The builder of our 10 year old house did us a favor and installed hardwood treads and risers, but since we didn't pay for them, carpeted them over. I want to rip up the carpet and understand how to easily finish the hardwood treads, but what do I do with the first two large landing pieces which transition from the first floor hardwoods to where the actual steps with risers begin? They are particle board covered with carpet. Do I rip them out and replace with hardwood or can I put hardwood on top of the particle board and finish that? Not sure what to do there. The first floor and stairs are site finished white oak and would like them all to match. Thanks!!!
May 30, 2012, 04:29 PM
You're likely to find that there will be tackstrips either nailed or glued to your hardwood stair treads.
You see, the way you install carpet on stairs is to install two pieces of tack strips where the back of each stair tread meets the stair riser. Those tack strips will each have their pins pointed toward the corner where the tread meets the corner, and that's what holds the carpet in place; like this:
So, if you're just wanting to remove the carpet and refinish the hardwood, be prepared to deal with wooden tack strips either nailed, glued or screwed to the hardwood stair treads.
I really can't think of any way to fill nail or screw holes in hardwood so that they don't show.
There are wax filler sticks that you can use to fill holes in wood. Those sticks come in different colours, so you'd have to refinish the hardwood first, and then moosh molten wax into the holes afterward, but it's gonna be visible.
Also, hardwood is likely to split if you drive a nail into it, or drive a screw into it without predrilling a hole for the screw shank first. So, it's very possible that some of the threads and risers are split as well.
And, finally, it's customary to staple underpad down on each tread before installing the carpet, and so be prepared to remove staples from your hardwood treads that will be holding the underpad down. You might be able to get away with filling the tiny staple holes with some wood filler, tho.
But, I'm half thinking that if you remove the carpeting from those steps, your next decision won't be how to refinish the hardwood, but who to phone to install new carpeting on those steps. That's cuz the hardwood you'll be looking at will be full of staple and nail or screw holes from installing the underpad and tack strips.
If the carpet and underpad are glued down, and the tack strips were glued down too, you might be able to remove the tackstrips, underpad and glue without harming the hardwood, but since gluing the tack strips and underpad down would have required time for the glue to cure, most likely nails or screws and staples were used to save time.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Nestor,