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How to Install New Stair Treads

In just one year, builders built 471,000 staircases in the United States.

If you’re thinking about installing new stair treads, you might want to save some money and do them on your own.

But how do you do that? Keep reading to find out how to replace your stair treads!

How to Choose Good Stair Treads

Before you remove stair treads, make sure that you research the new stair treads before you install them. 

There are all kinds of different treads that you can install, but they come in all kinds of different styles, sizes, and materials. 


You should try and find some stair treads that match the decor in your house. For example, if you have more of a traditional style in your home, you shouldn’t choose oriental stair treads even though they’re intricate and colorful. 

If you’re going to be selling your home more, you might have a better time selling a home with simple, solid-colored stair treads.  However, you can even find natural fiber stair treads as well. 

If you want something a little bit more fun, you may even be able to find all kinds of different patterns and colors. 


Once you’ve determined what kind of aesthetic you want to go for, you can decide which material you want. You should try and find a material that will hold up depending on how many people will use those stairs.

For example, if a lot of people use it, you might want to find a wood that will be more durable and can withstand a lot of people’s feet. But if it’s more of a decorative staircase, you can find a daintier wood. 

While Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods has great wood stair treads, there are plenty of fabric ones that you can use as well. 

For example, a lot of people use wool stair treads for medium foot traffic. While this is a durable fabric, it is also soft on your feet. Another option is nylon stair treads.

People use these for stairs that have heavier foot traffic because they resist stains and they’re pretty easy to clean. 


You should find a stair tread that matches the size of your existing staircase. To measure them, record the length and the width. 

You’ll have to measure how far out you want the treads to rest on the step. You should check what your local zoning codes are to make sure that you don’t have any unnecessary fines. 

Prep the Staircase

Once you’ve ordered your stair treads, you should prep your staircase. You’ll have to remove the old carpet, floor covering, or vinyl stair tread that was there before. 

You’ll have to get rid of any bullnose that’s leftover from the exposed lumber tread. Some people find it easier to cut off with a handheld jigsaw. You can cut it back so it sits flush with the stair risers. Once you’ve done that, you can use a flush-cut saw or even a hammer to clean up the edges near the board. 

However, if your stairs are old, you may even want to put on new plywood over the existing risers. This way, it’ll still sit flush with the tread, and you’ll have more of a foundation under our new treads. 

If you’re going to do this, make sure that you use screws instead of nails so that it doesn’t squeak. To check if it squeaks, you can walk up and down on it to see. If it does, put a 3-inch screw through the tread where it is squeaking. This will securely hold it down. 

Install the Treads

Once you’ve done your prep work, you can start installing the new treads. All you have to do is set them on top of the new wood you put down or just where the old stair tread used to be. 

Before you secure it down with nails, make sure that it sits flush with the riser and that there aren’t any gaps. Each stair tread should be the same distance or size so that you don’t trip on the stairs when you use them. 

Seal up all of the nail holes using a wood putty that dries quickly. Once it’s dried, you can stain the putty to match the color of the stairs.

You can also use caulk to fill the nail holes that are left on the risers. You should also caulk all seams that are on the risers and the skirt boards so that the stairs look seamless. 

Things to Keep in Mind

Never fasten the treads with only staples or nails. You should also be using some kind of adhesive. 

In fact, there are many stair treads that come with adhesive. While the adhesive might limit your project a little bit, it’s always better to make sure the treads are securely on.

You should also never use a stringer as a level to check if the treads are on. The tops of the stringers are never actually level, so they don’t make very good measurements. 

Learn More About How to Install New Stair Treads

These are only a few things to keep in mind when you’re installing new stair treads, but there are many more things to consider!

We know that doing home improvement projects can be stressful and overwhelming, but we’re here to help you out.

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