How to replace indoor wood stair treads

Written by elizabeth arnold
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There are a number of home stairway designs, and many reasons for replacing stair treads. If your stair treads need to be replaced due to rotten and damaged wood, you can do it yourself without hiring a costly handyman. To get started, you will need to remove the old stair treads and trace on the new wood material to get the proper measurements. When replacing the treads, choose a durable hardwood material.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Flat-prying tool
  • Hammer
  • Nail puller
  • Tread material
  • C-clamps
  • Circular saw with finish blade
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Router (optional)
  • Orbital sander
  • Fine grit sanding paper
  • Paint or stain (optional)
  • Finish nail gun or nail fasteners
  • Drill with countersink bit
  • Wood filler

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  1. 1

    Remove any trimming or edging that may hinder the removal of the stair tread. Do this by sliding a flat head prying tool behind the trim and prying it away from the surface. Most nails will come out with the trim material, but you may need to remove a few finish nails with a nail removal tool.

  2. 2

    Place the prying tool's flat head between the bottom of the tread and the riser, and tap the back end of the prying tool to force it under. Depending on the installation method, you may need to cut through glue between the tread and the stringers. If needed, slide a reciprocating saw between the tread and stringers to cut through the glue.

  3. 3

    Pry the stair tread up. Next, remove the nails that were used to secure the tread by tapping on the tip of the nail; doing so will allow the nail head to protrude for easier removal.

  4. 4

    Place the old stair tread onto the new material so that you can trace it. Flush two of the edges with the new material and use C-clamps to secure it into place; this will prevent the tread from sliding.

  5. 5

    Cut out the new stair tread using a power tool such as a circular saw or reciprocating saw. If desired, router the front nose of the tread for appearance sake.

  6. 6

    To remove any imperfections, sand the tread using a circular sander with a fine grain sanding paper. Clean off any dust created during the sanding process and coat the tread with paint or stain if desired.

  7. 7

    Inspect the stair stringers and remove any debris. Use a chisel to scrape away extra glue and pull out the nails that are left over from the old stair treads.

  8. 8

    Place the new tread onto the stair stringers. Use a finish nail gun to nail the tread to the stair stringers. If you are using basic nail fasteners such as brad or 6d nails, you may need to pre-drill the holes using a drill with an outfitted counter sink drill bit to prevent the stair tread from splitting.

  9. 9

    Replace any trimming or edging that you may have removed. Use wood filler that is the same colour as the stair tread to fill in any nail holes; place a small amount of wood filler on your finger and wipe it across the hole.

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