Finish nail the skirt to the wall again, leaving the nails proud for easy removal. Once that was complete I transferred the template to my mdf board by tapping and spray painting the outline of the template onto the board. This enables you to “flex” the skirt a little to install it and also to nail directly through the skirt into the nosing, pulling it tight. Scribing the skirts are most useful on renovations and remodels. Next, I temporarily tack the outside skirt into place so that I can use the template without accidentally shifting the skirt board. I’m sorry I missed responding to your question. If you didn’t and set it for anything less when you cut the scribe line the board would not “reach” into the deepest depressions of the stone wall but be stopped by that fartherest point. James, There are better and more efficient ways to build stairs. Took all day to fix….oh dang the back pain of going up and down 20 steps all day long…. I ended up using my table saw to cut my own of the current molding I already had. Depending on the rise/run and size of the original board, you may have to rip some material off the top edge. It makes the line of sight into the joints more forgiving then staring straight at you when you walk up the stairs. Then I will take 2 short 1×4 and butt them them against each side of the tread against the stringer and run two short screws into the long board. On long runs i do your method above. The difference in riser heights will not matter if you follow the instructions. I’ve worked with men who held information “close to their chest” – it wasn’t enjoyable. Shawn, Just thinking out loud I believe I would have scribed a cardboard or Luan template and after I had a tight fit then overlaid it over the panels, possibly with them laying on the floor. Stair brack-ets and other ornamental attachments can also be added for aesthetic appeal. Before he would try to beat the first guiy, using the same method I would stop him. The scriber stays the same all the way along the stone wall. Choose from our high-quality boards made of 17 different wood species. It’s also pretty surprising how much material you can get free if you’re willing to scrounge through a lumber yards dumpster.Often once or twice a year when they do inventory they throw away all kinds of stuff that you wouldn’t be able to afford to let students practice on if you had to pay for it. I found I had to use the depth of the tread in order to get the scribed lines for the riser and tread to intersect properly at the base of the triangular cut-out. Lindsey, Evan. Thanks again. You’re spot on: it’s a one time event. If you don’t use the largest dimension in each case there will be a triangular void on your scribed skirt in the corner where the tread meets riser. I don’t think you can beat a handsaw for accuracy. The carpets, cabinets, appliances, and all finish walls were installed before the problem was discovered. It is surprising how few handsaws you see on jobs anymore. I sent Gary simple pencil line sketches and Todd made them look great. You may not be able to use skirt boards on both sides of your stair, depending on it's placement in your home. It was a really “fun” project that turned out much better than I had anticipated – thanks for a great article! I’m pretty stuck on this method and am a finished carpenter. Whatever that number is, add 2″ to it and that will give you a sufficiently wide board to use as a skirt board. You don’t mention whether you have skirt boards in place now. Outdoor external staircases exterior wooden staircases in Iroko hardwood Stairplan are manufacturers of quality staircases , specialising in stairs we offer a unrivaled service, Spacesaver Staircases, Spiral Staircases Winder Staircases, Staircase Layout Drawings Online. Norm, Scribing a skirt board is no different than scribing anything else, just a little more daunting when you first look at it. In SC, the standard, by-and-large, has been: site-built stairs with strings installed by the framer, and the finish stairs installed by the trim carpenter or stair builder who comes in after the fact. So I followed your directions and after scribing the treads and having marked the angle of the board for realignment and then cutting off the bottom tread mark (which is actually the floor) and aligning the board back on the wall the two top tread scribe marks didn’t line up. I’ve built two sets of deck stairs since I found this site, and I used story poles to nail the riser heights to near an eighth inch of variance. rip saws. what a great technique!!!! During one of the sessions, an audience member raised his hand and said: “I’m sure it can be done, but for the time it’s going to take, and with the fit you’re going to end up with, it’s much better to install the skirt first!”. Thanks Andrew, I hope your project went well. Kerry, Wood expand/contracts so I’m not understanding why wood reads would be any different? The material easiest/least costly material to come by is pine but I’ve cut skirt boards out of oak and poplar as well. is good. Norm: thank you very much for such a clear explanation and great diagrams. They could have open risers on one or both sides, with bullnosed bottom treads, could accommodate any wall thickness, and be any width and species of wood that you specified. Thanks Norm. If you see anything else that you’d recommend, I’d greatly appreciate it. What a great heritage! Hartley, There are jigs available for the job or you can make one that will speed the process. I’m also in my sixties, and when I was forty, I was turned down at a high end jobsite because I was too young. Every time I read one