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Thread: new hardwood stairs over pre-fab staircase - Nail/Glue/Both?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Southern York Co, PA
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    new hardwood stairs over pre-fab staircase - Nail/Glue/Both?

    Guys, we're going to be laying hardwood in most of our house including the stairs.

    The stairs will be fitted with NuStair treads (5/8" thick with nosing/scotia pre-glued on)
    http://www.nustair.com/specs.aspx

    Our supplier suggested that we can use 6 finishing nails per tread, without glue & not have any squeaking issues down the road since that's how his business does it. (The NuStair site says glue and nails.)

    *IF* we did that (nails only), would you guys shoot 15 ga finishing nails at angles, or would 16 ga be sufficient?

    IF we used glue & nails, would 16 ga suffice?

    Do you have any other ideas?

    The stairs are closed, no returns & unfortunately, we cannot get to the underside of the steps or I'd screw up through the existing treads. (Drywall on the other side)

    Either way, it looks like I'm getting a new nail gun...
    Thanks,
    -Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Ogden, UT
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    I use glue only. Mostly construction adhesive, but I use CA on a couple of spots to hold the stair in place til the the construction adhesive dries. On a few occasions a pinner has been necessary where the CA can't to the job. No holes to fill, no worries about squeeking.

  3. #3
    I installed new treads over existing treads about a year ago. I used the PL400 construction adhesive and a few 15ga brads. It's only been a year, but there is no squeaking, yet.

    Squeaking is caused by wood-on-wood movement. I'd think that glue would certainly do SOMETHING to help reduce that.

  4. #4
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    You should use construction adhesive and the six nails. 16 gauge is fine. I assume you are installing new risers as well. The tread goes on first, so shoot your three back nails where the next riser will cover them. If the treads are pre finished, use a fill stick or crayon type fill stick to fill your nail holes.

    You must avoid liquid nails as an adhesive, it is a water base and will cup the treads. Stick with PL subfloor adhesive.

    You will also need some way to scribe the new treads, it is very unlikely that your two stringers are parallel to each other. I use a stair gauge, but you can make something for a one time use. If you just cut your treads square you will be disappointed with the results.

    http://www.amazon.com/Wheaton-Tools-.../dp/B0000224Q2

    Richard
    Last edited by Richard Wolf; 02-05-2010 at 7:54 PM.
    Richard

    Wooden Railings by Richard & Son

  5. #5
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    +1 for nails and glue. Thats what I used on my house, no squeaks.

  6. #6
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    What do the nails accomplish when compared to construction adhesive? I can agree nailing under the riser but why create nail holes in your visible space? The holding power of three brads is insignificant compared to the glue.

  7. #7
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    I am a strong believer in , when you glue two things together, you should use clamps until the bond is set. I feel that the nails, put in with my helper standing on the tread and shot in at an angle, will act as the best I can do without using clamps. Small nail holes to be filled is a small price to pay for the good adhesion.
    Plus it is unlikely you can keep the homeowner of the stairs until the PL sets.

    Richard
    Richard

    Wooden Railings by Richard & Son

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Southern York Co, PA
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    Thanks guys! I was leaning towards the PL 400 or PL Premium with nails, but having some validation of my thoughts is great.

    Richard, I've long admired your superb work & expertise shared here. It's very much appreciated. I've already purchased 'The Tread Template' from Collins Tool Company.

    I think I might even go to the Borg to get a SYP tread to practice with.

    Thanks again - pics in a couple of weeks when this project really gets going.

    In the meantime, we're digging out of the 2nd blizzard of 2010 & I'm *SO* thankful for the snow blower my MIL gave us for Christmas.
    -Mike

  9. #9
    I hate squeaks. They drive me absolutely batty. I recently tore out a set of stairs and rebuilt them because they had a squeak I failed to find and correct after many attempts. No matter how well you attach the new flooring to the old, if the stringers have any flex to them whatsoever, you will have squeaks. Id address that first and make sure they are hell for stout and do not flex.

    Id use screws and PL or low expansion foam insulation. Nails do not pull wood together. If you insist on using nails, use ring shanked decking nails and drive them in by hand or with a manual floor nailer. Pneumatic drives the nails in too fast. Most builders who cater to the higher end home construction use glue and screws for decking. Many have started to use foam instead of adhesive. The stuff sticks like crazy and fills voids well.

  10. #10
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    Richard, I am sure you have some years on me with experience so I value your opinion. Have you ever not used brads and wished you had? Solvent based construction adhesive tacks fast and holds well within minutes of application. I completely agree in using a clamping mechanism, but that for me is simply a faster setting glue. Like I said above I use cyanoacrylate and accelerator to achieve that. I have not had a problem not using brads, so I guess to each his own.

    Have you ever used hot glue? And I am not talking about the ladies craft store stuff. It takes a high wattage gun to get enough glue out fast enough but it holds as strong as anything I have ever seen. On my next stair project I am going to test a couple spots of hot glue as the "clamping" mechanism until the construction adhesive sets. Hot glue combines gap filling and quick setting properties, whereas with cyanoacrylate you have to have good surface to surface contact for it to work well.
    Last edited by Glen Butler; 02-06-2010 at 7:01 PM.

  11. #11
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    Glen, I'm not sure that the nails are needed. My feeling is it really can't hurt and I leave the job site with a little more confidence that things will stay where I put them.

    I distribute Nu Stairs treads for Ideal Stair Parts on Long Island and feel that when I install them I should do it by the book. They are not as big a seller as you would think, because they are too expensive.

    I have tried hot glue, I seems like any fast setting glue should always be a plus, but their limitation is that the hot glue always leaves a layer of glue, you never seem to get the wood to wood contact that makes a good looking joint. Of course when gluing something like tread covers, it may work great.

    I know that solvent base adhesives do kick off quickly, but sometimes a joint between say, a prefinished tread and an old finished stair, the solvents can't vent fast enough, and it's like leaving the adhesive in the tube, it never sets up, or at least it takes a long time.

    I'm a also sure you are talented enough to find ways that work for you, and like making a dovetail joint, everyone has a way to do it.

    Best of luck.

    Richard
    Richard

    Wooden Railings by Richard & Son

  12. #12
    5 years ago I did my stairs and used PL400 sub floor adhesive and 18 ga finish nails at the back where they were covered by the riser. No squeaks so far. Make your own stair gage and save the $125.

    Here is an example of one http://home.comcast.net/~dyrgcmn/Odd...rCovering.html

    I have borrowed my cousins homemade stair tread tool. Basically what he made was two equelateral triangles connected by a straight piece, that had slots cut on each end so you could adjust it to the risers. It was made from 1/4 inch tempered hardboard. Each leg of the triangle was about 14" long. Couple flat head screws and wing-nuts. The whole thing cost about $20 in materials and about half hour to make.

    Another way of cutting threads
    http://www.woodworkingbuzz.com/forum...hread.php?t=71

  13. #13
    Home depot now carries a stair tread gauge tool made of hard plastic for around 20 bucks.

    http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/cata...gry=Search+All

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