Installing Stair Treads Step-By-Step

  • 4-8 hours
  • Beginner
  • 150-500
What You'll Need
Nose caulk
Rubber or vinyl stair treads
Neoprene contact cement or contact cement
Linoleum knife
Carpenters pencil
Straight edge
Measuring Tape
Hand roller

Stair treads are a simple addition to stairs. They help to provide traction so people do not slip and fall on the staircase. This is an excellent addition to stairs because stairs are one of the most common causes of falls in both the home and workplace.

Step 1 - Clean the Stairs

To properly apply the contact cement you will need the stairs to be clean and free from dust and debris. Use a vacuum to clean each one of the stairs. Use a damp mop to fully remove any remaining dust or debris. Allow the stairs to dry for three to four hours before proceeding.

Step 2 - Cutting the Stair Treads

Since all stairs are different in size the treads are large. Measure the size of the stair and use a carpenters pencil to mark the width and length on the stair treads. When getting the length of the stairs you must also include the two to three additional inches to fold the stair tread over the lip of the stair.

When drawing the line use the straight edge to ensure you have a perfectly straight cut line. Use the linoleum knife to cut along the line. Remove the excess rubber or vinyl and test the stair treads on the stair. Cut each stair tread before moving on. Remember to measure each stair individually incase the stairs are not all the exact same size.

Step 3 - Add the Adhesive

Place the adhesive you are using on the bottom part of the tread. If you are using rubber treads then use simple contact cement. If the stair treads are made out of vinyl then you will want to use neoprene contact cement.

Place a small amount of epoxy nose caulk on the inside nose portion of the stair tread. The nose portion is the part which will fold over the lip of the stair. This is important to make sure that any air gaps which form over time fill in. This helps to prevent cracking.

Step 4 - Installing the Stair Tread

Hold the stair tread up with the back surface a few inches away from the stair. Put the nosing down to the stair first and push firmly. Work your way towards the back of the stair tread and the rise pressing firmly. When you have completely pushed the stair tread down it should be laying flatly on the stair. Look for any obvious air bubbles below the stair tread and work them out using your hands.

Step 5 - Finishing Up

Using your hand roller, work from one side of the stair tread to the other and then up and down. Finally roll over the nose of the stair tread. Continue this action until the stair tread is completely free of any air bubbles.