How to Replace Carpeted Stair Treads With Wood

Updated February 21, 2017

Stairs receive a lot of traffic and, unfortunately, many types of carpet do not weather excessive traffic. Eventually, carpet wears out on stairs and needs replacement. Whether this is the case, or if you are just tired of looking at that ugly carpet, replacing carpet with wood is a smart and attractive investment.

Remove the carpet from the entire stairway. Begin at an edge, the top or bottom of the stairs, or any spot where you can shimmy a putty knife between the carpet and the stairs' original surface. This should help you to pull carpet staples up slightly, or at least locate a row of staples.

Use the needle-nose pliers to pull staples from the carpet. As you remove the staples, immediately drop each staple into a shirt pocket, container or trash receptacle. Keep track of how many staples you remove to ensure you do not leave a staple lying where a pet or small child might ingest the staple or where anyone could suffer injury from stepping on the staple.

Begin to pull up the carpet. If the carpet is glued down, use the putty knife to pry the carpet loose. Use the putty knife to remove any carpet padding and to scrape pieces of padding loose from the wood of the stairs.

Throw away bits of carpet padding as you remove them. Use a vacuum to sweep away small pieces of the padding and other debris from the carpet removal process. Sand the surfaces of the riser and the tread of each step. Sand until you no longer see any marks from the carpet glue.

Cut off the front overhang on each step's tread to allow installation of a hardwood tread. Using a simple power saw is the easiest way to remove this overhang.

Wipe the treads and risers with a tack cloth to remove sanding dust. Paint or stain the risers of each step and allow them to dry overnight.

Measure the each step's width and length. Write down the measurements. Take them with you to purchase your precut, prefinished hardwood stair treads to match the dimensions of your stair treads.

Attach the new hardwood treads onto the original base treads of the stairs. Drive finishing nails down through the hardwood tread pieces and into the stair. Leave the nails sticking out very slightly above the surface of the hardwood tread. Position the skinny end of the nail set on the nail head. Hammer the nails down very slightly below the tread surface, or comfortably flush with the tread surface.

Things You'll Need

  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Putty knife
  • Dustbin
  • Sandpaper
  • Orbital sander
  • Tack cloth
  • Paint or stain
  • Paintbrushes
  • Power saw
  • Prefinished, precut wood stair treads
  • Finishing nails
  • Hammer
  • Nail set
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About the Author

Stephanie Daniels is a freelance writer residing in Louisa, Kentucky. Daniels focuses on parenting, children, gardening and home-decor articles. She was the manager of Home Decor for Home Depot for 4 years. Daniels has written for many online publications and enjoys ghostwriting.