How to Remove Stair Tread Adhesive

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Stair treads can improve the appearance of stairs, cut down on tracked-in dirt, extend the life of the stair material and provide traction to prevent falls. If you need to remove the stair tread adhesive due to an improper installation, using too much adhesive or because you need to repair, remove or replace the stair treads, you'll need the right tools or the adhesive may not budge. Freshly applied adhesive should come off rather easily, but any dried adhesive takes a chemical application, some scrubbing and time to dissolve properly.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft cloths
  • Mild liquid detergent
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Steel wool

Dampen a soft cloth with warm water and a few drops of mild liquid detergent.

Wipe away any pieces of wet adhesive with the damp cloth.

Pour a thin layer of denatured alcohol on top of the adhesive.

Scrub the adhesive with a piece of steel wool, working the alcohol into the adhesive in a circular motion. Continue scrubbing the adhesive until it lifts off the stairs. Apply more alcohol to the adhesive as necessary to completely remove it from the stair treads.

Wipe the stairs with the wet, soapy cloth to remove any residue left by the alcohol. Dry the stairs thoroughly with a dry cloth.

Tips & Warnings

  • Before installing stair treads, clean off any paint, grease, oil, varnish, adhesive or other residue. Dry the stairs completely.
  • Apply new adhesive with a contact adhesive for vinyl treads or a contact or rubber flooring adhesive for rubber treads.
  • Keep traffic off newly installed stair treads to give them sufficient time to bond to the stairs. Don't wash the stair treads for one week after installation to give the treads sufficient time to adhere to the steps.
  • Denatured alcohol is highly flammable. Keep it away from heat, sparks and open flames. Denatured alcohol is also toxic if inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through your skin. Wear protective clothing, a respiratory mask and eye protection when using it.

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