Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,836 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a couple of staircases in rentals going to unfinished basements. The basements may be finished in the future.

The staircases are currently constructed of 3 stringers (2x12's) with one 2x4 on the outsides and two 2x4's in the middle. They are 3 feet wide. The treads are 2x10's and the risers are two 2x4's spaced a bit (could be 2x6's). I primed the wood and then painted it with alkyd enamel. There is no skirt board, just a 1/2" space, then sheetrock.

They are plenty sturdy and everything, but I wouldn't mind having something easier to clean. They definitely look utilitarian.

The basement is unfinished, so I can get at the skirt area of the staircase.

How should I build the staircase to accept tile?

I want to leave the stringers alone. I was thinking to replace the 2x treads and risers with 3/4" OSB or plywood, then thinset and screw durock or denshield to them.

As for the skirting, I'd like to lay on something other than the sheetrock. I have enough space to add a layer of 1/2" tilebacker on top of the sheetrock. Or I could pull a line, cut it, and replace with a strip of tilebacker. Then I have no edge to deal with. I could overlap the tile a little over the joint to get rid of it. I could also piece in some 2x's diagonally between the studs behind the skirt area.

Is my tread/riser plan OK? How should I handle the skirt?

As I rip out the treads and risers, I'll have plenty of scraps, so theoretically I could butcher these up and screw them in between the stringers before I install new plywood/OSB. If I cut off the sheetrock on the sides to replace with tilebacker and 2x reinforcement, I could get at the outside stringers from the side in order to screw in my pieces. The middle stringer would have to be toenail screwed from one side.

As for grouting, I guess there would be a lot of caulk involved. All the inside corners on the skirt, the inside corner where the tread and riser meet, and the outside corner where the tread and riser meet. The only real grout would be on the flat on the treads and on the vertical on the risers.

I would use some rough ass tile on the treads with the porcelain edge exposed. I have an exterior entrance to the basement, so the rough traffic with handtrucks and what not will be using that staircase.

All suggestions appreciated.

Oh, and just to get some interest, how much should it cost?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,716 Posts
Tiling stairs is risky

If you have three stringers ,and 2x10 treads you are probably stiff enough already.
If there is any bounce in the stair case stiffen up the stringers before starting. You are on your own as far as the skirt board treatment.


The weakest part or a ceramic stair is the nosing. A method that I've had success with is as follows:
1. screw the 2x treads with deck screws.
2. add oak stair nosing, Adjust thickness to accommodate Durrock, Mud and tile.
3.Liquid nails , and nails for the nosing and Durrock.
4. Use Flex set. setting material for tile.
5. Grout--consider using epoxy -the new formulas make the job fairly easy.
6. That's it-GOOD LUCK:laughing:
 

·
bathroom guru
Joined
·
1,348 Posts
Ditto for strengthening the treads. Maybe look at putting Schluter ditra down as well as look at their extrusions for finishing the edge. The Rondec step(?) would work well.

They also have stair edges complete with vinyl insert for anti-slip protection.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,836 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the tip about Rondec. I'd forgotten about it. I think you posted one cool photo of a kitchen counter with Rondec on it.

I'm not worried about the cost because the tile will be extras and I will be doing the labor. The Rondec will be the most expensive item in the budget.

I also like to learn how to do stuff on my own projects, so this is a good opportunity to do and learn, then I'm an expert at it, right?
 

·
Sean
Joined
·
5,532 Posts
You can't put tile on stairs.
Actually you can - most places though are commercial with concrete steps where the steel comes up a little further covering the edge of the tile

I have see some high-end residential units with it, but any little deflection and it's toast

Cleve, I know you want to learn to do the tile, but I would start with an entryway, or bath - especially for a rental --- Just my .02

If you do go forward I would make sure the tile has the matte finish & is rated 3 or higher
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,836 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
SLS,

I have plenty of rough tile to work with, with matte or rougher surface. I've got the entire floor of the units in tile, plus the countertops and tub surrounds. But I do want to do a staircase. That would certainly make it clear to anyone that the builder was off his rocker.

My only regret is that I didn't tile the backsplash and beyond in the kitchen, and the entire bathroom walls instead of just the tub surround.
 

·
Sean
Joined
·
5,532 Posts
Cool, I fully understand - well there is some good advice above (MW in particular) & I will preface this stating most steps I have done were concrete (Hopefully if I wrote something wrong one of the ceramic masters here will catch it)

I would approach it this way assuming your first & last step heights work out ok or you can correct the issue

Treads:Leave the existing 2x (get it down to bare wood) - thinset rated for it - add 1/4 hardi & screw it in - schluter or other metal edge for the front that extends out past the nosing by a 1/4 of an inch - thinset - tile - grout
for the nosing - add 1/4" oak or some other wood piece below metal
*** if the steps need strengthening, add your 2x4 or 6 blocking under them - you could also replace them with 2 - 3/4" (or 5/8 for height) plywood glued & screwed together
*** I am not sold on Schluter Ditra for this as you do not want the stair decoupling, I would prefer a crack then having the treads take a walk

Risers: tile as above minus the nosing detail (you can probably skip the hardi also) or just add 1/4" piece of wood (like the nosing) after tiles are set & grouted
*** you could use the same style metal though at the bottom of the risers for a unique look & you wouldn't have to use caulk

Inner Strings: same as riser - except for top to be covered with metal like nosing or a piece of wood to cap it

Skirting: It depends on which way you go with some of the items above & what you think would look best - if it goes all the way down to the floor, for the whole length, as it is a rental - I would probably use the Beadboard sheets & some trim to finish it off - It is hard for me to picture it fully w/o a pic. Sorry

FYI - I am sure you know this, but you can buy caulking that matches the grout , I would probably go with the metal trim though to avoid using it though

Just me, good luck & I hope this helps
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,857 Posts
You will need to install a mat or backer of somekind.

I had a HUGE argument with my Custom products tech rep over this. The bag and the installation book clearly stated that it is not to be used over "hardwood" When I had tile pop with Pro Lite my argument was that a 2x10 was SPF and not defined as "hardwood" in any recognized building text.

I have installed tile on stairs using 1/4"dens shield, and bonsal b6000 antifracture membrane (with fiber mat) when customers were concerned about the added height of the dens:2guns:
Craig
 

·
Tile Contractor
Joined
·
1,249 Posts
You are only kidding yourself if you think those stairs can be tiled successfully with any reasonable life expectancy.:)

How about engineered wood, that's nice.:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
I tiled a staircase (previously shag-pile carpet) in a split level home 5 years ago with slate & still not a single sign of any cracks in the grout. Even jumping up & down in heavy boots it does not budge. Of course I had to completely rebuild the stair treads & risers using sandwiches of 5/8 ply which were glued & screwed. I also added extra 2x4 structural supports both vertically & horizontally as well as bracing under the nose of each step. The slate tile is about 1/4 - 3/8 thickness (natural so not uniform).

Around here it is common to tile stairs (indoor & out) on both older renovated homes and brand new developments. Slate is the most common material from what I have seen. It doesn't have the same slip risk as porcelain and fits with the Whistler look of lots of timber and stone.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top