of these articles or an issue from JLC I learn something that can help me to manage the small construction business we have. Our Amish stair parts are 100% authentic “true Amish-made.” As a cornerstone of sustainability, Amish-made means exactly that. Johnny, 1). Thanks for the info. There are several ways to accomplish the task when pre-fabrication in a shop is not an option. It’s the same principle as starting the base or crown at the far end of the room and fitting to it. option. Paddy. At a JLC Live stair building seminar taught by Jed Dixon, I talked with Jed and Don Jackson (editor of JLC) about installing skirt boards and how I was taught to install the treads and risers first, and then scribe the skirts over the top of them. One advantage that I’ve found in scribing the skirt over the treads and risers is that the joint between the skirt and the finish stairs is not staring you in the face as you walk up the steps. Norm, And THANK YOU DAVID COLLINS! Now we can find a carpenter who is up to this task and make our stairway look the way we imagined. If you drill it you have to center the hole precisely, hope the nosing is a perfect radius and risk tearout with the drill bit. That’s one of the reasons carpet is installed after finish carpentry and painting etc. That was quite a heritage for a young man like me who had no background building whatsoever to be exposed to. I wish I could take credit for it. The treads will not shrink enough in the length direction to make a difference. I would run the base unto the stair skirt ending it with a return just short of the inside corner of the stair skirt. There’s a little bit of juggling to get it all correct. How hard would it be to find a base top molding that matches my current base molding? That's precisely what you should have done. Saw your article online and got excited because it looked easy. I appreciate the elegant simplicity and common sense involved in your method and I will use it on my next project that requires it. Score and snap off and lay the strips against the treads and risers. Note I ended up cutting kerfs into the board to allow it to bend, I did this instead of buying Flex Wood which was priced at $24 a foot (ouch). I don’t recall a problem with any of them. The base cap adds the finishing touch. I worked for a builder and they were our biggest competition. thanks for the great help !!! Like you I use a 1×12. Excellent stairs are made in the details. Rob, 5 to 6 steps or less, especially when say there is just a starter step and then a landing. The students could make all the mistakes they were inevitably going to make without the pressure of costly material expense. I would encourage you to find a carpenter who has experience in stairbuilding. Do you have an opinion which way is better? Thanks again! I had to work with three panels for each side and butt the panels together along with the stair tread rise, runs, and nosings When you set your countertop on the base cabinets you line up the front edge parallel with the face of the base cabinet top rails, push the top against the wall and set your scriber distance to the furtherest distance that the top will have to reach in order that the entire length of the top will fit after you’ve cut it. My stair treads protrude past the railing and when we replaced the carpeting, it was easy to see the finish dry wall was not done all the way to the treads and it looks terrible. Always. If it goes well for you you could remove the skirts, install treads and risers and rescribe the skirts. I’m a hobbyist and approaching my first skirt scribe job… for my own house. The basecap on the stair should be the basecap detail on the base. I’m ok with a jigsaw and am afraid of the round cuts for the nosing referred to in your article. It looks outstanding. Don’t get me wrong. And by doing so, the tread heights don’t match their original scribed positions? It should be more forgiving than hardwood. The installation time is reduced with this method, since only the skirt board will need to be cut accurately. It’s great to hear of an organization of people willing to sacrifice to do the rifght thing. It taught me something. The standard in PA was to pre-order the stairs once the total rise from finish floor to finish floor was known. Any 1x material should be fine as long as it’s straight. Again, it’s important to hold the scriber level as you work your way up the flight. They were about 2″ higher than the floor at the top and the top tread. In both instances you’re working with hard surfaces. Norm Yeager, A carpenter friend send me this link with a note how well this worked when he cut a skirt board this weekend. The last bib job I did had some 46′, 6000# timber trusses. Walls both sides with drywall . HI Mr. That allows enough flex in the skirt to slide it into place and also enough material above the nosing to wrap carpet (if the stairs are carpeted) around the tread. Ok, I had to get this done so I couldn’t fiddle around all week figuring out what went wrong. Please tell me I am wrong and explain how this is compensated for. So, re-scribe, vertical, horizontal, nose projection, but NOT the underside of the nosing. The width of the skirt depends upon the height of your risers and the width of the tread. The picture helps a lot. I’ll try to answer any additional questions you have. You don’t have to scribe after the “bottom piece” is in place. Norm, In no way an I trying to be condescending. (or you could just lay a 4′ level on the nosings, mark your line on the top of it and measure from that line). You have to remove enough material so that the scribed piece fits into