How to Replace Old Stair Treads

How to Replace Old Stair Treads

Discover how to replace old stair treads with our easy-to-follow guide, including tips on wood and carpet options, and how to handle stairs with spindles.

If you've been eyeing those worn-out stair treads in your home, thinking it’s about time for a makeover, then you’re in the right place. Replacing old stair treads can breathe new life into your staircase and, by extension, your home's interior. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to replace old stair treads and those tricky ones with spindles. Plus, we'll answer a couple of burning questions along the way!

To replace old stair treads, start by removing the existing treads carefully, measure and cut the new wood to fit, and secure them in place with wood glue and finishing nails for a fresh, updated look.

Carpet stair treads can effectively conceal wear and imperfections on older stairs, offering a quick and decorative solution without the need for a complete replacement. 

Can I Replace Just the Stair Treads?   

Absolutely! Replacing just the stair treads is a cost-effective way to upgrade your staircase without a full renovation. It's a fantastic solution for those staircases that have structurally sound stringers (the sides of the stairs where treads and risers are attached) and spindles. By updating just the treads, you reduce waste and focus your efforts and budget on what really shows.

How to Replace Wood Stair Treads   

Here's a step by step guide on how to replace wood stair treads:

Step 1: Measure and Remove Old Treads 

Begin by carefully measuring your existing treads. You’ll want to ensure your new treads match these dimensions for a seamless fit. Next, remove the old treads. This might involve prying them up with a crowbar, depending on how they were installed. Take care not to damage the stringers or any surrounding woodwork.

Step 2: Choose Your Wood 

Select the type of wood for your new treads. Oak is a popular choice for its durability and aesthetic appeal, but there are many options depending on your style and budget. Ensure the wood is treated and suitable for indoor use, especially in high-traffic areas.

Step 3: Cut to Size 

Cut your wood to match the measurements you took earlier. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, most hardware stores will cut the wood for you when you purchase it.

Step 4: Install New Treads 

Install the new treads using wood glue and finishing nails for a secure fit. Be sure to align everything neatly, checking that each tread is level as you go.

How to Replace Stair Treads with Spindles   

Replacing stair treads with spindles can be a bit more complex, as you need to work around the spindles without damaging them.

Step 1: Remove Old Treads 

Carefully saw through the old treads between the spindles and pry them out piece by piece. This meticulous process helps prevent damage to the spindles and the stringers.

Step 2: Template Creation 

Create a template of the new tread by tracing around an old tread on a piece of cardboard. This step is crucial to ensure your new treads fit perfectly around the spindles.

Step 3: Cut New Treads 

Using the template, cut the new treads. Double-check the fit before final installation.

Step 4: Install 

Fit the new treads around the spindles. It might be helpful to install them at an angle or slightly lift the spindles if possible. Secure the treads as mentioned above.

How Do You Fix Worn Stair Treads?   

Fixing worn stair treads can often be simpler than a full replacement. If the damage is minimal, consider sanding down the treads and reapplying a matching wood stain and finish. This can significantly improve their appearance and extend their life. If the treads are too worn, however, replacing them might be your best option.

Carpet Stair Treads   

Carpet stair treads are an excellent alternative for those who do not wish to replace wooden treads or for adding additional safety and comfort. They can be easily installed over existing treads, providing a non-slip surface and protecting the wood underneath from further wear. Carpet treads are particularly popular in homes with kids, elderly residents, or pets, and they add a warm, decorative touch.

By understanding how to replace old stair treads, whether they're wood or carpet, you equip yourself with the knowledge to not only enhance the safety of your home but also its overall charm and character. Remember, each step you take in this DIY project brings you closer to a more beautiful and functional home.


Replacing your stair treads is a surefire way to elevate your home’s interior design while ensuring each step you take is safe and sound. Whether you opt for the sleek sophistication of new wood treads or the soft comfort of carpet, your staircase can become a highlight of your home.