How to Replace Treads and Risers

How to Replace Treads and Risers

Learn how to replace treads and risers to enhance your home’s style and safety with our guide, including tips on installation order and overlay options.

Are you looking to transform your multi-story home into a more stylish, comfortable, and safe space? If "how to replace treads and risers" has been on your mind, you've come to the right place. Upgrading your staircase not only enhances the beauty of your home but also ensures the safety of your family and pets. Incorporating luxurious carpet stair treads from the beginning can redefine the comfort and elegance of your living space.

Replacing treads and risers involves removing the old components and installing new ones, starting with the risers first for a seamless look and safer finish. This upgrade can significantly enhance the style, comfort, and safety of your staircase.

Can You Replace Treads and Risers?   

Yes, replacing treads and risers can be a fantastic way to update your home's interior. For homeowners like you, who cherish both design and functionality, taking on this project means creating a more inviting atmosphere in your home. When replacing old, worn-out treads and risers, you have the opportunity to choose materials that are not only durable but also align with your aesthetic preferences.

Starting with the basics, treads are the part of the staircase where you step, while risers are the vertical pieces that stand between each tread. Upgrading these elements can dramatically change the look and feel of your staircase. Whether you're aiming for a modern minimalist design or a warm, classic feel, the materials and styles you choose can make all the difference.

Replacing Stair Treads and Risers   

Here's a step-by-step tutorial on how to replace stair treads and risers:

Step 1: Prepare the Area  

  • Remove Old Treads and Risers: Start by carefully removing the existing treads and risers. Use a pry bar and hammer to loosen them, taking care not to damage the stringers (the side supports of the stairs).

  • Clean Up: Once removed, clean off any glue, nails, or debris from the stringers and the area where the new treads and risers will be installed.

Step 2: Measure and Cut New Treads and Risers  

  • Measure Accurately: Measure each tread and riser individually, as stairs can often have slight variations in size. For treads, measure the width and depth of the step; for risers, measure the height and width.

  • Cut Materials: Using your measurements, cut the new treads and risers from your chosen material. A table saw or a circular saw can ensure straight, clean cuts.

Step 3: Install Risers  

  • Apply Adhesive: Apply a construction adhesive to the back of each riser. This will help to secure the riser in place and reduce movement and squeaks.

  • Position the Risers: Fit the riser against the stringers and beneath the tread nosing above it. Make sure it's flush and level before securing it.

  • Secure with Nails or Screws: Use finishing nails or screws to fasten the riser into the stringers. If using nails, consider a nail gun to make the job easier and neater.

Step 4: Install Treads  

  • Apply Adhesive: Similar to the risers, apply a strong construction adhesive to the top of the stringers and the back of the treads to prevent movement and noise.

  • Place the Treads: Align the treads with the front edge of the riser below and press down firmly. Ensure the tread is centered and flush with the risers.

  • Secure the Treads: Use finishing nails or screws to secure the treads. Screwing down the treads is often preferred for a more stable and durable finish.

Step 5: Finishing Touches  

  • Caulk Gaps: If there are any gaps between the treads, risers, or stringers, use caulk to fill them. This provides a cleaner look and further stabilizes the stairs.

  • Sand and Finish: Sand any rough edges or surfaces to prepare for finishing. Apply a stain or paint to match your home’s décor. Make sure to use a durable product that can handle foot traffic.

Step 6: Install Carpet Stair Treads (Optional)  

  • Choose Carpet Treads: Select high-quality, stylish carpet stair treads like those from Oak Valley Designs to add comfort and safety to your staircase.

  • Align and Secure: Place each carpet tread on the center of the wooden tread, and secure it with double-sided tape or adhesive to prevent slipping. 

Do You Install Treads or Risers First?   

When it comes to the installation process, the order in which you install treads and risers can impact both the project's ease and the final appearance. Typically, it’s advisable to install the risers first. This approach allows you to fit the treads snugly on top of the risers, creating a seamless edge that enhances safety and contributes to a cleaner look. Installing risers first reduces the risk of tripping hazards and ensures a more stable and secure staircase.

For a DIY enthusiast like yourself, taking precise measurements and choosing the right tools will make the installation smoother. Remember, each step in your staircase might have slightly different dimensions, especially in older homes, so measure each tread and riser individually.

Can You Put New Stair Treads Over Old Ones?   

Absolutely, placing new stair treads over the old ones is a viable option for those seeking a quick and effective upgrade. This method is especially appealing if the existing structure is still solid but you desire a fresh new look or a softer feel underfoot, crucial for homes with children and pets.

However, it’s essential to assess the condition of your current treads before overlaying new ones. Ensure they are flat and stable to avoid any uneven surfaces that could become a safety hazard. Using high-quality carpet stair treads from Oak Valley Designs can introduce an element of luxury and warmth to your staircase. These treads are not only easy to install but also come in various designs that can be customized to match your home décor perfectly.

How much Does it Cost to Replace Stair Treads?  

How much it costs to replace stair treads can vary widely depending on the materials chosen and whether you hire a professional or tackle the project yourself. On average, the material cost for wooden stair treads ranges from $30 to $75 per tread. If you opt for higher-end materials like hardwood or custom designs, prices can increase significantly. Labor costs, if you're not going DIY, typically range from $100 to $200 per step, which includes both treads and risers. Therefore, a full staircase renovation can cost anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, based on the number of steps and the quality of materials used.


Upgrading your staircase by replacing treads and risers is more than just a renovation; it's about creating a safe, comfortable, and beautiful environment where your family can make lasting memories. Whether you choose to install new risers first, overlay new treads, or fully replace both, these changes can significantly impact your home’s aesthetic and functionality.

At Oak Valley Designs, we understand the importance of matching every detail to your unique style and needs. Collaborate with us to get a custom order that fits your specific stair layout and design preferences. Let us help you make your home more inviting and luxurious with our high-quality, easy-to-install stair treads that promise both style and comfort.