the deepest recess of the profile you’re trying to match. If the top edge is crooked you need to straighten it so it stays in line with the registration marks you put on the walls. Really appreciate your input throughout the project. Hello Maureen, Or use a partial template that covers everything but the last stair or two and measure and layout the last two stairs without scribing them. One question I have is rather than using a stick to scribe, why not use a block (say 3″-5″ wide) and 2 or 3 brads so that you can scribe without worrying about how plumb the stick is? You won’t be scribing exactly where the skirt will end up but it will probably be close enough that with a little work it will fit. making sure the top edge is straight. Most often, in new construction, the site-built stairs I’ve seen have skirt boards installed with the treads and risers butting into the skirt. One of my main goals in life is to die broke ! In that technique you have a great deal more labor as you’re typically installing 30 individual pieces one at a time and scribing each piece to get a good fit. How come you dont have to adjust your scribe for every step? What a great honor it is to have a small part in your support of the RNLI. I can officially add a new service to the back of my business card… “retrofitting skirt boards” :) Thanks to all you guys that are passing the trades onto my generation! I have attached an image of the curved portion with skirting. I refused. Emidio, 7W1, Emidio, I had a small classroom (appx. Now, I just have to figure out how to do the same thing on the underside of the steps so that the two sides compliment each other. I have installed the “retro” treads and risers over existing stairs. Once you select a file, it will be uploaded and attached to the end of your comment. (The best, but maybe impractical/cost prohibitive thing to do would be remove the carpet, install the skirts and then reinstall carpet or one of the newer hardwood systems of treads and risers over the existing treads) To scribe skirt board over installed risers and treads, start with a straight skirt board laid on top of the points of the treads with the bottom corner against the finish or sub-floor, and the top corner above and beyond the top tread nosing. Shim the skirt board to the stringer/rough tread and your done. ie miter saw, circular saw? Place a framing square near the end of a 2 x 12 (38 x 286 mm) board, leaving a few inches at the end before the end of the square. Thought you were finished huh :) ? the far right side of the skirt board, find 7" on the inside of the square, and put the 7" mark at the right side top corner of the skirt. No room to slide the board up or down when switching from scribing the run to scribing the rise. If a riser is a quarter inch high and you set your scribe to it wouldnt the rest be off. I’d make a template out of cardboard with the longest pice I could get that met the door at the top. For enjoyment, Norm works on his home, does smaller construction jobs, serves in his local church, reads, and works on the homes of his three daughters. Do treads expand at the ends? I followed the instructions, but when it came time to wedge the skirt in, the bottom few stairs were a tight fit, but the gap in the rise and run increased as I got to the top, where it was easily 1/8″, if not more?! Kindly, Let me know if I’ve misunderstood your question. But hey, whatever works for you. Apparently, the framers never heard of spacing the stringer away from the wall with a 2×4 allowing room for the sheetrock and skirt. I’m a 70 year old DIY carpenter and this really made it easier. Stair treads and stair risers make the steps that lead the way to the upper floor of your home. Chris, I love to hear old-timers tell stories. My next project is the staircase which is currently carpeted, and will soon receive hardwood. They don’t believe me when I tell them. They realize that stair trim design is perfected when you take the stair trim piece and run it up the stair stringers, but … Then you would rout the radius onto top & bottom of the nosing. Thank you Norm. I believe you’ll find it more durable over the long haul. See more ideas about Stairs skirting, Stair skirt board, Staircase makeover. Scribing the skirts was an effective way to do a workmanlike job. Mark, 1/2″ thick but they come with a 1″ nosing. While at the shop, shoot it twice with Magnamax satin, take lunch, deliver it back to the jobsite DONE! I appreciate your prompt reply, I found some helpful articles and I will keep these new ideas ready for the next go round. You can include an image in your comment by uploading it below. I’ve just changed your project from a challenging job to an expensive and challenging job, but the new look would be fabulous. This may be more that you’d want to fix by a cover up. framing hammer. Then I read the article and realized the reason, I learned it from the same teacher you did and from one of the best Senior carpenters at Williamson. So although your article is 3 years old, it’s very timely! We were very unhappy after Toll Brothers installed hardwood on the stairs without any baseboard next to it. Looking at your 2nd picture at the landing you have the perfect situation to finish it nicely. Took me about five years to work up the nerve to give it a go, including a couple of false starts and, of course, talking my brother into helping me wield the 14-foot piece of poplar. Art Director, THISisCarpentry.com. A couple thoughts. I’ve never done it but I enjoy building things in a different way to solve problems. Finish nail this piece to the wall (leave the nail heads and part of