April 25, 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Installing Hardwood Planks on Staircases

Pattern of Wooden stairs in the house

In 2023, hardwood planks are a must-have in any home, not only for flooring but also as staircases. Although hardwood floors are timeless, durable home improvement projects, installing them for your stairs is another rising trend. Instead of carpeted staircases, learn how to install hardwood strips in this ultimate installation guide. 

Hardwood Planks on Stairs

Nowadays, more homeowners are choosing hardwood planks for their stairs instead of carpet. Like hardwood flooring, hardwood staircases are durable, long-lasting, elegant, and increase your home’s value.

Although installing hardwood staircases is possible, putting them in place requires skill and expertise. Experts recommend homeowners hire professional hardwood installers to avoid unnecessary waste and damage.

1.  Trimming Hardwood Planks to Size and Installing Risers

The first step in installing hardwood planks on staircases is to measure each step separately. Homeowners need to remember four measurements when trimming hardwood planks. One is the thread height and width, the part you stand on. Second is the riser which is the back of each stair, and finally, the overall length and width of the staircase.

When you encounter a staircase with uneven height, fix it by adding ¾ inch to the largest riser height before trimming it to fit. Never cut your planks too short because there’s no quick solution. You may need to get a new plank and start again. It will only add to your wasted materials and additional costs.

For the stairs’ tread planks, purchase pre-finished hardwood boards with rounded edges. Doing this will keep your stairs from looking blocky. Cut the planks large, around an inch larger than your stair, to let them hang over the riser before trimming them to your preferences.

Once you trim the hardwood flooring planks, place each riser against the frames underneath. Your staircase frame should have three parts or stringers. Nail each side of the hardwood strips on each side of the step and in the middle. Get two more nails and hammer them into each stringer.

2. Installing the Tread

Stair treads are the horizontal part of the step you stand on when walking up the staircase. It’s with the riser and is an essential part of any stairs.

When installing the treads, shims or small wedges of wood can become handy for stair repairs. Ensure every tread lays flush and level against the staircase’s riser upon installation. Get your wooden shims from cuttings to help you fill any gaps when leveling the stair tread.

Apply construction adhesive to the staircase and place the tread planks on top. Squeeze the adhesive evenly before cleaning off the excess. Once you remove the extra wood glues, nail the hardwood treads to their corresponding stringers.

3. Installing the Balustrade

Putting up the balustrade is the most difficult and elaborate part of installing hardwood on stairs. Many homeowners lack the skill requirements to do them successfully, and many DIY remodelers leave the installation to professional hardwood installers.

There are many guides on stair baluster, newel, and railing installation, but step-by-step instruction on how to do them is rare. Homeowners should consider hiring an expert to do this part of the process. In doing so, they can ensure their balustrades' safety, quality, and swift completion.

4. Sanding and Finishing Your Hardwood Stairs

After installing your treads, it’s time to sand and finish your hardwood staircase once the construction glue dries. Homeowners with experience in their hardwood floors can follow the refinishing process they do for their hardwood flooring. But if you’re new to the whole thing, here’s how to sand and finish your hardwood stairs to perfection.

When sanding hardwood planks, start by sweeping off every step before sanding them one by one with a sander and different grit sandpapers. You can use a 120-grit if you have painted staircases, but you’ll need coarse sandpaper or 80-grit paper if they’re not. Experts recommend mechanical sanders because they make the process quicker.

Once you have sanded all the planks, thoroughly clean each step with a sweep and a vacuum to remove dirt and sawdust. After cleaning the staircase, prepare your chosen stain and finish before applying them. Applying stains helps your stairs darken significantly, but clear finishes can only offer a slight dim from the hardwood’s natural color.

Choose a stain and finish that fits your interior style and décor. Brush the stain before your wood polish, and always follow the grain, wiping away any excess with a cloth. For those who also plan to sand and finish their balusters, take care of them first to avoid drips.

Installing Hardwood Flooring Planks in Austin Homes

Hardwood planks are not only for hardwood floors and decks. This 2023, more homes are changing their staircases from carpet to hardwood. Like their floor counterparts, people can enjoy numerous benefits by having a hardwood staircase. In this installation guide, DIY remodelers can install their chosen hardwood planks for their stairs.

Contact Kelly Hardwood Floors today for more information about available hardwood planks in Texas.