How to Remove and Replace Stair Treads

by Farmer Jack
Updated on

Stairs are a functional part of a building and they carry lots of weight per day. However, when they become loose, squeaky, or form some gaps, you need to repair them. Repair involves removing broken stair treads entirely, damaged end nosing, or fixing the treads with new ones.

Carpeted stairs may have lots of work as you will have to get rid of the carpet and pins holding them onto the stair. You can then proceed to pull out the stair treads. In this article, we will give you a systematic procedure on how to remove and replace stair treads. Let’s dive in.

Removing the Stair Treads

The best way to do it is to start from the top downwards especially if you have to do away with the carpet first. If that’s not the case, you can as well begin from the lowest step. Here is a simple procedure to remove the stair treads.

1. Identify the point between the riser and the stair tread. Using a crowbar, pull up the stair tread partially.

2. Get rid of the nails and pins around the stringer beam area. Cut through with a reciprocating saw to remove the long nails.

Next Up

3. Lever up the stair tread and try fixing the gaps between the stair and the wall. Using a rubber mallet, pound in the riser to the wall and place a thin block of wood to prevent further shifts and gapping.

4. Repeat steps 1-3 for the rest of the stairs before you proceed.

5. Clean out any dust under the stairs before tread replacement. A vacuum cleaner should do a good job. Besides, a broom and shovel should clear it as well. Do not forget to put on a dust mask as a precaution.

Dimensions and Sizes for the New Stair Treads

The new treads should be the same size as the old ones unless there are some gaps which you need to take care of. You will need templates, scrapers, pencils, clamps, a table saw, and any other materials that should help you get accurate measurements. Let’s look at how to get the dimensions and new tread cuttings.

1.  Take note of all the dimensions on an old tread using a stair gauge or a combination square and mark it off on a template. Ensure that no gaps remain. Tread lengths may vary from one stair to the next.

2. Head over to your timber store and select your wood of choice. It may be finished or unfinished wood.

3. Measure out the new treads using the template and scrap any larger strips to size down to your template.

Also Note…

That staircase measurements should tally with the building codes of your state or country. So, you should use the required nosing, riser and stair tread lengths, and depths.

4. Trim down all the new treads to the right size using a table saw. To avoid confusion, label each new tread dependingon its location on the staircase. If the lowest is 1, label 1 and label them in an ascending manner.

Precaution: always have your goggles when working on wood. You can never tell when chips will fly your way.

5. You should be good enough with tapering accuracy to use a table saw. Make sure that the table saw blades have a cover and that cloths hold well on your body. That is, no hanging stuff around table saws.

You can also use thinner scrapers to trim thinner measurements.

Remember, you will have different templates for each tread because the measurements vary with each step.

How to Fix New Treads

After removing the old treads, the new ones should fit properly after the templates you made. They should also match with the staircase dimensions. How do you go about it? Here is a method to use when replacing stair treads. Let’s dive in.

1. Take the new treads and confirm that they are the right fit. If not, adjust the measurements as required. Each tread should fit well without leaving gaps in the sidewall.

2. Fix your tread to the lowest step with construction adhesive using a spray can. Apply it in a wave-like motion to create a larger surface for attachment. Hold it in place by pressing it down a little.

3. Hammer in some nails at a distance using a nail gun for a more secure fit. Ensure that the nails hold well especially in the stringer area. The nail gun should make the nails unnoticeable.

Repeat This

4. Repeat the process with the preceding steps until you finish all of them. Make sure that you leave no gaps between the riser and the stair treads or around the sidewalls.

5. Paint some wood finish on your stairs

If you are using unfinished wood, you have the choice of buying a paint finish that you like. If you prefer oak stair treads,you can apply an oak finish and enjoy a bright stairway. This is less expensive than the finished treads.

Do not forget to alert the other stair users to stay away during the renovation process. Give time to every step to dry before setting foot to continue with the painting process.

Can you have New Treads over Old stair Treads

Although it is possible, this goes against the measurements concerning the building codes. It may result in a rather high stair than preferred.

The best way is to remove the treads while fixing them with new ones. Besides that, you can repair the damaged tread as long as it does not interfere with the balusters.


The purpose of replacing the stair treads is to keep everyone safe and confident while walking downstairs. It is even more important for busy staircases to be in perfect condition, that is, tight risers and no gaps or weird squeaks especially if you are using wooden stair treads. If you are looking for a simple way to renovate your stairs, check out our guide on how to do it. It’s cheaper and workable if you have the right tools at hand.

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Farmer Jack


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