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Filling the Gaps: Stair Remodel

21 June 2011

In case you want to follow along, check out these posts too:  The PlanPart 1Part 2 and Part 3

If you remember the last time we talked "stairs", we were left with these huge gaps on the side of each stair- ugh!  I have seen people handle theses gaps in a number of ways.  One that sticks out in my mind is covering it with moldings and sort of wrapping the molding around the stair nose etc.  

But I have to admit, I was not a huge fan of the finished look, and I usually LOVE moldings.  But wrapping them just seemed like an after thought, and one of my main wants for our stairs, is that they look like they had always been done properly.  Which means we had to do a little more deconstruction before hand.  (You don't call me Remodelaholic for nothing!)

When we cleaned up the stairs, we took off each tread and sanded and routed the nose.  Then put them back in place with some screws for a temporary hold.   Later as we finished the project they would be easy to remove when necessary but we could still walk up and down safely -just a little tip in case you are trying this at home, until you are DONE don't re-glue and nail yet!

Anyway, to fill the gap we started off by adding a diagonal molding that runs just above the nose of each stair tread from the bottom stair to the top.  This created a triangular space above the stair support.  Which meant all we had left to do was fill that space.  We (meaning Justin- good thing someone is really patient in this family!) carefully measured each triangle that was left below the molding and cut out a piece of MDF to fill it up.



Nailed in place it looked like this(below).  We also traded out the molding we had in the pictures above to a simple basically rectangular molding to simplify the profile.

We had to trim or straighten the cuts on some of the treads, but for the most part, this little triangular molding, just filled the existing huge gaps.

When they were all nailed in place, I caulked any gaps, and we installed the risers (even though they will be covered) and painted a few coats of white paint.

Then we screwed the treads back in place  (so we could still move them later if we needed to!) 
Finally it looked like this:

And do you want to see a preview of the next post or two?  I am just giddy to almost have this done after 2 years!  By the way, in the picture below, Etta does this new thing.  When I say "Smile"  
she closes her eyes really tight it is pretty funny!

For the rest of the story, check out these posts too: The PlanPart 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6 and Part 7

Remodelaholic is written by Cassity and Justin.  Cassity has a degree in interior design and Justin is a landscape architect, so we adore everything that makes up a HOME!  We love to share home remodeling ideas and projects we’re working on. From huge kitchen renovation ideas to small bathroom remodels, there isn’t anything we won't try to tackle (at least once!).  We are in the midst of our third whole home renovation, so there should be a lot more inspiration coming your way.  We hope that you will stop by often for home design inspiration, tutorials, interior design tips, delicious recipes and what is going on in our family life.

If you like this post please check out these other project updates:


laxsupermom June 21, 2011 at 7:32 PM  

Your stairs are looking so good! Love how you covered the gaps! I'm not a big fan of the wrapped around molding either. It looks like an oops cover. Your solution looks terrific! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous,  June 21, 2011 at 7:50 PM  

omg these stairs have me drooling! the color of the stain you used is AHHHMAZING!

Catherine June 21, 2011 at 7:59 PM  

Oooh that last pic is ahhhmazing!! Can't wait for the next update. :)

MrsTerri June 22, 2011 at 7:22 AM  

I had to show your photos to my husband! I LOVE how you have completed the stairs!! Good idea about filling in the gaps. Such a better idea.

Anonymous,  July 23, 2011 at 12:39 PM  

I think your photos were key to telling your story, and you did a great job. I have to agree that Justin has lots of patience to deconstruct, re-finish and reinstall the steps plus the new side trim pieces too, which even builders cheat ... which we've learned the hard way with my handyman business.

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