Stacy Davis
Stacy Davis
  • Tutorial Team
  • Fredericksburg, VA

From Carpet to Wood Stairs Redo - Cheater Version...


You know all of those stair tutorials that are a lot of work... lots of scraping and lots of painting. Well, this is a cheater version (little scraping / little painting) that uses wood caps on top of your existing stairs. They are called Retro Treads and mine were unstained red oak from Lowes.
from carpet to wood stairs redo cheater version, diy, how to, stairs


from carpet to wood stairs redo cheater version, diy, how to, stairs

These required very little effort. If it weren't for the landing, I would have been finished in a weekend.
Retro Treads can be found on the internet. Mine were unstained and I stained them a very dark color. I put three coats of stain on each tread two hours apart for curing.
from carpet to wood stairs redo cheater version, diy, how to, stairs

First , I removed all the carpet. That was the hardest part of the project. There were a million staples. I would peel out a corner and then yank. Then, I came back with a heavy duty pliers and pulled out all the staples. I scraped the stairs a little and vacuumed them. I didn't really spend a lot of time on them unless there was a chunk of spackle that would make a bump. A stair cap covers them completely, no worries about how awful they look. Also the floor adhesive is pretty thick and I applied a generous amount so that also allows for some forgiveness here.
from carpet to wood stairs redo cheater version, diy, how to, stairs

I bought prepainted white mdf boards and cut them down for risers. It came out to around $40. My Retro Tread Caps were $23 a piece. They are really long and I cut about 12 inches off each. I do have a landing and I used one Retro Tread and added enough red oak boards behind it to cover the landing. I put them all together with wood glue, clamped them securely. Then, I installed it as one large piece. Hindsight, that one large piece was heavy and hard to handle by myself.
from carpet to wood stairs redo cheater version, diy, how to, stairs

To adhere the caps to the steps, I used heavy duty flooring adhesive in a giant caulk gun and a nail gun to secure them. First, I put on all the risers, DO NOT DO THIS. It works much better to put on the cap and then the riser sits on the back of the step and helps hold it in place. So in the picture above, all those risers were ripped out and mdf breaks when pried. It wasn't a pretty picture... I do believe I had to buy more... sigh...
from carpet to wood stairs redo cheater version, diy, how to, stairs

This was the stain that I used and I love how it came out. I only used part of this can. A little bit went a long way. Every single time I walk up them, I love them. We were talking of moving and my oldest son said, "What! After you made the mudroom and redid the stairs! Are you kidding?" Well, I am sure there will be projects in the next house as well. :)
from carpet to wood stairs redo cheater version, diy, how to, stairs

Here is a picture of the landing. It consists of a Retrotread and then I glued assorted sizes of red oak boards to the far side of it. I was worried that the boards might stain differently than the Retroread but it was a perfect match.

*** UPDATE *** I get a lot of questions on if my wood steps are slippery and if we have trouble with people falling on them. I really think this involves many factors that are individual to your situation. We lived in Florida at the time I put these steps in our house. Since it is almost always hot there, we didn't have a lot of sock-footed traffic on the stairs. I think that socks on stairs can be dangerous, either wood or carpet. Another factor for us, was the fact that only one bedroom was up these stairs. Pretty much only the teenager that was living up there, traveled up those stairs regularly and myself to clean. In addition, to these factors, my kids were older. All of them teenagers. Now in regard to the stairs themselves, I didn't spend a lot of time sanding these treads. I made sure they wouldn't have any super rough spots but I didn't spend hours sanding them ultra smooth. And those glossy super shiny wood floors you see? These stairs are beautiful but the poly that I planned to add, I never did. So maybe a super shiny poly would have made a difference. ***
from carpet to wood stairs redo cheater version, diy, how to, stairs
In my current house, the wood stairs lead to a carpeted hallway. I like how the previous homeowners transitioned this area. I thought others could use this idea as inspiration.

Have a question about this project?

52 questions
  • Cheryl
    on Nov 13, 2015

    When you reached the top of your stairs, how did you transition from the wood and back to carpet? Your final project looks amazing. You inspire me.

