We've put together this short instructional video on how to install prefinished stair treads. To begin watching, click the image above
Installing prefinished stair treads is easy and we've put together this short video to outline the basic steps used to transform your carpeted staircase to a new wood staircase in a single afternoon.
Note: This video is based on 48" stair treads - if you have a smaller set of stairs, you will most likely use less adhesive per step. On a set of 36" stairs, you will most likely need less than 1/2 tube of adhesive per tread. Please follow the manufacturer's recommended application methods when using construction adhesive
Only use 100% urethane based adhesives when installing solid wood stair treads! Water-based adhesives may cause the wood to warp if too much is used. We strongly advise you to read the recommended adhesives page prior to installing your new stair treads. An adhesive with a high moisture content can ruin a set of wood stairs and is not covered by our warranty!
You may also want to review our written installation instructions
To view our previous installation video - click here
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Installing prefinished stair treads from stair-treads.com
In this short instructional video, we'll show you how to install a new set of prefinished retro-fit stair treads
First we need to remove the existing carpet and padding - this is usually as simply as making a cut in the carpet and strongly tugging to remove it. Be careful because there will be staples and nails embedded in the carpet
Once we remove the carpet and pad- there will likely be some nails and staples that will need to be removed - hammer in any exposed nails or remove them with a set of pliers
The idea is to have a smooth and clean set of substairs to install the new retro fit stair treads. Be prepared to see a fair amount of dust and dirt - carpet is notorious for trapping dirt and debris.
Once the existing treads are clean, we will cut any overhang from the old treads using a circular saw. Here we set the depth of the saw so it cuts just through the tread; we don't want to cut into the riser or support stringer
Now we measure and mark the overhang of the old stair so we know where to cut. We want old tread to be flush with the old riser so there is no overhang
Once we have our line drawn, we cut the nosing from each tread - with a circular saw, we won't be able to cut all the way to the skirtboard, but that's ok. Some people choose to use a reciprocating or a saber saw to cut closer to the skirtboard - be careful here because nails may be present - also remember that once you cut the nose - it may break so don't stand on a tread you just cut
While we do want a nice clean cut, perfection is not the goal at this step - we'll complete our cuts later - the main goal at this stage is to cut the majority of the overhang flush with the riser below it
We simply work our way up the staircase, cutting the any overhang from each stair tread so all the existing stair treads are flush with the existing riser
Now we remove our cut nosings. If you have pine treads, such as these, a light tap with a hammer will complete the cut by breaking the board. If you have oak treads or some other material, you may need to complete the cut with a saber saw.
Next we use a chisel to clean up any uneven cuts. We want a smooth and square front edge to line up our new retro treads. We'll go through each tread and remove any parts missed by the saw.
Notice how easy it is to remove any extra wood with a gentle tap of the chisel.
As before, we work our way up the staircase ensuring the front edges are clean and square. This will allow our treads to be installed hassle free and ensure that our new retro treads and risers sit squarely on sub tread below.
In many cases, the sub treads may actually be OSB or plywood and not have an overhang, if that's the case, this step can be omitted entirely.
Once we finish squaring our existing treads, we now check for any squeaks - stand on each tread and give a light bounce to check for any play. If we find any play or squeaks, we'll drive a 2" deck screw into the stringer - this extra step will make for many years of squeak free enjoyment.
After we've checked our stairs, we take measurements for our first riser. We measure the width and height of the first riser
Using a table saw, we rip the riser to the required height and then dry fit it. Now with the riser in place but not secured, we check our front-to-back depth for the stair tread.
Using a table saw, we rip the tread to the required depth. Notice how we've covered the saw with blue painters tape to prevent scratching the tread as we cut face down.
Next we use a stir measuring tool, such as The Step Doctor, to measure our tread width. To use the tool, simply place in the required space, expand the wings to match the skirtboard and tighten the wing nuts. Now we lay the tool on top of our new prefinished tread and scribe the edges for our cut.
We use this tool because the ends of the tread will not be a perfect 90 degree cut. As you see here, this tread has a fairly sharp angle.
Cutting the stair tread is now as simple as lining our scribe marks up on our sliding miter saw. Now we cut the tread face up to reduce any grain splintering.
Once we've cut one side, repeat the process on our opposite scribe mark.
Now we dry fit the tread and riser to make sure our angles and cuts are acceptable.
Once we've determined that we have a good fit, we apply a bead of construction adhesive like liquid nails to the back of the riser and press it in place. We'll shoot a couple of brad nails through the face of the riser to hold it in place while the glue sets.
We now apply a liberal amount of construction adhesive to the sub tread and lay our new prefinished retro tread in place. Plan on using about one tube of adhesive per tread and riser.
We gently tap the tread into place and use our nail gun to shoot four finish nails into the tread - one in each corner. Finish nails leave a very small hole and the nail gun will recess the fastener below the surface of the tread so it won't be noticeable
From here, we check our next riser dimensions and cut to fit. Again, we'll apply a bead of construction adhesive to the back of the riser
When installing the risers, we always want to install the ripped edge up. This way any uneven cuts will be hidden under the nose of the new tread and the flat edge will show on top of the tread below.
Use a couple of nails to hold in place and we're on to the next step. We want to ensure the top of the riser is flush with the top of the old tread.
Just as before, we check our tread depth; use a table saw to rip the tread; measure our width; and then cut the tread to length with our sliding miter saw.
We'll apply another tube of adhesive to the subtread in a zigzag pattern - we want to ensure proper adhesion but we keep the adhesive just off the front of the tread so it won't leak onto the riser when the tread is installed.
Next we'll tap the new retro tread into place. We'll use finish nails to hold the tread and move on to the next tread and riser
We continue measuring and cutting each tread and riser individually because there is likely some variance from step to step.
If the tread is a tight fit, use a rubber mallet to tap the tread without damaging the face.
We simply work our up the stairs tread by tread until we have completed our install. Because these stair tread are prefinished, we can walk on them immediately after installation and there's no messy polyurethane to deal with. An average installation of retro fit stair treads only takes about a half day from removing the carpet to the final tread.
Prefinished Retro fit stair treads are only available online at stair-treads.com. For more information, visit us online and learn how you can have a new set of real wood stairs.
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