The boards of the floor that was installed by a contractor were supposed to be perpendicular to the steps of the stairs. I have a nose piece that I now have to install to finish the floor toward the stairs but it seems that the stairs are not square with anything :-) (Well what and when was anything ever square in a house :-)) ) In the picture below you can see the issue and the context. This is the nose piece at the top of the stairs and there is a ~3/8" gap between the riser and the nose piece at the end closer to the viewer in the first picture.

I am looking for a way to deal with this

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If I try to cut it (taper it) on the edge facing the floor, I think it is going to look uneven since the viewer will have a reference line (the other long edge of the nose piece) and it won't look square with the floor lines.

I looked to see what is not square there and it seems that first step below the floor level and its risers were not installed square with the wall to the right of the stairs as you look at stairs from downstairs. The fix seems to be to remove that step and cut it in such a way that would allow the riser to come forward to support the floor and the nose piece and to close that gap. BTW it is 1/2" not 1/4" as I believed.

So cut the blue piece, move the riser forward per the white arrow and then add some filler material at the top to support the nose piece.

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The other way I can handle this (which I think it is the easiest) is to shave the wood from the wider end as shown in the picture below (the white line), and then make the nose piece piece narrower to fit in the newly created space.

The nose piece has a groove for a spline on that edge toward the floor end and so do the floor boards. The plan was to use glue and a spline there. I will have to use my router for that to rebuild that groove which will be cut.

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This would be simpler than what I initially suggested but it has the inconvenience that I will have to level whatever blade marks will be left in the riser by the blade of the compact saw that I will be using for this. I could probably set the depth of the blade to the thickness of that piece and then use an electric plane or a hand plane to kind of level the things.

  • You have several viable options here and seem to have a grasp of the implications of each. What's the question? You know best which is going to be preferrable because you're standing there.
    – isherwood
    Aug 9, 2023 at 16:38
  • Looking for better easer options if there are any. On paper everything is possible. When you proceed you might run into problems that you have not anticipated because of lack of experience. So I am looking for these things
    – MiniMe
    Aug 9, 2023 at 17:21
  • Sure. My initial thought was that the right fix is to cut back the flooring as needed, but you raised the possibility of shifting the riser out. That's definitely worth looking into further if it doesn't result in a visual skew on its tread. Beyond that I feel like I'd almost need to see and touch the thing to say more. Nice drawings, btw. I wish I could do that more easily.
    – isherwood
    Aug 9, 2023 at 18:32
  • I don't suppose "get the contractor's butt back there and make him do the floor properly" is one of your options?
    – Huesmann
    Aug 10, 2023 at 14:10
  • Well I told him not to install that piece because I need to put a post there and I needed to reinforce and look at what what there. He was not contracted to install the posts and puting the nose piece in place would have denied me the option to properly prepare the base for the post (I had to cut from the side the drywall and some 2x4 filling that was used by whoever installed the old post. That person just used a 1" dowel sunk into the floor like 1.5" to connect the post to the floor.
    – MiniMe
    Aug 10, 2023 at 16:04

1 Answer 1


If were me, and if you have a router, I would make a half lap cut in the ends of the flooring that is tapered to nothing with a straight edge and make the same cut to the nosing to correspond with the one on the flooring. The nosing can be cut with a tablesaw for that matter and the same all the way through. To cut the floor, I use a piece of plywood with a factory edge, wide enough for me to kneel on so it will not shift while I make the cut.

  • I wish I could do that. I do have the tools but I am not sure how the floor pieces will react to cutting. This is the entrance in the house and I want this to look clean. Any cutting of the floor will misalign things as the floor line is aligned with the end of the small wall at the top right end of the stairs. If I push the nose piece in to reduce the gap at the front the nose piece will protrude and it will obviously look bad since does not align and it is not square on that wall. The best fix here must come from the end where the things were done wrong. Anyother way will aggravate it
    – MiniMe
    Aug 9, 2023 at 20:49

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