My wife had a little accident involving a can of red paint, her foot, and the carpet on the lower section of our staircase. Let it suffice to say that the carpet needed to be replaced. We had family coming over yesterday for Easter, so it needed to be replace fast.
We had found a box of Mannington engineered hardwood that had been used in the parlor before we bought the house. If you have never seen engineered hardwood, it is nothing more than a 3" strip of 3/8" plywood that has a veneer of hardwood (in this case oak) on top. I really liked the floor in the parlor because the wood strips had chamfered edges that really made the individual boards stand out. So I decided to use that box for the stairs, however there wasn't enough, so I went and got a couple more. The capping for the edge of the tread was quite expensive though ($300), so I decided to make my own for about half the price. If this was anywhere but California it would have been a quarter of the cost, but oh well.
I went and got some 8/4 FAS oak for about $150. I cut it into 1-3/4" square strips. I used my router table to put a bulnose on the top front edge and an ogee on the bottom front edge. Then I used my table saw to cut a 3/4" wide rabbet in the back to accomodate the plywood subfloor on the treads. I used Minwax Golden oak stain and water soluble high gloss polyurethane to approximately match the flooring. I say approximately because the flooring has subtly differing shades to per each board, which is nice. So the small difference in the hardwood capping should not be as noticable. I used some sanded plywood on the front riser, which my wife painted to match the trim. The end result turned out quite well in my opinion. I finshed putting on the last coat of poly about two hours before the guests were supposed to arrive. So all in all, I would say it was a success. Let me know what you think.