Weekend Project – Installing New Stair Treads

Have you ever dreamt of having beautiful hardwood stairs but your stairs look something like this? Did you know that you do not have to rip out your old stairs?
weekend project installing new stair treads
These were the stairs in my son's 1950's fixer upper. After months of renovation, after the carpeting was pulled up and asbestos tile was removed, the drywall guys came and dripped spackle all over the stairs followed by layer upon layer of sanded spackle dust capped off with paint drips.

I thought he would go with carpeting to cover up those ugly steps but he had other ideas, hardwood.
weekend project installing new stair treads
He was able to order stair treads from StairSupplies.com.  The site has everything you would need to redo your stairs including treads, risers,  railings and balusters.

Their new stair treads came unfinished and ready for stain and polyurethane.  These treads were the  1/2″ white oak with 1″ nose.
weekend project installing new stair treads
After one coat of stain and 3 coats of polyurethane, the treads matched their hardwood floors.
weekend project installing new stair treads
The existing curved nosing was cut with a circular saw and chisel.  Keith assured me that he knew exactly what to do getting his expert advice from Youtube.
weekend project installing new stair treads
You can buy stair risers but they chose to use the existing knotty pine boards as the backing for their stairs.  The gap where the knotty pine hit the cut off nose was covered with a 1/4″ x 1″ trim board.
weekend project installing new stair treads
The stair risers had to have holes filled, sanded,  primed and painted before adding the new stair treads.
weekend project installing new stair treads
Each stair tread was measured and cut individually then attached with builders adhesive and several finishing nails at the back of the tread.

If they had installed the risers, those finishing nails would have been covered up by the riser from the stair above it.
weekend project installing new stair treads
Right now I have carpeting over my stairs but these new treads turned out so gorgeous I may have inspired myself to do a project.

Make sure you head over to my website for more amazing before and after pictures. And if you're into metal working, his uncle designed and built him a new railing which turned out stunning, it may give you ideas for your home.

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • Lauren of Mom Home Guide
    on Feb 7, 2018

    Looks great! Did you have to remove the original treads for this project? How much did the new treads cost? I should look into this project. I looked into having hardwood installed on my stairs, and was quoted over $9,000!
    • Don
      on Jun 10, 2018

      I did mine at $26.00 per stair. Also tiled the risers. It is stunning and easy to do.

  • Darlene Frederick
    on Feb 11, 2018

    Love the look, but we find the wood stairs loud when people walk up and down them. Are the treds any quieter>
  • Leeann
    on Jul 10, 2019

    The before picture is an exact replica of my current stairs. I've been looking for a long time to see a project that resolved covering the original 7/8 tread. What was done in this post is what I was thinking of doing. So glad to see it worked out so well. And I'm also getting a cable railing built and installed to complete my stairway.

    Are these stairs slippery?

    • ScavengerChic
      on Jul 11, 2019

      They have the same finish as hardwood flooring so I would say somewhat slippery if you're in socks

Join the conversation

2 of 14 comments
  • Matt Hope
    on Nov 13, 2018

    Wooden stairs look great within the home. They look really good and keep your home feeling like a home. As a contractor I've been seeing lots of cable railing systems popping up as people redo their stairs or build new. I just started following a company ( LuxlineMaterials.com) that does custom railings that take stairs up a notch.

  • Donald Repp
    on Jan 26, 2019

    Instead of StairSupplies.com, try Lowe's. At StairSupplies, a 36" red oak, unfinished, bull nose tread is $43.51. It is 1/2" thick by 11.25" wide w/ a 1" bullnose. The same item at Lowe's is $26.20 and is 5/8" thick with a 1-7/8" bull nose. So you get a heavier piece of wood for about 1/3 less. I am a contractor and have used the Lowe's treads. The wood grain is beautiful and takes stain very evenly without the need for pre sealing. I can't speak for StairSupplies but from their website pictures, the wood appears to be "select" grade, just like Lowe's.

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