How To Re-Cover an Outdoor Staircase

An outdoor staircase receives a great deal of wear and tear due to exposure to the elements over the course of a year. In many cases, it becomes necessary to re-cover the stair treads routinely in order to make sure that the stairs are safe and easy to use. Additionally, keeping stair covers in good repair helps the stairs maintain an attractive and appealing appearance.

Stair Tread Covers

Stair tread covers come in many different shapes, sizes and colors. Since outdoor stairs are many of many different kinds of materials – metal, concrete, wood, etc – it is important that stair tread covers be in good condition and adhere to the steps well.

If stairs are heavily trafficked, the tread covers can quickly become worn and unsafe. As a result it is necessary to re-cover the stairs so that people using the stairs do not lose their footing and fall or slip.

Functional Tread Covers

There are several different kinds of stair tread covers and each has their own functional purpose.

Grated Covers – This type of tread cover is usually made of fiberglass. They have an open grated design that allows for drainage of water, dirt and debris that can accumulate on outdoor stairs, particularly during winter months or in highly used areas.

Solid Covers – Solid tread covers are often constructed of fiberglass but are specifically designed to be slip-resistant and corrosion resistant.


In order to apply the new stair treads, first it is necessary to choose the correct kind of stair tread cover for your staircase. Open grated tread covers are best used on stairs that are made of metal (aluminum or galvanized steel) and have stairs that are made of an open tread design. Open grated covers are especially appropriate for these stairs because of the enhanced ability for water and other debris to fall harmlessly through the tread grate. Solid covers are more appropriate for solid stairs, like concrete or wood stairs.

You can find tread covers at industrial supply retail stores or from online suppliers. It is usually a good idea to order extra covers in case you need to unexpectedly replace a cover during the year.

If you already have tread covers on your stairs, then remove them and set them aside for removal. New covers can usually be attached by either gluing, screwing or bolting them into place on the stairs. Grated covers may need to be attached so that they are firmly attached to the stair tread underneath and do not slide away from the stair.  If you have chosen a new tread cover that has a safety color, make sure that the cover is installed with the color correctly pointing toward the outside edge of the stair so that users are visually alerted to the presence of the stair.


Outdoor stairs need regular maintenance as they are exposed to the various elements, dirt and debris. One aspect of maintenance is making sure that stair tread covers are regularly replaced and in good condition. When necessary, replace stair tread covers with either grated or solid covers that are slip resistant and enhance safety.