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Installation Video

Changing out your old carpeted staircase to a new real wood staircase is easy with our prefinished RetroFit stair treads. We've put together this short instructional video to learn how to install our prefinished stair treads. To begin watching, click the image above

Reminder: remember to check out and follow any applicable local building codes when performing a remodeling project

Recommended Adhesives

Only use 100% urethane based adhesives when installing solid wood stair treads! Water-based adhesives will 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 will ruin a set of wood stairs and is not covered by our warranty!

Stair Installation Q & A

What are ALL the different tools and saws and nails I will need to complete this project?
Most installs will need the following tools for a quality installation:
  1. Sliding miter saw
  2. Table Saw
  3. Circular saw
  4. 16-gauge finish nail gun with 2" nails (for the retro treads)
  5. 18-gauge finish nail gun with 1" nails (for the cove moulding & risers)
  6. Tape measure
  7. Step-Dr measuring jig (strongly recommended)
  8. Rubber mallet
  9. Hammer
  10. Chisels
  11. Adhesive & Caulk gun
  12. Pencil & straight edge
How do I remove the carpet and what do I use?
Carpet is generally best removed by cutting it into strips and pulling it. It is typically stapled in so a good tug is typically all that's needed to remove it.
After removing the nose of the sub-tread and “cleaning it up”, does the cleaned-up nose need to be perfectly smooth?
No - any part of the old sub-tread that overhangs the risers below should be cut back square so that it's flush but it doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth. The new retro riser will cover any imperfections left from cutting. It's preferable to over-cut the sub-tread so that it's slightly recessed from the riser to prevent "smiles" or gaps between the underside of the new tread and the new retro riser.
Should each step be measured individually, even on a standard stair case?
ABSOLUTELY! Measuring each step is imperative! Even the best prefab (shop built or drop-in) staircases are out or square to some degree and each tread will need to be cut to fit its particular opening. Some staircases can even have as much as a 1-2" variance from the first tread to the last!
How do you stop the surface from being scratched while cutting it to fit?
Our finish is one of the toughest on the market today but taking a couple of preventative steps is a great idea. First, make sure your saw blades are sharp and you have the appropriate blade (see this article for blade selection). Be sure to cut slowly and don't force the saws. When rip cutting the width of treads (if needed), lay a piece of cardboard under the face of the new retrotread and cut through it to prevent the face of the tread from being scratched when sliding it over the table.
Will the treads always need to be rip cut on a table saw?
No- depending on how wide your stairs are, you may be able to use the new retro tread as-is. Many older staircases have narrower steps that require the retro treads to be ripped but newer staircases typically have 11-1/2" wide carpeted treads. The body of the new retro tread is 10-1/4" wide so an 11-1/2" wide existing step with a 1-1/4" overhang will actually need the full-sized retro tread without any rip cutting required.
Should the width of the new Retro tread be measured so that the ENTIRE depth from front to back matches the sub-tread, or from the inside of the nose on the bottom?
It's easiest to measure just the existing tread after any overhang has been removed then cut the body of the retro tread to this measurement. The bullnose (overhanging part of the retro tread) is always 1-1/4" and should be left as-is.
How much glue is needed per tread and per riser and is it the same for wider treads?
About 1 tube of glue is used for every 2 treads and risers on a 36" staircase. Longer treads will require more.
How do you remove the excess putty from the putty stick used on the treads so that it doesn’t look waxy without removing it from where it is needed?
Press hard when filling nail holes to push wax into the hole. Then wipe hard with a rag so the wax is removed from the surface but left in the hole. See this video for more info: