previous
  • The Hobbit House and More
    The Hobbit House and More
  • 7 Small Bathroom Layouts
    7 Small Bathroom Layouts
  • Magazine Departments
    Magazine Departments
  • 7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
    7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
  • Tips & Techniques for Painting
    Tips & Techniques for Painting
  • All about Roofing
    All about Roofing
  • Electrical Articles & Videos
    Electrical Articles & Videos
  • Energy-Smart Details
    Energy-Smart Details
  • 12 Remodeling Secrets
    12 Remodeling Secrets
  • Remodeling in Action
    Remodeling in Action
  • Clever daily tip in your inbox
    Clever daily tip in your inbox
  • Shorten a Prehung Door
    Shorten a Prehung Door
  • Deck Design & Construction
    Deck Design & Construction
  • 9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
    9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
  • Read FHB on Your iPad
    Read FHB on Your iPad
  • Video: Build a curved step
    Video: Build a curved step
  • Play the Inspector Game!
    Play the Inspector Game!
  • Master Carpenter Videos
    Master Carpenter Videos
  • 7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
    7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
  • Buyer's Guide to Insulation
    Buyer's Guide to Insulation
  • The Passive House Build
    The Passive House Build
  • Basement Remodeling Tips
    Basement Remodeling Tips
  • How to Install Housewrap Solo
    How to Install Housewrap Solo
next
Pin It

Scribing a skirtboard to an existing stair

Typically, skirtboards are sandwiched between the stair stringer and the wall, and are installed before the treads and risers that abut them. That's the easy way. In a recent remodel, I had to put in a skirtboard the hard way—with the treads and risers already in place.

As shown in the drawing, I made a pattern out of taped-together 81/2-in. by 11-in. sheets of paper. Without any measuring, this method yielded an exact profile of a stair that had its share of crooked lines.

First, I snapped a diagonal chalkline at the angle of the stair. This was an arbitrary distance, between 2 in. and 3 in. above the tread nosing. The chalkline represented the top of the skirtboard. Working from the top, I next cut, fit, and taped together pieces of printer paper, filling each triangular space from the tread and riser up to the snapped line. I used scissors to cut the curve around the tread bullnose and tapered the riser cuts in places where the risers weren't plumb. I used the offcut triangles from each piece to reinforce the narrow parts of the pattern.

This process yielded a 14-ft.-long pattern, which I cut away from the wall and taped to a 1x10 piece of skirtboard stock. I aligned the long edge of the pattern with the stock and carefully traced the outline. This paper-doll pattern worked like a charm.