How do I Replace Covering Stair Treads?

Written by cat mccabe
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How do I Replace Covering Stair Treads?
Stair tread coverings are cheaper than ripping out the steps (wooden staircase 2 image by Heng kong Chen from

The tread of the stair is the flat plank you walk on when climbing or descending a staircase. Perhaps yours are worn, stained, or painted an unattractive colour. Ripping them out is expensive and time-consuming, especially if you're doing it yourself. Fortunately, stair part companies have the perfect, fast solution to the problem. Stair tread covers that fit over the existing tread, available in all types of hardwood from red oak to cherry, can save you time, effort and money.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Electric jigsaw
  • Stair tread covers
  • Stain
  • Paintbrush
  • Soft cloth
  • Polyurethane
  • Construction glue
  • Finishing nails
  • Hammer

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  1. 1

    Measure the width and length of each tread from top to bottom, and write them down. No two stairs are exactly alike, particularly if the house is old and has settled over the years. Go to your local home -improvement centre and order the tread covers. They come in standard sizes, but you can have them custom cut at the store if you don't have a tablesaw. Mark each stair as it is cut.

  2. 2

    Stain the replacement treads to match the hardwood in your home. Brush stain on with a paintbrush and wipe off excess with a soft cloth. Be sure to work with the wood grain, not across it. Allow it to dry according to the specs on the can. Sand lightly between coats and apply as many coats as you need to get the right colour. Finish with polyurethane to seal the wood against scratches and scuff marks.

  3. 3

    Cut back each old stair tread flush with the riser with an electric jigsaw. Sweep up the sawdust, and wipe down with a damp cloth.

  4. 4

    Apply construction glue to the back of the bottom stair tread cover. The glue comes in caulking tubes and is simple to use. Fit the tread over the old stair and apply pressure for 30 seconds. Finish by hammering in finishing nails 3/4-inch from each edge. Move on to the next stair, working your way up until you reach the top.

Tips and warnings

  • Applying stair tread covers will not fix a creak in the existing stair, but may muffle it slightly.
  • Using replacement stair tread covers will raise the stair height slightly. Be aware of this while using the stairs to avoid stumbling unting you get used to it.

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