Tiling Your Wooden Staircase Kickboards

tile your wood staircase

One way to dress up a wooden staircase is to install tiles on the kickboards. Wood staircases are not optimal for tiling, but with enough support and preparation, it is possible to create an interesting and imaginative architectural detail on your stairs.

Preparing the Kickboards

Kickboards, also known as risers, are the vertical part of the stair. Since wood stairs often shift and change with age, it is necessary to add some stabilization before you can tile the risers. One way to do so is to install cement board on the risers.

Cut a piece of cement board for each riser. Either screw or bolt it into place. With the cement board in place, you can spread a thin layer of thin-set or tile adhesive on the cement board then place the tile. After the tiles are all installed, you will need to spread grout between the tiles in order to close the gaps to complete the look. To create more visual interest, choose a colored grout that complements both your tiles and the wood of the stair treads.


Wooden staircase risers are an interesting and unexpected place for tiles. Extra stabilization is needed in order to effectively install them.