Build a Master Bath Using Cultured Marble Dear Pat: I want to add a second full bathroom to my house. I want to use materials that are easy to clean, so I am considering cultured marble instead of tile. Is it durable, and how do I install it? — Sissy G. Dear Sissy: Ceramic tile is the …Read more. Which Is the Best Circular Saw Blade for Various Projects Dear Pat: I plan to do a project that requires power saws, but the blades are old. I went to get new ones, but I do not know how many teeth the saw blades should have. Are the ones with more teeth better? — Abbey T. Dear Abbey: People …Read more. How to Add an Extra Room Over a Garage Dear Pat: I need some additional living space for my family and for an apartment in which my parents will live someday. I was thinking of adding a room above my two-car garage. Is this a feasible project, and how should I design it? — Jen D. …Read more. How to Use Glue and Clamps Properly Dear Pat: I am making some cabinets for my kid's playroom to save a few dollars. I plan to use glue instead of screws to assemble them. What is the best glue to use, and what types of clamps should I get? — Janet W. Dear Janet: For the nicest, …Read more.more articles
Finish Stairway Yourself Like a Professional
Dear Pat: I am having a second stairway from the kitchen roughed in. It has a full wall on one side and half way down the other. I want to finish it myself. What is the most attractive way to do this? — Carolyn F.
Dear Carolyn: Installing a second stairway from the kitchen the second floor is becoming more common in homes. These are the stairs that the children will use most often so they don't wear out the main stairway. Dirty little pounding shoes can wear out carpeted or hardwood stairs quickly.
Even though the new stairway will be in the kitchen, not the front foyer, you still want it to be reasonably attractive. Using hardwood on the lower stairs with the open side and then fully carpeted stairs the rest of the way up would look nice.
Inform the carpenter you will be adding a hardwood layer on the lower stairs so thinner lumber is used there. It is important the vertical distance between each step is identical or people will likely stumble on the stairs.
The first, and one of the most difficult tasks, is to make the skirt boards for the stairway. These are the trim boards, usually made from 1x12 lumber, which are notched to fit over the stairs and against the walls.
There will be one skirt board along the long wall. Another will be on the inside of the stairway along the short wall, and then another below the stairs on the outside. Your existing stairway will most likely be trimmed this way, so inspect it to get a good understanding of the components.
Cut other pieces of 1-inch-thick lumber to close and finish the vertical opening between each step.
The risers will be longer for the lower open portion of the stairway. Once all the pieces are mitered, loosely screw the skirt boards to the rough stairway framing and hold the risers in position. It may take a few tries with the saw to get the mitered ends to fit properly, so don't get discouraged.
When you feel everything will fit together, nail the skirt board to the stairway framing. Position the skirt board slightly below the thread (horizontal step). This ensures the stress from a person's weight is carried by the thread and not the skirt board. If the skirt board ends up supporting a person walking up the stairs, the mitered corner joints may begin to open up.
Attach the vertical risers to the stairway framing to close in the stairs. Use a gap-filling type of construction adhesive to bond the risers to the framing. At the visible miter joints at the ends, use standard wood glue for a cleaner look. Nail the risers to the framing, and allow the adhesive time to cure.
Finish the lower threads with a layer of attractive hardwood. This will require an additional hardwood trim strip around the edge of the hardwood and a short return piece around the skirt board. To simplify this, Young Manufacturing, (800) 646-6595, makes threads with preinstalled returns. Cover the stairs with carpet, and they are ready to use.
Send your questions to Here's How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com. To find out more about Pat Logan and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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