How to Replace Steps and Risers

How to Replace Steps and Risers

Learn how to replace steps and risers to enhance home safety and style. Discover DIY tips and current design trends for a stylish, comfortable staircase upgrade.

Imagine descending your staircase, each step echoing the style and comfort of your beautifully designed home. But what if those stairs are worn or outdated? Replacing steps and risers can transform not just the look but also the safety of your stairway. If you're a homeowner with an eye for design and a heart for your family's safety, this guide on how to replace steps and risers is tailor-made for you.

To replace steps and risers, start by removing the old treads and risers carefully, then measure and cut your new materials to fit. Secure the new treads and risers with adhesive and finishing nails, ensuring everything is aligned and stable for a safe and stylish upgrade.

Note: If you have carpet stair treads installed, you must first remove them before replacing steps and risers.

What You Need to Know Before Replacing Steps and Risers   

Before you begin, it’s essential to understand the scope of your stair renovation project. Replacing stair treads (the part you step on) and risers (the vertical parts between the steps) can seem daunting, but with the right approach, it can be a smooth, rewarding DIY project.

Can You Replace Treads and Risers?   

Absolutely! Whether due to wear and tear or simply a style refresh, replacing treads and risers is a feasible project for most DIY enthusiasts. It's a fantastic way to add a personal touch to your home while ensuring each step is safe and sound.

How to Replace a Broken Stair Tread   

Let's tackle one of the most common issues: how to replace a broken stair tread. This could be a safety hazard, especially in a bustling family home.

  1. Inspect and Measure: Carefully examine your stairs to identify any damaged treads. Measure the length, width, and thickness to ensure your new treads match perfectly.

  2. Choose Your Materials: For a home that values luxury and comfort, select high-quality woods like oak or cherry that offer durability and elegance. If you have pets or children, consider textured finishes to prevent slips.

  3. Removal: Use a pry bar gently to remove the old tread. Be careful not to damage surrounding areas of the staircase.

  4. Installation: Place the new tread, ensuring it fits snugly. Secure it with wood adhesive and finishing nails for a polished look.

  5. Finishing Touches: Sand any rough edges and finish with a stain or paint that complements your home’s interior design.

By replacing a broken stair tread, not only do you enhance the safety of your staircase, but you also rejuvenate its overall aesthetic appeal.

Can You Put New Stair Treads Over Old Ones?   

For those looking for an even simpler upgrade:

Yes, you can install new treads over old ones, a method known as "retreading." It's quicker and less invasive than a full replacement. This option is perfect for DIYers looking to minimize construction time while maximizing impact.

  1. Prepare the Old Treads: Ensure the existing treads are stable and flat. Any loose parts should be repaired or flattened before proceeding.

  2. Measure and Cut: Measure the new treads and cut them to size, ensuring they cover the old ones completely.

  3. Adhesive Application: Apply a strong adhesive to the old tread and carefully place the new tread on top.

  4. Secure and Finish: Secure the new treads with screws or nails, and finish with your choice of stain or paint.

This method not only saves time and effort but also provides an instant upgrade to the look and safety of your stairs.

Creative Examples and Design Trends   

When upgrading your stairs, why not consider the latest design trends? Current favorites include using contrasting colors for treads and risers, such as deep walnut treads paired with crisp white risers, or incorporating carpet stair treads for added comfort and style.

Incorporate elements like LED stair lights for a modern touch that also enhances safety, or use stenciled patterns on wooden risers for a dash of personality.


Replacing steps and risers can significantly impact the style and safety of your home. Whether you choose to replace a broken tread or install new treads over old ones, these improvements are not just about aesthetic enhancement but also about making your home a safer place for your family. With the right tools and a bit of creativity, your staircase can become a highlight of your home's interior design.

Ready to start your stair renovation project? Remember, each step you take brings you closer to the home of your dreams.