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I have a staircase that was carpeted. Decided to remove the carpet and sand/stain the hardwood treads below, but the top 4 treads are particle board. When trying to remove the particle board treads for replacement, noticed that they were glued. Tried to pry up the board (little success) but couldn't feel any stringers underneath.

I suspect I have a prefab staircase, and am wondering if these can even be replaced, or if I need to look into stair cap options?

UPDATE:

Ok, so a few more photos below. I took a look underneath with a boroscope, and it looks like both the tread and a 2x2 are inset into the wall-stringer, which also has a trim-cap on top (apologize for the lack of correct technical terms).

Am thinking that I could cut the tread and 2x2 flush with the wall, nail/screw a 2x4 to the runner board, and use that as a means to attach the tread. Would this make sense from a structural perspective? enter image description here

The plywood piece is the bottom of the stair tread, and the square board appears to be a ledger in-set into the stringer. The white portion is the underside of the white "stringer cap" you see in the second image. The stuff in the bottom portion is a sheetrock undercarriage over the top of a closet.

enter image description here

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I can't really tell what I'm seeing in your screen image, but I think your plan is reasonable. If the stringer isn't tall enough to add the individual 2x4 ledgers you describe, you could use steel angles bolted to it.

Were it my project, though, I'd be cutting the treads out and building three new stringers, using the existing setup as a pattern and adjusting for any variation in tread thickness. I'd cut them out of 2x12 or LVL stock and fasten them in place, using construction adhesive at all joints to add stiffness and prevent noise. It's not difficult and then you have a staircase built to high quality standards.

  • Would you cut out the whole staircase, or just run "partial" stringers down the section to be replaced? I'm trying to avoid taking out the lower ~2/3 of the staircase, if possible. What would you think about screwing a partial stringer into the existing runners on the side for more support? I'm worried that if I cut the tread and existing ledger, that I might not have enough surface to screw into with just a 2x4 ledger... – T. Medlin Dec 8 '16 at 18:18
  • To try to give a bit more depth to the screenshot, the plywood piece is the bottom of the stair tread, and the square board appears to be a ledger in-set into the stringer. The white portion is the underside of the white "stringer cap" you see in the second image. The stuff in the bottom portion is a sheetrock undercarriage over the top of a closet. – T. Medlin Dec 8 '16 at 18:21
  • I think that's a possible fix. I didn't catch that we were only looking at the upper portion of the staircase. You could put a header at the bottom of that stretch to carry a center stringer, but it's maybe not worth it. If it's worked to this point with two stringers it should continue to work. – isherwood Dec 8 '16 at 18:44

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