Over time, the staircase will shift as the house settles and nails can work themselves loose, not only leaving an unsightly hole but also creating a safety hazard. Now modern technology allows for the installation of stair treads without having to drill holes for screws or hammer nails into the surface. Installing solid wood stair treads requires knowledge of wood grain, cutting wood, construction and using power tools. This task also requires a bit of patience to complete but the result is a beautiful staircase that will last for decades.

Things You Will Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Miter saw
  • Stain
  • Polyurethane glue
  • Rubber mallet


Measure the length and width of each stair tread individually. On most staircases, each stair is a slightly different size. This is the result of the house shifting, curved walls or planned design elements. Allowing for a 1 1/2-inch overhang, the minimum depth of the stair tread must be at least 10 inches.


Cut the tread to the exact size needed using a miter saw. The blade of the miter saw must cut the wood on the waste side of the marked line or your stair tread will be too short. Do not cut through the line or on the measured side of the tread. Both mistakes will leave you with a wasted stair tread.


Number each tread piece on the back side where it will not be seen after installation with the corresponding step number as you cut them. Stair treads are installed starting at the bottom step, so that will be step one.


Stain the treads to protect the surface of the wood. Leave the stain to dry according to the manufacturer’s directions. Apply the second coat and again let the stain dry.


Set the stair treads in place, testing each to make sure it fits properly. Leave the treads on their respective steps until you are ready to install them.


Squeeze a bead of polyurethane glue along each stringer that the step will rest on. Squeeze a second bead along the back side of the tread, the side that will be butted up against the riser.


Set the stair tread in place and tap the front edge with a rubber mallet to form a bond with the glue and the riser. Tap along the top of the tread at the stringers to form a bond with the glue there.


Leave the glue to cure according to the manufacturer’s directions and avoid walking on the stairs until then.


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