the nail shank exposed for easy removal) and mark two registration lines on the wall, on the top of the skirt—one above the bottom tread and one above the top tread. worth every single penny thanks so much. Thanks to this website and Norm Yeager I set to the task in an “efficient and workman-like manner,” with zero head scratching, no wasted material, and was done in less than half the time my boss had budgeted. Using a newel with a wider base allows it to extend down through the skirt and definitely creates a more visually appealing transition. It’s pretty foolproof. In the article I describe the process and the reason I prefer it to your method. You can try it with cardboard strips from a refrigerator box first. Freddy, If you lay a straight edge over a couple nosings and mark the wall on the plane of the nosings you can measure back into the intersection of a tread and riser. If after you cut the plywd you have do do some tweaking you’ll be working on a piece of stock that is sacrificial and not your final skirt board. The deal was that if, after the skirt board was installed, the skeptic could slip the $20 bill into any of the joints, he’d win the $20. For whatever reason shop built stairs have, in years past, been a rarity in SC. It keeps it’s point all day. That’s the purpose of the magazine! You may have to remove a strip of plywood at your landing on the lower flight and top floor to have a nosing overhang in both places.. Nice project, it will be a big improvement. This is great information and will definitely help, but I have a twist to it that I need help with. It may be something that some can pickup after years of experience. Thanks for sharing your experience. Staircase skirt boards are installed during the construction or added as a trim feature later. These figures should touch the upper edge of your board. Wood stair risers come in red oak, with the 3/4” thick by 7.5” high available in lengths of 36”, 42”, 48”, 54”, 60” or 72”. Two minor thoughts. I would also run the base cap on the underside of It’s quick, and it provides a better finish. After scribing they could be easily removed and the finished skirt pressed into the carpet. I have done this in the past on not so high end jobs attic stairs. Check him out, it will be worth the effort. But these days, when you’re installing stringers on 12″ centers for some decking products, getting them all within 1/8 in. Thank you for your response. Elizabeth, That’s one of the reasons to leave only an inch to an inch and a half above the nosings so the skirt can “flex” into final position. I think this is the way to go. The second article was written by Carl Hagstrom who, like me graduated from Williamson Trade School. In 1999 he started working part-time as a construction inspector, and full-time as a commercial superintendent for a contractor building churches, retail spaces, multi-family dwellings, and schools. Thanks to Gary Katz for telling me I should subscribe to JLC, and without attending one of his roadshows I would not have been introduced to TIC either. Nailing through the skirt at the nosing will draw it up tight. Wood Stair Risers & Skirtboards. Gerry, In your case where your skirt intersects with the flat lower portion of your baseboard that’s where you make a vertical cut on your skirt. Norm. I’ve never drilled out the nosing primarily because I’ve always been able to cut them accurately with a coping saw. Do I just end my skirt at the top of my last riser and not go to the landing with the skirt? The last 10 or 12 were on my last two houses. It could run the whole length of the skirt and miter down to the floor to cover the intersection of the two skirts and the newel posts. Now holding that in place, I look to the left and move the square to the 9" mark so the inside 9" mark is at the top of the skirt board because my stair treads measured out to 9". Although I spend most of my time running jobs, and hadn’t built a finish set of steps in years, I believe I would have kept my $20 on all six sets. There is no room to have the uncut skirt board extend beyond the top of the stair. The entire skirt is custom cut the first time to whatever condition you have. My standard reply is ” just follow the instructions step by step and see what results you get”. The hardest part for me was cutting around the stair nosing. If you’ve come this far you’ve certainly got the skill to do that. If it fits you could scribe the whole length out of the plywood or kerf 3/4 ” material and go for then whole thing. Three long stair cases, both sides on carpet. Thanks, Norm! Re:“…close to your chest” to me implies a good poker hand selfishly kept secret. Sorry it’s taken this long to respond. fortunately the next job got delayed so I had the time, and the client wasn’t living in the place yet. Joanna. So from this distance, use a level to mark a straight line vertically near the bottom end of the skirt board. Code requirement is that individual riser heights vary they usually occur at the top of home. Thankful for JLC & TiC, and scribed onto poster board stop the clock at 30 seconds as,... With high quality glue and biscuits/dowels just wanted to show you results the... How far up you should do still think of reason shop built stairs as the underside of the methodology,... Understanding why wood reads would be a piece of cardboard from a google search, this is why opted... Join them together template for the risers then shimmed and glued into place ’ right the! Bottom stairs are a subscriber to TiC, tell every carpenter you ’ re working with an existing set stringers. 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