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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello,

I'm seeking to update my terrible carpeted stairs. I'm on a tight budget and since the staircase is oddly shapped - I was hoping to just custom cut the new treads from a couple medium density MDF sheets (0.75-in x 49-in x 8ft) - but when it comes to nosing the treads - I've hit a complete wall.

Even trim that I could use in replacement of the typical over-priced nosing trim will put me waaaaay over budget. So I was wondering if it was possible to route the outward-facing edge of each MDF tread to be rounded? Creating the nose just from the rounded edge?

Images of my staircase below - You can see why the treads will have to be more custom...

Also - if anyone has any words of warning or better ideas on how to pull this off, please by all means let me know! I'm pretty new to flipping spaces and have limited experience - so any knowledge you can share would be nothing but appreciated :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Planned to prime, paint, and seal them.

I can see your point about it possible not being thick enough - I'm not even quite sure what is under the stairs I have as far as wood or what the treads would attach to.

Do you think the Bullnose Stair tread you linked to could be used on some of my more oddly shapped stairs? Given the width of some of the oddly shapped treads I have - I'd obviously have to layer that board to fill the space.

It's also worth mentioning that this is a rental property of mine that guests only spend 3 days in at a time and the majority of that they are out skiing or hiking depending on the season. So the stairs don't usually get much use until guests are ready to go to sleep.
 

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Not knowing what's beneath the tread makes giving absolute how-to advice a bit tricky, but I don't see why there'd be a problem with using that stuff on all the treads. Lots of wastage though.
 

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John
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Hello and welcome to the router forum.
My suggestion to you would be saving little more money and buy decent stairs threads MDF has no strength if get wet it will swell, I am almost sure that front the step would crumble or break off, this would be a bad use of MDF
Lot uses for MDF but this not one of them
 
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I wouldn't use MDF in that application - it's basically fibers held together with glue - as John stated above, if it gets wet it will swell and possibly crumble. Using it for stairs treads in a rental property is inviting liability for someone's possible injury. This isn't the place to try to save some money.
 

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Last year I needed to replace my stair treads and, being low on funds, decided to use 3/4" pine, which I think is stronger than MDF. They are now cracked in several places and are no where as wide as yours are. My suggestion, for what it's worth, would be to make those treads out of at least 3/4" plywood, and then carpet the stairs. I would be afraid to use MDF.
 

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The ndf might be strong enough since only 1 to 1.5 inches are exposed. It can be bought in 1" thick sheets but I'm not sure what the price difference is. My concern would be how well they hold up over time. When I built mine I used 3/4 OSB sub floor sheets. That was 25 to 30 years ago and they have held up with no issues. Of course osb is ugly as hell and painting it doesn't help. Mine got carpeted over.
 

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That picture Dan referred to is mis-nomered, that shows a picture of Stran board and a world of difference to MDF
Mdf would deffinitely sag on you. I would recommend 5/4 solid wood or 1 18" plywood. both can be bull nosed with a router.

You are going to have to open up the back of the staircase to get to the back to nail/screw the riser board to the back edge of the tread also.
The cheapest way to go would be to recarpet the stairs.


Herb

From a liability standpoint in a rental in a ski area, carpet would be best and figure on replacing every couple of years. Just saying.
 

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Good catch on the OSB, Herb! I noticed it in the pic but didn't react to the discrepancy.
I still stick to my guns on the minimum thickness though...not 3/4" of anything.
Wet boots on painted treads is an accident looking for a place to happen!
Stair runners at the very least.
 

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Rental property in ski country....replace carpet with a commercial grade carpet that will stand up to abuse. Like the other poster(s) said any kind of wood will get beaten and be slippery especially when a renter skier or hiker walks on them with wet shoes.....unless you put down anti slip treads. No MDF for this. What do the other houses in the area have on their stairs?
 

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Good catch on the OSB, Herb! I noticed it in the pic but didn't react to the discrepancy.
I still stick to my guns on the minimum thickness though...not 3/4" of anything.
Wet boots on painted treads is an accident looking for a place to happen!
Stair runners at the very least.
I agree with both Dan, 3/4" is too thin, and painted is too slippery. Can you visualize a half boozed guy jumping from landing to landing with ski boots on?
Herb
 

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You mentioned in your second post that you're not sure what the current treads are. Why not pull some carpet back and find out what is under it then get back to us?
 
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I don't understand why you want to change them at all. It's a rental property and as you said most only spend 2-3 days there and most of that they are not in the house. Why would they even notice the stairs?

The most important points made by others is safety and whether they are likely to walk up the stairs in ski boots (I have always taken mine of at the front door!). If your guests don't do this then carpet is a good idea as it will absorb the water on the soles and avoid slipping and having accidents on the stairs. Your insurers may bilk at paying out for an accident if you don't have a non-slip surface on the stairs of a ski rental house.

When I consider expenditure on a rental or resale the most important question is how much more will I get in return for the expenditure.If that doesn't meet the "business case" don't spend the money.
 
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