    • Stacy Davis
      on Nov 15, 2015

      @Cheryl I wish I had a picture of the top but I don't live there any longer. My top step was actually the entrance to a bonus room. So it was about 3 inches of step overhang. So the carpeting from the bonus room came through the doorway and covered the overhang of the top step. This link has a picture of a similiar situation... https://sites.google.com/site/josephwsmith2/stairs

  • Jaz3187726
    on Dec 4, 2015

    Is it possible to match steps with a grey stain?? I have grey laminate ( we went with laminate because of the animals and the possible nail scratching) and I would love to get rid of the carpet on our stairs but I am not sure I could find a similar stain.

    • Stacy Davis
      on Dec 20, 2015

      @Jazzrules2 I am sure you can. There are some great grey stains out there and a lot of people custom mix one color with others, either lighter or darker, until they achieve that exact desired hue.

  • Michelle
    on Dec 7, 2015

    Hello! Beautiful stairs! What type of poly finish did you use on top of the stain? Thank you-Michelle

    • Stacy Davis
      on Dec 7, 2015

      @Michelle I got this from DuraSeal's website It can be used with or without a finish coat, and is compatible with all DuraSeal® water-borne and oil-modified finish systems. When I researched which to use, I found that most people said that water-based top coats protected better but oil-based should go over oil-based stains. I found several professional flooring companies that recommended putting one coat of Oil-Based Sealer, then two coats of Water-Based Finish on top. I ended up not putting a top coat on since these stairs didn't see much traffic and we had enough animals and I was sure they would track through it while the several coats were drying. After 4 years, they still looked brand new. I hope that helped!

  • Leda Lee Maxwell
    on Dec 11, 2015

    So, the stairs in the picture are stained with Dura Seal shown and you didn't have to put a polyurethane sealer? If that is right I am so doing this!!!

    • Stacy Davis
      on Dec 20, 2015

      @Leda Lee Maxwell That is correct... I took a chance doing that and never regretted it. In all fairness though, these stairs didn't get a lot of foot traffic.

  • Peggy
    on Dec 16, 2015

    What kind of saw did you use to cut the mdf and the treads? Also, did you glue the risers only or also nail?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Dec 16, 2015

      I used a power miter box saw. First, I tried to use just heavy grade flooring adhesive because I didn't want nail marks and putty in the wood. But it didn't take long and some treads loosened and came off. I ended up taking them all off, adding adhesive and then used a power finish nailer and then they stayed put. The finish nailer didn't leave big holes, just tiny ones that I filled in with dark colored wood putty. I really had to look close to see them. Hope that helps!

  • Elissa C
    on Dec 20, 2015

    I wonder what minx stain is similar to the Dura Seal you used. Any ideas? beautiful job, by the way!

    • Stacy Davis
      on Dec 20, 2015

      @Elissa C Thank you! Good question. One time I stained a two wood crates using the Duraseal on one and Minwax on the other. The results were so identical that I couldn't tell a difference. I will try to recreate in the near future to confirm which color stain it was. I don't remember for sure, but I think it was Minwax dark walnut. That is the Minwax stain that I use most of the time.

  • Cha3572689
    on Dec 29, 2015

    How much in total did this project cost?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Dec 29, 2015

      @Chandlerdickson This was about 5 years ago and at the time, I bought my Retro treads on Clearance at Lowes for $23 a piece. I had 13 stairs and a landing. I had to buy risers for the 13 stairs and 3 pieces of red oak boards to finish out the landing. I had tools to remove the carpet and I already had a power miter box, a nail gun and finishing nails to attach the treads. (my miter box was old and only cut like 6 inches across. I would cut half way and then flip and cut half way from the other side. It was a tremendous pain and it didn't always line up perfectly.) I did have to buy an extra large caulking gun to apply the heavy duty floor adhesive. The gun was $20 and I bought several cans/tubes of flooring adhesive but only used 2. I think the adhesive was $5 a can/tube. The Duraseal stain was about $40 including the shipping and I remember the shipping on it was high but I wanted that color and brand :). I remember buying a lot of sanding sponges, not sure how many I bought. I don't have the receipts but I would guess the entire project came to slightly less than $500. I see the Retro treads now are $10 more than what I paid five years ago but still a good buy in my book.

    • Ajf4215075
      on Jan 26, 2016

      @Chandlerdickson Did he respond on cost?

