Which stair treads are best?

Stairs, whether indoors or outdoors, can be dangerous for some people and even animals to use. Stair treads aim to remove much of the risks by providing a high-traction surface to your otherwise risky surfaces. They aren’t all about function though — many stair treads have fun and attractive patterns if you simply want to liven up your stairs.

The best stair treads are the Bungalow Flooring Waterhog Stair Treads, Boxwood Collection. The design is pleasingly floral, and they don’t require adhesive to stay put.

What to know before you buy stair treads

Size

Stair treads come in all sizes to best fit any size of stairs. Before shopping, measure your stairs’ surface area. Covering the entirety of it is unlikely, plus it rarely looks good. As such, aim to find stair treads that leave roughly 1-2 inches of empty space on the sides and no more than 1 inch of empty space on the top and bottom. Most stair treads are 22-36 inches long.

Quantity

Stair treads always come in packs with most packs including between two to 15 treads. Pay close attention to how many treads are included — it can often be hard to parse through all the numbers thrown at you in product descriptions to find the count.

When determining how many treads you need, remember to count the floors as well. For example, if you have stairs with three steps you should buy five treads. Three for the actual steps and one each for the top and bottom floor.

Design

Most stair treads are simple one-color pieces, but others offer all manner of designs. Most of these designs are purely decorative, but others may have special properties such as being reflective or glow-in-the-dark.

What to look for in quality stair treads

Easy installation 

The best stair treads include a way to be installed. This usually takes the form of specialized pre-applied adhesive but bottoms covered in rubber can have plenty of grip without needing adhesive.

Common installation methods for treads that don’t include a method are double-sided tape and staples, both of which can damage the stairs underneath.

Resistances

There are three important resistances to check for when shopping for high-quality stair treads: moisture, stain and fade.

  • Moisture resistance is more important for outdoor treads as they’ll be in direct contact with rain, etc. Indoor treads also need resistance as the bottoms of your shoes will drag in moisture.
  • Stain resistance focuses on fighting off the effects of mud, grass and any other debris shoes attract. 
  • Fade resistance also keeps your treads looking fresh. Outdoor treads will need to resist the bleaching effects of direct sunlight while indoor treads will need to resist higher levels of traffic.

How much you can expect to spend on stair treads

Stair treads come in packs of varying costs making it best to focus on the price per tread. Low-cost treads typically cost less than $5 with midrange treads costing $5-$10 and high-cost treads running up to $20 or more.

Stair treads FAQ

How should I prepare my stairs before adding treads?

A. Your stairs need to be as clean and as dry as possible before adding your new treads. Use a wet cloth to remove as much dirt, debris and any residues first, followed by thoroughly drying the stairs with a separate cloth. Don’t apply your treads until your stairs are completely dry, letting them air out after manually drying them if need be.

What’s the best adhesive to use with stair treads?

A. The best adhesive depends on what stair treads you have. Most stair tread products directly recommend certain types of adhesive to use with double-sided tape being the most frequently recommended. Better stair treads include peel-and-stick adhesives so you don’t need to worry about it.

What are the differences between indoor and outdoor stair treads?

A. The main differences are material and level of traction. Outdoor stair treads are usually made of rubber or plastic so they can best resist all the effects of weather. They also typically have higher levels of traction as many outdoor stairs have no guardrail to hold on to.

What are the best stair treads to buy?

Top stair treads

Bungalow Flooring Waterhog Stair Treads, Boxwood Collection

Bungalow Flooring Waterhog Stair Treads, Boxwood Collection

What you need to know: The leaf pattern adds a little touch of elegance compared to plain treads.

What you’ll love: They’re available in seven colors and four sizes and can be used indoors and out. Each square yard of tread can hold up to 1.5 gallons of water. They use a rubber grip underneath that can hold to any surface.

What you should consider: It only includes four treads per pack, making it expensive — even more so for the larger-sized treads. Some consumers had issues with the treads curling up on the ends.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Top stair treads for the money

EdenProducts Nonslip Carpet Stair Treads

EdenProducts Nonslip Carpet Stair Treads

What you need to know: These are perfect for indoor stairs.

What you’ll love: They measure 8 inches by 30 inches and come in five colors and multiple pack sizes. It uses an anti-moving backing, not an adhesive, so your stairs remain undamaged. They can be cleaned via vacuum or by tossing them in your washing machine.

What you should consider: The adhesive on the back struggles to stick to slick stairs. They are shipped folded over and need to be pressed flat before installing them.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Wayfair

Worth checking out

LifeGrip Anti-slip Traction Treads

LifeGrip Anti-slip Traction Treads

What you need to know: These are an excellent purchase for outdoor stairs.

What you’ll love: These come in a pack of 10 and are available in three sizes. They come in four designs — standard black, black and yellow caution, black with a glow-in-the-dark strip and black with a reflective strip. Installation is as easy as peeling and sticking.

What you should consider: The adhesive may come undone in harsh weather conditions. They are packaged in a wound-up roll so they need to be flattened before installation.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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