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I'm trying to give my stairs a facelift. I've removed carpet and this is what's left.

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My original intention was to stain. But it doesn't look like that's gonna be possible.

My question is what should I do with the risers. Below each nosing there's a 1 inch gap I can possibly do something/put.

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  • The fact is that these stairs were never meant to do anything other than hold carpet. The construction and choice of materials is not really salvageable for painted or stained stairs. – JPhi1618 Oct 29 '19 at 18:06
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I think I would put a veneer on as suggested by JACK, but would then paint the stairs. Mine are white pine, which are also a soft wood, but they seem fine. Also if painting, the veneer could be a less expensive type instead of oak. Also paint is a lot more forgiving than stain. For example, you can fill and calk the gaps. I painted mine. They had carpet on them and when we pulled it off there were cracks, gaps, and even surface nails, in the top of the treads. I calked, filled, etc. and then painted them with two different colors. The treads are oil based porch and floor paint from Lowes. Here's how they turned out. enter image description here

  • Wonderful suggestion! – Master Oct 29 '19 at 1:46
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You could cover the risers with 1/4" plywood with an oak veneer, sand it and then stain it to match the railing. Any plans for the actual steps?

Here's a picture of the veneer from home depot:

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  • Could you possibly send me a home Depot link? I also plan to stain the steps but I'm being told it might be difficult. There's paint and varnish on-top of the current steps. That I think is spruce. Any tips? – Master Oct 28 '19 at 23:52
  • homedepot.com/p/… – JACK Oct 29 '19 at 0:09
  • Spruce is a soft wood and the treads (steps) will not hold up well when uncovered. – Mattman944 Oct 29 '19 at 0:40

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