  • Ijensen
    on Dec 29, 2015

    Love this....I have the oak treads sitting in my garage for over a year just trying to get the nerve and time to do this to mine....:) I love how yours turned out. Were your stairs pretty square? I am concerned a straight cut on the ends might not be square with my existing stairs....:( Also, the sides of my stairs had carpet on them so I need to fill in the staple holes and sand. Yours turned out just beautiful!!! I've never seen Dura Seal....I am going to look for it. I am butting the top tread to my wood flooring and need a good match. I kept the tread with the least oak grain for the top one in hopes of making a smooth transition. My wood flooring has a variation in color so I think if careful, I can relic the color. Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Stacy Davis
      on Dec 30, 2015

      @Ijensen You really sound like you are good to go! You sound like you have problem solved your way through all the visible issues and that means should you ready for anything unseen. I was lucky that my stairs must have been square because I didn't run into that issue. When I first loaded all those treads on my cart at Lowes, I chickened out and put them back. When I came a few days later, they were gone. Then a month later, they had more or had moved them and I snatched them up and didn't look back. So, I can totally relate to how you feel right now.

  • Tameka Smith
    on Jan 29, 2016

    Did you also use the nosing, or just the tread?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Jan 29, 2016

      @Tameka Smith I hope this picture helps. There is a front nosing on each stair tread.

      , It comes with a front nosing that is attached
  • Tameka Smith
    on Jan 29, 2016

    did you also have to buy the stair tread nosing, or just the stair tread?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Jan 29, 2016

      @Tameka Smith On my bottom stair, I had to buy a corner/side nosing because that side was in view and not up against the wall like my other stairs. I stained it on and used wood glue to attach it and it was impossible to tell that it was an add on. All of the stairtreads came with the decorative front nosing.

    • Tameka Smith
      on Jan 29, 2016

      Thanks so much!

  • Helene Katz
    on Jan 31, 2016

    We're the stairs plywood? I have plywood under carpeting. Need to replace carpet but not too happy of having dirtcy carpet again. Hardwood is too expensive.

    • Stacy Davis
      on Jan 31, 2016

      @Helene Katz The riser was pressed plywood, I believe and the tread was a super thick board that you can see in some of the pictures. I don't have any pictures of what the riser looked like under the carpet.

  • Gracie Gomez
    on Feb 1, 2016

    Love! I want to do this for our stairs, but am kinda of afraid of the cost. If each thread cap is $23, that seems so expensive (is that one cap per stair?)! And how much were the threads? Also, what exactly are the "threads" - the actual wood piece that goes over each step? Sorry, but I don't know anything about these terms.

    • Stacy Davis
      on Feb 1, 2016

      @Gracie Gomez Yes, it is one tread per stair. You are correct. A tread is the top part of the step, where your foot lands going up and down the steps. It is more expensive than buying regular stair treads because it is saving you some time and effort using this prefab method. My brother-in-law is a building contractor and he asked me how much I spent on the project and I said, "I think around $400 or so..." He said if he was hired to take a carpet stairway to hardwoods, he would charge around $10,000. Washington DC area. Now if you can use what is under your carpet to paint or stain, that is the most affordable way to go. What was under my carpet, would not have worked for this option. I wish you the best of luck with your project!

    • Gracie Gomez
      on Feb 1, 2016

      @Stacy Davis Thank you!

  • Zoraida
    on Feb 3, 2016

    what did you use for the landing?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Feb 3, 2016

      It consists of a Retrotread and then I glued assorted sizes of red oak boards to the far side of it. I was worried that the boards might stain differently than the Retrotread but it was a perfect match.

    • Eric Carter
      on Apr 2, 2016

      Can you elaborate? i'm not sure what you mean by "glued assorted...far side of it". Did you put the Retrotread down on top of the plywood sub floor and then glue down oak boards behind the Retrotread? I'm in the process converting our stairs to wood from carpet. My concern is putting boards down on top of the plywood and having one taller step followed by a shorter step.

    • Stacy Davis
      on May 2, 2016

      I did exactly as you are describing. I don't think I had that problem. My first step might have been a little taller and the last step at the very top. But since I was removing a thick carpet pad and thick carpet, I never felt like any steps were off or too tall or too short. Hope your experience is a good one. Maybe ask a professional in the flooring department.

    • Cindy
      on May 24, 2016

      I want you to know that this rocks!!!! I can not wait to do my steps!!! I have wanted to get rid of the carpet on my steps forever and now I can. I am going to attach a decorative tile on the riser!!! I am SO HAPPY I found this page today!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!!

