On Location – How To Detail an Open Riser Stair

The open riser stair in our newly completed Housebrand house has a carpet inlay on each tread as well as a carpeted landing which requires some specific attention to all the connection details.

First, at the top of the stairs, a custom wood nosing has been installed across the entire top of the last riser. This provides a clean edge for the upper floor carpet to terminate against without having to have the carpet wrap over the nosing. The nosing extends about an inch past a solid wood trim board which has been installed to cover what would normally be left as exposed drywall – which is not a very durable surface for a stair riser.

Second, the carpet inlay itself is detailed like an upside down wood tray, with the carpet set flush into the tread and bound on all four sides by a 1.5 inch wood trim. This allows the visual continuity of the wood finish on the under side of each step when looking at the open riser stair from the side or from below.

Finally, the landing is detailed similarly to the tile inlay at the front entry with a hardwood picture frame edge providing a clean way to transition to carpet on all four sides.

Today’s Slides:

  • JesseS

    This is great.  I guess the drywall and painting was done prior to this final stair being installed?  The walls are finished beautifully and it looks like the stringers are only held off the wall by an inch or so.  What is the sequence to accomplish this and have access prior to this being installed?

  • Matthew North

    Hi Jesse – the sequencing of construction is critical with open riser stairs – and I can tell from experience it does not always work out the way we would like! Ideally, the walls are painted before the stair is installed. Also, the stair needs to be finished on site as it arrives as raw wood. Our painters have figured out some tricks to help them do this without getting the stain on all the adjacent (and freshly painted) drywall. We use temporary stairs until the walls are painted – then we change them out and place the final open riser stairs in the space.