I have someone coming out this week to look at the stairs and some other projects I am considering. We'll see what he thinks can be done. Saw some nice round metal balusters and a handrail that I would love to have BUT the spacing on the balusters would be different. Darn.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 8:49PM
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The contractor/woodworker I spoke with today says he can cover the side boards with thin sheets of oak, and scribe them to fit. We talked about getting the stain to match, and he thinks he can get it reasonably close, but if not maybe I will have the steps refinished. We are added new flooring too so the older sections may need to be refinished anyway.

He seems very competent, so I'm hopeful. Now I just have to hold my breath when I see the estimate! We also talked about replacing the railings and balusters with something more contemporary, but I expect that will be too expensive to even consider.

If we do this, I will post an "after" picture.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 7:37PM
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