  • Msp4364925
    on Feb 3, 2016

    Did you use polyurethane after this particular stain?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Feb 3, 2016

      For many years, I didn't polyurethane. Right before we put our house up for sale, we had a crew who was painting the interior add a coat of poly to the stairs. It wasn't noticeable at all and since we sold shortly thereafter, I can't even tell you if it made a difference or not.

  • Christina Wilson
    on Feb 12, 2016

    where or what site did you get your treads?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Feb 12, 2016

      I bought them at Lowes in Orlando, FL but I see Home Depot has a version as well now. I bought them about 4 years ago, I think. I have been told that they have gone up in price since I bought them.

    • Christina Wilson
      on Feb 12, 2016

      probably, they are about 35 -35 dollars.

  • Sny5337285
    on Mar 29, 2016

    What did you do at the top of the steps? The cap would be higher than the floor but you still need the same edge and color.

    • Stacy Davis
      on Mar 29, 2016

      These stairs led to a bonus room over our garage. That room was carpeted, so the carpeting just rolled over the edge at the top. In a way, there wasn't a stair at the top, just a doorway to a room... If that makes sense...

  • JL
    on Apr 9, 2016

    Can you provide the source for the risers? We have gorgeous hardwood treads but our risers are gooped up with black adhesive that we have heard is toxic to remove. Are thinking we should cover it w new risers.

    • Stacy Davis
      on Apr 9, 2016

      I measured the height of my existing risers and then I went to Lowes but you could go to any of the places that you buy wood. I compared options of all the boards that equalled the width that I needed. I ended up picking white primed mdf because I was on a tight budget and it was really inexpensive for 13 stairs. If I had more money to spend, I would have gone with some type of solid wood (probably a hard wood, then primed and painted it myself). Good luck and I hope that helps.

  • Patricia Kobar Abbott
    on Jul 3, 2016

    The stairs are beautiful! Great job! In the process of remodeling, want to remove carpet on stairs, live in townhouse, 6 stairs up, 6 down therefore high traffic, concern is white back area of stairs, does it get scuffed from shoes, did y use protective sealant ?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Jul 4, 2016

      I didn't seal it and if a scuff appeared a Magic Eraser took care of it. At the time we lived here, since it was Florida, we didn't have a lot of shoe traffic. I believe my white paint was high gloss for wood trim and that made a big difference in cleaning the white risers. I hope that helps! Good luck to you on your stairs!

    • Patricia Kobar Abbott
      on Jul 5, 2016

      Thank you, Stacy for response which is a big help, love clean look. Also, getting contractor to make steps deeper which should help. In process of entire kitchen remodel, then stair cases, will post pix when project is completed. Thank you, advice is much appreciated! Pat

  • Mnr8965673
    on Jul 24, 2016

    Love how your stairs turned out, great job! Did you have to cut the existing stair tread flush with the riser?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Jul 24, 2016

      Thank you! I didn't cut them flush. It is hard to tell from the picture, how much overhang there was. The retro tread has a portion of molding that hangs down and disguises this area so you don't need to make additional cuts to the existing treads. Hope this helps!

    • Mnr8965673
      on Jul 24, 2016

      Thank you very much. That helps a lot! That has been the one sticky point preventing me from doing this to my basement stairwell. I didn't want to have to trim all the treads to accommodate the covers. As soon as I finish the drywall downstairs, this will be my next project. Thank you for the excellent photos and explanations.

  • Matthew Ellis
    on Aug 1, 2016

    Great looking stairs. what lumber did you use to match the retro tread so well on for thickness and grain on the landing? I have a similar situation, but with a triangular landing. Thanks.

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 1, 2016

      I used red oak boards from the lumber aisle at Home Depot or Lowes and I was shocked at how well they matched the Retrotread. I was also surprised at how well they stayed together with wood glue and clamping. I was worried it might not work because they weren't tongue and groove and I might have gaps.

    • Matthew Ellis
      on Aug 2, 2016

      Thanks Stacy. I think this may be our solution :)

    • I bought tread at a local lumber yard that has been in business for about a hundred years for approximately $2.00 a foot. They turned out beautiful.

