How to Cut Stair Treads

How to Cut Stair Treads

Learn how to cut stair treads for your home with this detailed DIY guide. Discover the best tools, techniques, and tips for stylish and safe staircases.

Are you looking to elevate the style and safety of your multi-story home through a DIY project that adds comfort and luxury to your staircase? Cutting stair treads can be an approachable task for the creative homeowner who values design and quality. This guide will walk you through how to cut stair treads, ensuring you have the knowledge to make your staircases both beautiful and functional, a perfect setting for family memories.

To cut stair treads accurately, measure the width of the stair and mark the tread material accordingly, then use a circular saw or a miter saw to make clean, straight cuts ensuring the tread fits snugly against the risers and stringers.

Carpet stair treads can be cut to size using sharp scissors or a utility knife, offering a stylish and safer alternative that enhances comfort and reduces noise on wooden stairs. 

Cut Stair Treads Precisely   

Cutting stair treads accurately is essential for a perfect fit and professional finish. Here’s a simple step-by-step tutorial to help you achieve precise cuts:

  1. Measure Twice, Cut Once: Begin by accurately measuring the width and depth of the space where the tread will be installed. It’s crucial to measure each tread space individually, as dimensions can vary slightly in older homes.

  2. Mark Your Measurements: Transfer the measurements to your tread material using a straight edge and a pencil. Ensure your markings are clear and precise.

  3. Set Up Your Saw: Use a circular saw or a table saw for the best results. Ensure the blade is sharp and appropriate for the type of material you're cutting. For wood, a wood blade with fine teeth is ideal to prevent splintering.

  4. Secure the Tread: Clamp the tread material down to your work surface to prevent it from moving while you cut. This not only ensures a straight cut but also enhances safety.

  5. Make the Cut: Follow the marked line carefully with your saw. Keep the cut steady and slow to maintain control and accuracy.

  6. Sand the Edges: After cutting, sand the edges of the tread to remove any rough spots or splinters. This step is particularly important if you're working with wood, as it prepares the surface for finishing or installation. 

What is the Best Tool to Cut Stair Treads?   

To start your stair tread project, the right tool is crucial for a precise and safe cut. The best tool for cutting stair treads depends largely on the material and the finish you desire. For most homeowners, a power miter saw is ideal. It provides clean, straight cuts and the versatility to handle various materials, from luxurious hardwoods to modern engineered products. Ensure your saw blade is sharp and appropriate for the material to prevent splintering, which is key when aiming for a high-quality finish in your home design.

Can I Cut Stair Treads with a Circular Saw?   

For those who might not have a miter saw at hand, a circular saw is a viable alternative. While it requires a steady hand and careful measurement, with the right blade, a circular saw can efficiently cut stair treads. It’s advisable to use a guide rail or a clamped straight edge to ensure your cuts are as accurate as possible. This method can be particularly useful for cutting treads that need to fit unique angles or custom designs.

What Angle Do You Cut Stairs?   

Understanding the angles in stair construction is essential for both safety and aesthetics. Typically, stair treads are cut to match the rise and run of your staircase, which is determined by your home’s layout. The angle of these cuts can vary, but they are most commonly made at 90 degrees unless your staircase design specifies otherwise. For stairs that turn or have landings, you may need to calculate and cut different angles, often requiring more precise measurements and cuts.

How to Make Your Own Stair Treads?   

To make your own stair treads can be a rewarding project, allowing for customization that fits your home’s style and your personal taste. Start by selecting a high-quality wood that matches your interior design theme and provides the durability needed for heavy foot traffic. Measure and cut each piece according to your staircase's dimensions, sand down the surfaces for smoothness, and finish with a stain or sealant that enhances the wood’s natural beauty while offering protection.

For a unique touch, consider adding carpet stair treads in strategic spots for additional comfort and slip resistance. These can be custom ordered from Oak Valley Designs to perfectly match your décor and stair dimensions, offering a harmonious blend of luxury and safety.

How to Make Your Own Stair Stringers?   

Stair stringers are the backbone of any staircase, supporting the treads and ensuring structural integrity. To make your own stair stringers, you’ll need to layout the rise and run on a suitable piece of timber, using a framing square to mark the cuts. Careful cutting with a circular saw or handsaw will shape your stringers, ready to be installed and support the stylish, custom-cut treads you’ve created.


Cutting your own stair treads is a fantastic way to add personal flair and luxury to your home. It allows for customization that can elevate the overall design and functionality of your living space. Remember, choosing the right tools and materials, understanding the angles, and applying precise measurements are key to success. Collaborating with Oak Valley Designs can further enhance this process, ensuring that each step on your staircase is as stylish as it is safe.