Tile on stair risers, yet again [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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07-28-2008, 09:14 PM
Greetings. I have a new project, quite different from my previous ones, so I'm starting a new thread. I know I owe the group photos.

I've put down tile and bamboo flooring throughout almost all of my condo. What remains is the stairs and some full-of-junk closets.

I read a long thread about a fellow putting down bamboo and tiling the risers. He was advised to rebuild the structure to get equal-height risers. This led me to measure my risers on these formerly-carpeted stairs. In some cases, adjacent risers differ by 1/4". But you know what? We've been walking these stairs without any carpet or pad for um, well, um, two years since I started this project, and nobody has ever noticed a problem. So unless someone does a very good job of convincing me, I'm not going to try to change this variation in step rise. Yeah, I know it is way below professional standards and probably even violates code, but it just isn't a problem. There is one step where I could add a 1/8" layer of something and average out some differences. Anyone care to recommend what I should use here?

As best I can tell the treads rest on cleats nailed to, um, not stringers but just flat boards running up either side of the stairwell. Skirting boards? Sideboards? There is no center stringer. The treads are a normal width, a little under 3'. Below the stairs is a triangular closet, all sheetrocked.

The floors at both the bottom and top of the stairs are covered in the same bamboo, so everything is 1/2" higher than it used to be. So adding the bamboo doesn't change any of the riser heights.

The stair treads are 1 1/8" thick solid lumber, I presume fir or some such. This condo was built in 1965, so it's all solid lumber or plywood. The risers are 3/4" solid lumber.

My first question is about setting the tile. I read here that people recommend 1/4 CBU and quality thin-set. I'm wondering why silicone glue/sealant, with sanded caulk between the tiles wouldn't work well. My gut feeling is that this would leave everything just a little flexy, so as the stairs bend or the tiles get kicked, they just give and bounce back. Does anyone out there have any experience with this?

The bullnose material I have is normal bamboo flooring for most of it's width, but then extra thick at the front with a curved front edge hanging down. I plan on taking my sawzall to the bullnose on the existing treads, and mounting this new material with enough overhang to tuck the tile up behind the hanging-down bullnose edge.

All advice is welcome

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07-29-2008, 04:45 AM
The risers are 3/4" solid lumber.Cover this with 1/2" plywood, then use a highly modified thinset to set the tiles. Caulk the upper and lower joints between riser tile and tread. I think caulking the joints between riser tiles would be a good idea, and certainly won't hurt.

08-26-2012, 06:07 PM
Would custom building products flex bond qualify as highly modified thin set for a similar project with 1" dark emperador mosaic tile. I just got it in for my risers but I have to finish a bathroom first
Unsure why you said "highly".

08-26-2012, 07:42 PM
Deanna, please start a new thread for your new project. Asking questions on someone else's four-year-old project generally results in confusion, eh?

We got plenty room for new threads. :)

08-27-2012, 06:02 AM
I did start one on 4/26 called deanna's stair question so I'll continue there. Thanks