  • Gabrielle Bonin
    on Aug 10, 2016

    `We have a 100 years old house, and on the stairs there is carpet, but in these days I don't know what kind of glue they put, but we can't pull iit out, is there something that we can put on it so we would have less trouble taking it off ????

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 11, 2016

      I wish I could help but you might need an expert for this. We were lucky that the glue that I couldn't get up, wasn't that thick. Actually, the floor adhesive that I used might have been thicker than the glue for the carpet. The floor adhesive glue created almost a layer of "frosting" that I put the Retrotread on and that covered my residue carpet glue. I would ask someone in the flooring dept of a hardware store and they can probably steer you in the right direction.

    • Gabrielle Bonin
      on Aug 14, 2016

      Thank you, I'll try something, but I know it will be very hard to take the old carpet off, maybe have to take the stairs off and put new ones..

  • Leslie
    on Aug 14, 2016

    Stacy I just looked them up online at Lowes and the ones I think you used are almost $32 each. Your tutorial made me want to start on my stairs. Did you buy them in the store and is that why yours were less expensive? Big difference from the price you quoted of $23 :/

    • Thr6170651
      on Aug 14, 2016

      Try Home Depot

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 14, 2016

      I did this probably around 5 years ago (maybe more)... and when I found that at Lowes, they were on clearance. They weren't well known and people weren't using them... then I posted this tutorial saying they were the best thing since sliced bread... and the price went back up to full price but it is still pretty reasonable. My brother-in-law is a building contractor and he told me that if he took a client's builder grade carpeted stairs to red oak stairs, it would be around $10,000. Maybe, he was just being kind but he is also talking about a professional job and not a DIY. But I think mine looked pretty good for the price that I paid. $32 times 13 stairs = $416 and $23 times 13 stairs = $299 I still think it is worth it at $416! Thanks for reading my post!

    • Mary Cat
      on Aug 14, 2016

      I was in the orange store in Houston this week and they have pine stair treads for around $10.00 a piece. NOT the red oak they are more $$.

  • Aec4330536
    on Aug 14, 2016

    Everywhere I've looked , theatre's are $40 - $50 each. Do you have a more inexpensive supplier.

    • Eileen shea
      on Aug 14, 2016

      Home Depot carries them in pine & oak for under $25 each

    • Helen
      on Aug 14, 2016

      I always use a can/bottle opener with the pointy side to get under those carpet staples and pop them up. Makes the job much easier. I used one to pull out carpeting in 3 bedrooms, hall and living room. I was lucky the floors underneath were in perfect condition and only needed cleaning. I used a Swiffer with Orange Glo wood cleaner. Gorgeous even after many months of use.

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 16, 2016

      Lowes.com has them for $32, which really isn't too bad. Millworkcity.com has a large section... Hope that helps

  • Al Hendershot
    on Aug 14, 2016

    Transition from stairs to flooring in upstairs hall or bedroom floor? Since you are adding thickness to stair tread, did you use some form of trans it ion strip at top of stairs?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 14, 2016

      The very top step was into a carpeted bonus room. Since the carpet wrapped over my top step, I didn't need any transition strip. If I changed that room to hardwood then I was going to need to problem solve that top step. Thanks for reading my post!

  • Monica
    on Aug 14, 2016

    Gorgeous! What was your reasoning for using the MDF for the risers? Could you have just painted them instead? Thanks for sharing!

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 14, 2016

      I wish I had taken a picture of what the before riser had been... I think the piece of board there didn't reach the sides completely (since it was covered with carpet... it didn't matter) and wasn't even a paintable grade of wood, if I remember correctly. By using the primed white mdf and cutting each one to fit snuggly, it was a much better look in a short amount of time and it was very cost effective. I hope that helps. Thanks for your question!

    • Monica
      on Aug 14, 2016

      Absolutely. Great solution. Love the look so much! Thanks for the reply.

    • Patti Britt
      on Aug 14, 2016

      Looks fantastic. What a find....the retrotreads. I have no use for them but my son sure does. He will be thrilled to have this information. Thank you for this great post.

  • Cheryl Ann miller
    on Aug 14, 2016

    Wow! Amazing! I have floating stairs and want to get rid of the carpet - would this work on them?

    • Aimee Wynn
      on Aug 14, 2016

      I am curious about this ? Too

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 14, 2016

      I am not sure because of how they would look from below. I do know that they sell corner molding pieces to attach to the side. You'll have to let everyone know if you find a solution!

