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I am working on the final step of finishing my kitchen. We replaced the tile with 3/4" maple hardwood floor. I now need to floor the landing and two stairs between.

I am not sure the best way to go about it. I have stair nose pieces, but the stairs already have a nose that is deeper than 3/4" (picture attached below). As it is, I wouldn't be able to get the vertical hardwood surface at the back of the stair to meet the overhanging horizontal surface stair nose piece.

Does anyone know why I could not cut off the existing stair nose?

If for some reason I cannot, would adding plywood to the riser to make it flush with the front of the nose be ok, or would that cause an unknown problem that I haven't thought of.

Thanks in advance!

picture of hardwood floor pieces on original rough stairs

2 Answers 2

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If you are not opposed to cutting off the existing nose, it would be the best solution. Since you are adding 3/4" outward to the riser that would even the stair tread depth back to the original dimension.

It would make for a much cleaner look as well.

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Either solution would seem to be viable, but removing the nosings is probably the more precise way to do it, and it's probably quicker. It's unlikely that a uniform 3/4" board will bring the risers flush to the treads. You'd have to shim them out individually. You also want the wood under your new nosings square and clean for best support and adhesion.

  1. Carefully transfer the location of the riser plane to the top of the tread.

  2. Make a plunge cut1 to the outside of the line with a circular saw set to full depth2. Watch the blade to be sure it's riding the face of the riser.

  3. If the tread grain is fairly straight and parallel, crack the nosing off now. Clean up any protruding wood with a sharp chisel and hammer. If the grain is angled or odd, finish with a jigsaw or reciprocating saw. Do your best to keep things square.

Before you do any of that, though:

  1. Screw your treads down well with 3" gold screws to anchor them and eliminate noise.

  2. Check for squeaks. If any are troublesome, pull the riser and reinstall with heavy duty construction adhesive underneath.

I'd use plenty of adhesive for your new parts, too. Nosings take a lot of strain, and you want them solid.


1 Plunge cuts can be dangerous. The blade can crawl backward or bind and kick up suddenly. Brace well and keep yourself and objects out of the area behind the saw. Keep the front edge of the saw table down tight to the tread to keep the blade square (the first cut should be with the saw inboard). Work through slowly.

2 I suggest full depth to cut as far as possible toward the wall. You may prefer to cut shallower and then cut more wood with your alternative saw. Do what works for you and your situation.

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    Top tip: don’t use your nicest fanciest blade in the saw: you’re likely to find some nails. Sep 15, 2023 at 20:52
  • And while I see what you’re going for with the full depth blade, I’d probably run it just a bit deeper than the nosing to minimize damage to the riser if the saw goes off a bit. If you cut and discover that the stair is a bit overbite-y, you can go back and do over. Sep 15, 2023 at 20:54
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    I would recommend against doing a plunge cut unless you have sufficient experience with a circular saw. While they may be easy for experienced carpenters this is not something to be practiced in a tight area where body parts are at stake. Upvoted because the rest of the info is solid advise.
    – matt.
    Sep 16, 2023 at 2:49
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    Don't necessarily need to plunge cut—you can probably just shave off the nose gradually from the outside. I also wouldn't be terribly concerned about a little damage to the riser—unless something catastrophic happens, any small bites will easily be covered up by the hardwood planks.
    – Huesmann
    Sep 16, 2023 at 12:47

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