Is carpenter overspecifying?

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Need to replace a straight run staircase.

Carpenter is insisting on using birch plywood (25mm for treads, 18mm for riser) which is 4x the cost of regular ply

He says that with birch plywood, he can provide a guarantee and there will be no squeaks what so ever and it is the best stuff.

However, what i would like to know is whether the use of birch plywood is OTT?

Isn't MDF suitable? Or is this a poor choice if you want long lasting stairs?
 
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I bet his labour cost is more than the materials.
Unless its not going to be your long term house go cheapest.
If you intend a long time home, get his recommendation.
Thats what I would do.
 
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Even using birch ply for the treads is Cheap! What is the chippy proposing to use for the nosing?

Definitely do not go for the lowest cost ply for the treads - they will delaminate over time, and if not caught early enough will cause an accident through collapsing. I've just replaced the winder treads in the third property in housing estate where I live all made out of the cheapest ply possible.
On a straight flight of stairs replacing individual treads without easy access to the underside of the flight is very near impossible.

The risers can be MDF but do look better in Birch ply if vanished. 9mm ply is stronger than 9mm MDF as well.
 
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He says that with birch plywood, he can provide a guarantee and there will be no squeaks what so ever and it is the best stuff.
Go with anything but his recommendation then and tell him you’ll be responsible for any squeaks.
 
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27 pine stringer
I bet his labour cost is more than the materials.
Unless its not going to be your long term house go cheapest.
If you intend a long time home, get his recommendation.
Thats what I would do.
Yes, his labour is more expensive

60/40 split

It will be a long term home with young kids running up and down the stairs so ideally I'd want it to last

Even using birch ply for the treads is Cheap! What is the chippy proposing to use for the nosing?

Definitely do not go for the lowest cost ply for the treads - they will delaminate over time, and if not caught early enough will cause an accident through collapsing. I've just replaced the winder treads in the third property in housing estate where I live all made out of the cheapest ply possible.
On a straight flight of stairs replacing individual treads without easy access to the underside of the flight is very near impossible.

The risers can be MDF but do look better in Birch ply if vanished. 9mm ply is stronger than 9mm MDF as well.
On the fence about painting or carpeting the stairs. Is birch ply suitable for both?

He didn't specify anything for the nosing, so i assume that it would be birch ply. What would be an ideal material?

He says that with he will want to use 27mm pine for the stringers

What would be ideal material for the treads?
 
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Go with anything but his recommendation then and tell him you’ll be responsible for any squeaks.
Usually when i go this route, the tradesman does a sloppy job then uses the excuse that he didn't want that 'crap material' and i am responsible
 
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I think that if the wood is on show a joinery grade (knot free) redwood or better still a suitable hardwood (e.g. oak) would be a better choice for the treads. As stated above you still need to deal with the nosings which will have to be biscuit jointed, dowelled or Dominoed/loose tenoned to the plywood and I think a one piece tread will be far, far more durable than anything with a joint in it.

Minimum spec for risers has got to.be a half decent looking hardwood plywood rather than MDF. In fact forget MDF on treads, too - all the structural integrity of wet cardboard if it ever gets soaked. Ask anyone in a place like Hebden Bridge who had MDF treads and/or risers what happens to them when they get waterlogged force few days. It totals the stairs, whereas pine stairs can generally be dried out and live on

27mm for the stringers is a bit on the thin side to my mind. Even my little Victorian terrace house has 32mm stringers. Maybe I'm somewhat more belt and braces sort of guy, though
 
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Usually when i go this route, the tradesman does a sloppy job then uses the excuse that he didn't want that 'crap material' and i am responsible
There’s your answer then! Either have what he recommends or get another quote or two.
 

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I had a ready made one installed for my loft conversion - quick to install, and was solid, no squeaks at all.
 
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I've used these guys a few times without any problem.
https://www.stairbox.com/
They construct the staircase to order and to the exact measurements.
Very easy to put together if you go for the "flat packed" (when space on site is limited).
Good assembly when buying ready built.
On a straight run it's a doddle to fit when delivered ready built.
 
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Do you live in an area susceptible to flooding? Is yours a grand house? (or just an ordinary home) Do you want the wood grain to be on show? (or will your stairs be painted and carpeted).

If the answer to any of those is "yes", then MDF treads are not suitable.
 

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