How to install hardwood on custom stairs

Hardwood on stairs installation - solid hardwood planks

Installation of hardwood on stairs is a precise work and requires special skills and experience. There are two different techniques of installation which depend on the types of stairs and hardwood product.

- installation of solid hardwood floor planks or strips on steps

- installation of solid hardwood treads

Because hardwood treads come in standard sizes, they work the best for installation on standard sizes stairs. If the stairs are custom build – installation of strips or planks is the way to go. Learn more about hardwood on stairs. In this chapter we will show and explain how to install hardwood planks on a custom made stairs.


In most cases after rough framing on a new construction stairs do not require any additional steps of preparation and they are ready for hardwood installation. On any renovation or home improvement project it is necessary to do some preparation work. If it is a carpet on stairs there is a nosing which has to be cut out. Also it is important to eliminate any noise which is a common problem with any older stairs. The best way to do this is to screw top boards to the stair stringers.

Installation of stair riser

First of all installation has to begin from bottom step and go up. Stair riser has to be glued and nailed to the stairs with a finish nail gun. On a long stairs connect two or a few pieces at 45° for a better visual effect. On the corners connect risers at 45° or any other angle stairs frame build.

Installation of stair nosing

After stair riser install stair nosing. Glue nosing to the step and nail it from the top. Do not put a lot of nails – even though all holes will be filled with wood filler the marks still will be slightly visible. On the corners and pieces of stair nosing on the long steps connect at 45°.

Installation of hardwood planks

Start installation of planks from the stair riser. There always will be limited space for hardwood floor nail gun – just use a finish gun with a proper glue application. Glue after it dries will work much better than nails or staples.

If it is a prefinished hardwood you don’t need to take any additional steps to finish the wood except filling nail holes after finish nail gun, but unfinished hardwood floor has to be sanded and finished the same way as on the floor.

There are also a few recommendations for hardwood on stairs installation

- If you are installing prefinished hardwood planks on steps it is also possible to use the same wood for risers, but do not install unfinished hardwood planks because it will be very hard to sand – just go with a solid board riser.

- Before buying prefinished hardwood for stairs make sure they have the same finished stair nosing.

- Apply wood glue on the hardwood nosing groove.