    • Cheryl Ann miller
      on Aug 14, 2016

      Thanks, I am wondering if simply painting bottom of stair and perhaps sanding of course, would work. ...

  • Albert Wall
    on Aug 14, 2016

    Where did you get your? Alcharwall@gmail.com

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 14, 2016

      I bought mine at Lowes but there are several versions out there now. I believe Home Depot even has their own version. I was super happy with my red oak. There hadn't been a single scratch on them and I believe we tend to be a bit brutal on the wear and tear of our floors.

  • FRED RIGGS
    on Aug 14, 2016

    You did a fantastic job. Congratulations. What kind of saw did you use? I have one step that looks like a piece of pie as it is in a curve section. Have any idea how to do that one, could I piece it like you did.?

  • Where did you find the tread caps for only $23? Love what you've done!

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 14, 2016

      It was many years ago and they were clearing them out at that time. I know someone posted that they now cost $10 more each. I think that is still a good deal. I had bought mine at Lowes and I know Home Depot sells something similar. Hope that helps.

    • Vicki McDonald
      on Aug 15, 2016

      Online at Home Depot right now for $21.57 and free shipping!

    • Cry8386418
      on Aug 15, 2016

      These ones do not have the cap.

  • Karen Day
    on Aug 14, 2016

    I Live in a split level and want to get rid of my carpet on the stairs. I also have a landing but the front door opens on it. any suggestions ? how thick is the wood you put on your landing please? Just love it !

  • Kathi
    on Aug 14, 2016

    Kathijkg@gmail.com I love, love your stairs. Ever since I bought my house in 2009 I wanted wood stairs but could not afford a contractor. Your post is exactly what I need except for one thing. My stairs are made of tile so I can't nail down the treads. Do you think that the adhesive you used would be strong enough to hold the Treads without nails?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 15, 2016

      I am not sure. When I first put the caps on, I thought the glue looked so thick and strong that I didn't nail them down. Also, the stain finish was so pretty, I didn't want nail holes and putty to ruin how perfect they looked. It didn't take long for a few to work their way loose as someone was running up them. So I pulled everyone one off added more adhesive and this time I nailed them with several finishing nails on the sides and back. After using a putty that matched the stain, you could barely see where they had been.

  • Agnes
    on Aug 15, 2016

    Looks fantastic! But let me get this straight. After you placed the caps, do the risers sit on top of the caps or just behind it with the cap pushed up against it? The mdf looks great and so much easier than fixing what's underneath!

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 15, 2016

      I found that it seemed to be a good thing to have the riser sit on top as extra insurance. They were nailed and glued but the force of people running up the stairs made me think it was a good idea to have the risers additionally hold them in place. Glue, nails and risers, those treads shouldn't move. I hope that helps!

    • Ashh Anderson
      on Aug 15, 2016

      Wow!!!! Looks like a professional did those stairs!!! Amazing job!!!!!

  • Karen Tarantino
    on Aug 15, 2016

    Do the wooden steps make a lot of noise when you use them? I know that carpeting can muffle the sound. Also, do they get scratched up a lot?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 15, 2016

      I really do not think that I found they were noisy. But we are a loud household with 4 kids, 3 dogs and a cat... I am sure the carpet was much quieter. As for scratching, they didn't scratch at all... in my opinion you can't beat red oak for durability. But, I'm not an expert on why they didn't scratch.

    • Sharon Poff
      on Aug 19, 2016

      after redoing my steps I bought some step runners and it helps so much with noise.

  • Ebo7606611
    on Aug 15, 2016

    I could 't see on your post. You show some stained and unstained on stairs. You did stain all BEFORE you installed them?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 15, 2016

      In the pictures where it shows some stained and unstained, none are installed at that point. There are just setting in place. I would cut them to size and dry fit before I installed them. I am sure you could install them and then stain them but I had a cat who regularly climbs the stairs so I wanted them dry before I installed them. It also kept the mess and smell on my patio. I had enough tables to do four at a time. It kept me from feeling overwhelmed by the staining. Also, by having them on tables, it was a comfortable height to stain. Hope that helps

  • Leslie Coste Hill
    on Aug 16, 2016

    How hard is it to take care of the wood verses laminate.

