How to Put Wood Tread on Stairs

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Stairways come in many forms, ranging from an ornate decoration to a way of getting from one level to another in a home. Wood treads provide a secure place to walk on while climbing from one floor to the next. Installing wood treads offers many design possibilities, including staining, painting, tiling or carpeting over the tread. The most important part of stair tread installation is following laws and ordinances pertaining to safety. Guidelines prescribe specific tread depth and width. Follow your local guidelines closely to ensure safe passage on the stairs.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • 2-by-12-inch boards or premade treads
  • Circular saw
  • Mallet
  • Power drill
  • 3/32 drill bit
  • Construction adhesive
  • Eight-penny finishing nails
  • Hammer
  • Nail set
  • Measure the distance from the skirt board, wall or stair stringer edge to the opposite skirt board, wall or stair stringer edge to determine the tread width. Measure the distance from the riser to the front of the next riser to determine the tread depth. A skirt board is the wood that stands alongside the staircase, attached to the stringer. The riser is the side-supporting frame of a staircase. The riser covers the vertical gap between treads.

  • Cut a 2-by-12-inch board to the exact size of the width measurements with a circular saw or use premade stair treads already cut to size. Cut the depth to measure 3/4 to 1 1/4-inches greater than the original measurement to allow for a nosing. If you are cutting treads, use lumber with the grain running along the width. Make one-piece treads only; do not attempt to fit two pieces of lumber together to form one tread.

  • Position the treads on the stair in place where they will sit. Tap the tread in place with a mallet for a secure fit. Mark the tread at each end and every 4 inches along the front and down the middle where the tread will rest on the center support. Drill a pilot hole straight down through each mark, using a power drill equipped with a 3/32 drill bit. Remove the stair tread.

  • Spread construction adhesive over all mating surfaces. Slide the tread in place and tap it in with a mallet. Drive eight-penny finishing nails through the pilot holes into the supports. Countersink nails with a nail set, so they sit below the surface of the tread. Repeat for each tread.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear eye protection and a dust mask when cutting treads.
  • Do not use the stairs for two to four hours to allow time for the construction adhesive to bond securely.

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References

  • "Floors, Stairs & Carpets"; Time Life Editors; 1994
  • "Reader's Digest Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual"; Family Handyman Magazine Editors; 2005
  • "Home Repair and Improvement"; Creative Homeowner Editors; 2006
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
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