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 16, 2016

      I found red oak plus the stain to be very durable and easy to take care of. I have never had laminate stairs so I can't really compare the two. I know one of the comments said they put laminate on their stairs and loved it. If I ever do laminate, I am going with new one that said it was water proof, I think! I saw it advertised on Pinterest.

  • Loressa Spiegel Pigman
    on Aug 18, 2016

    What type of nails did you use & are they visible?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 19, 2016

      I used finishing nails in a nail gun. I think 16 gauge size. It left a very small hole, that I filled with a dark tinted wood putty. It matched the stain and wasn't very noticeable. I thought I might have to touch the wood putty with the stair stain to make it much but it wasn't necessary.

  • Loressa Spiegel Pigman
    on Aug 22, 2016

    How thick is the mdf board? I want to avoid having to cut off the existing overhang on my stairs. Most stair risers that I have found are less than 1/2 in thick and my overhang is probably about an inch thick.

    • Michelle Bianco Ekross
      on Aug 23, 2016

      You wouldn't need to cut off the overhang. You just put the mdf right over the existing riser after you install the tread. The treads are supposed to have an overhang. Mine are about 1.5 inches, with a decorative trim piece added. I tried to take a photo, but it looked horrible as they are the original wood stairs and need to be refinished, but do an online image search for wood stairs.

    • Loressa Spiegel Pigman
      on Aug 23, 2016

      This is what my stairs will look like once we remove the carpet. All of the instructions I am seeing state that the existing overhang will need to be cut flush with the existing riser because the new riser will need to cover it.

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 23, 2016

      I had a very similiar over hang and the cap fits over the over hang and disguises it. It is hard to explain, you might need to go to the store and see one and they might be able to explain if it would work with your over hang or not. I hope this helps...

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 23, 2016

      I don't remember how thick my mdf was but it was the white primed kind so I don't think there are many different options when it comes to that type. I thought mine was 8 inches in height but I am not certain.

  • Nikki Hablitzel
    on Oct 5, 2016

    How many retro treads did u end up needing? My stairs look a lot like this and may give this a whirl

    • Stacy Davis
      on Dec 26, 2016

      I think it was 13, including one for the landing. Sorry, I am so late in answering this. Somehow I missed your question. Happy Holidays!

  • Doing this, did it change the height of your steps because you are adding to the top of the step? My bottom step was going to be high and my too step was shorter

    • Stacy Davis
      on Oct 18, 2016

      I think you should ask an install professional about this. In my opinion , the carpet and thick pad that were removed seemed equal to the veneer step that was put on. In my situation, I considered it a wash. Hope that helps.

  • Constance Driver
    on Nov 7, 2016

    I have a railing with spindles and a post on my stairs going half way up ( and then it's wall-to-wall after that) How would I work around that part ??

    • Stacy Davis
      on Nov 7, 2016

      I am not sure that Retro Treads would work for stairs with spindles. I think the spindles would have to be removed and then reinstalled into the Retro Tread and that would be challenging. But you could always ask an expert in the flooring dept or send an email to Retro Treads, just to be sure. Thanks for reading!

  • Patty
    on Jan 12, 2017

    How much did it cost you for whole project?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Jan 12, 2017

      This was several years ago and I got the Retrotreads on Clearance... At that time they were much cheaper than they are today, but I would say that all in was less than $500. I didn't keep a running total on most of the items. I already had a power miter box saw, too.

  • Nancycollins1949
    on Jan 15, 2017

    How much was your total cost on putting wood on the stairs

    • Stacy Davis
      on Jan 15, 2017

      This was several years ago and I got the Retrotreads on Clearance... At that time they were much cheaper than they are today, but I would say that all in was less than $500. I didn't keep a running total on most of the items. I already had a power miter box saw, too.

  • Lori Bauer
    on Jul 31, 2017

    Your stair project looks great. Did you have to trim off a piece of the tread for the retro tread to fit? I am working with curved edge overhang MDF tread.

    • Stacy Davis
      on Jul 31, 2017

      Yes, I did have to trim each retro tread to fit and every one was slightly different. I was left with many small steps/treads. I planned to make them into a nightstand or plant stand but when we moved, they were left behind. Wow, a curve...that might be beyond my skill level! Best of luck!

  • Vanessa Nicole
    on Aug 4, 2017

    What size was the landing ? I'm having a issue trying with my landing and how I used cover it to stain the wood

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 4, 2017

      I don't live at that house any longer so I am working from memory. But it was rather square. I would guess around a three foot square. I ended up using one stair tread, two red oak boards that were 12 or 14 inches wide and a smaller one that was 2 or 3 inches wide. It ended up being the perfect size when I was done and I didn't have to rip anything down.

    • Mirella Spadone Ricci
      on Sep 1, 2017

      I would love to see a better picture of the landing. My stair structure appears to be very similar to yours. I was trying to see if it had a uniform look? I realize you're not there anymore :(

  • Chris Snapp Bleisch
    on Jan 24, 2018

    What kind of wood did you use? is it hardwood. What internet did you buy them from? Thank you

    • Stacy Davis
      on Apr 17, 2018

      The treads that I used were red oak and called Retro Treads. I bought mine at Lowes.

  • Trisa P
    on May 29, 2018

    I have been very excited to find this tutorial. I went to Lowes to look at their stair treads, and found what you are talking about. HOwever, what red oak boards did you use? Did you have to plane them down? When I laid the red oak boards avialble at Lowes, they were 1/16? taller than the stair tred. Did you have that issue?

  • Lyn33582725
    on Jun 9, 2018

    Your landing looks good. Regarding laying a new landing what are your thoughts about laying each piece individually and they glueing and nailing it down versus glueing the whole landing together and then put it in place?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Jun 9, 2018

      Absolutely! That is what I wish I had done.

    • Lyn33582725
      on Jun 9, 2018

      Was your white wall/stair trim already there when you

      refinished treads and risers did you also do that in the whole process of redoing the stairs? It looks like the white wood wall/stair trim was done first and then the treads and risers. Correct?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Jun 9, 2018

      Yes, that is correct. The white wood that runs along the side was there already when the stairs were carpeted. You sound like you are good to go!

  • Jennifer M
    on Jun 27, 2018

    This is great information. Did you use any polyurethane on the stairs? If so, did you do it before installing? We have a dog and I am struggling to figure out how I would keep him off the stairs to let polyurethane completely dry and cure.

    • Stacy Davis
      on Jun 28, 2018

      Yes, we did use poly and I have pets, too. I wanted to poly them before I installed but I was worried that when I shot the nails in, it would leave marks that would not be easy to touch up. I think we ended up boarding our animals for 24 hours and doing the poly while they were gone. Hope that help!

  • S
    on Aug 21, 2018

    How do your dogs do on the steps? I have Large and In Charge (15 lbs and 120lbs)

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 22, 2018

      I have three large dogs so I can't help you with your 15 lb dog...  Mine are 85 lbs, 90 lbs and 120 lbs Golden Retriever. My 85 lb dog is a mix, she has some (we think) Australian Shepard and Great Pyrenee in her. She has small feet and is graceful and quick and no problems on stairs what so ever. My 120 lb Golden Retriever is kinda clumsy and when she goes down the stairs too fast, she does tend to go falling down to the bottom. Let me tell you the sound of 120 lbs falling down the stairs took years off my life but she never seems to be fazed or hurt by her falls. The only thing hurt seems to be her pride, she always looks adequately embarrassed. My dogs have also experienced several different types of hardwood stairs. The stairs in new homes typically are not as steep as older homes and if there is a landing half way that seems to help my dogs. One of the houses we were in had a carpeted runner and that really helped the dogs but the Golden would occasionally fall even with that. One thing about the runner was that no matter how much we seemed to be good about trimming their nails the runner was plagued with pulls and loops from their nails. Just something to keep in mind if you are a perfectionist and want the runner to look perfect. I hope this helps.

  • Cha34008789
    on Aug 27, 2018

    I have the same carpeted stairs with an over hang. How did you remove the over hang on your stairs?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Aug 27, 2018

      My overhang is still there but when I added the riser it became less noticeable and the caps have an front edge that comes down and pretty much hides the overhang. I worried it might be an issue but once I was done you couldn’t really see it.

  • Deanna
    on Oct 8, 2018

    Thanks for the great guide! I’m trying to find tread caps but they are double what you said you got them for. The cheapest I found were $50 each even at Lowe’s...Any tips? TIA

  • Deanna
    on Oct 8, 2018

    Thanks for the great guide! I’ve checked Lowe’s the tread caps are double what you said you bought them for. Any tips? TIA

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