7 Quick Overlays For Staircase Treads

Compared to staircase risers, the treads are difficult to cover because you are not just dealing with aesthetics but friction.  For example, ceramic tiles are fabulous for treads but present a slip hazard for treads.  

So what are the best ways to cover stair treads that combine looks with function?

  • 01 of 07
    StareCasing Covers
    StareCasing Covers. © StareCasing

    It Is:  100% hardwood that installs directly over your existing stair tread and riser.  No demolition required.

    Cost Per Stair Tread:  N/A

    Attractiveness:  Very high.

    Comments:  Staircase overlays are a great way to spruce up your stairs, while minimizing the downtime associated with rebuilding your stairs.  Refacing your stairs in hardwood also returns tremendous resale value to your home.

    Minor carpentry work is involved with installing wood overlays.

  • 02 of 07

    Tread-Sized Rubber Mats (Exterior Only)

    Rubber Stair Tread Mats
    Rubber Stair Tread Mats. via Amazon.com

    It Is:  You know those heavy perforated rubber mats that go outside your front door?  Same thing here, but tread-sized and not as thick.

    Cost Per Stair Tread:  $22

    Attractiveness:  Poor.  These stair covers are all about function, not beauty.  Besides, with the perforated scroll work, much of the stair tread shows through.  

    Comments:  Technically you could use these on inside stairs, but why subject yourself to this?  Function trumps beauty when you have exterior stairs covered in snow, ice, or...MORE rain water.  One possible interior application, though:  stairs descending to the basement.

    Buy on Amazon - Collections Etc. Rubber Step Tread Mats

  • 03 of 07

    Attachable Indoor Carpet Stair Treads

    Indoor Carpet Stair Treads
    Indoor Carpet Stair Treads. via Amazon.com

    It Is:  Manmade carpet treads sized approximately to the dimensions of your stair tread.

    Cost Per Stair Tread:  $12.50

    Attractiveness:  Low  

    Comments:  Attaches to your stairs using a Velcro-like material.  Unfortunately, half of that hook-and-loop attachment system must be stuck to your stairs with adhesive.  

    This man-made, sisal-like stair tread cover will do the job of cheaply providing much-needed grip for slippery wood stairs.  But as they are so prevalent, they will never win any design...MORE awards.

    Buy on Amazon - Attachable Indoor Carpet Stair Treads

  • 04 of 07

    It Is:  A sisal mat that covers both the tread center and the stair nose.

    Cost Per Stair Tread:  N/A

    Attractiveness:  High

    Comments:  These clever and unique overlays have a rigid plastic insert that holds the carpet at a firm and secure 90-degree angle.  With this, the overlay covers the nose of the stair--which is the part that receives much of the foot traffic.

    Buy on Amazon - NaturalAreaRugs Domino Carpet

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Composite Anti-Slip Stair Tread

    ComposiGrip. © Home Depot / ComposiGrip

     It Is: A composite material staircase tread overlay made of compression molded fiberglass and resin  

    Cost Per Stair Tread:  $30 at Home Depot

    Attractiveness:  Low-Moderate

    Comments:  ComposiGrip tread overlays are all business.  When you want to make sure that you do not slip indoors or outdoors, these overlays--which install directly over concrete, metal, or wood--will keep you safe.  

    They are easy to install, either with mechanical fasteners or with that favorite tool of many home remodelers:...MORE  construction adhesive.

  • 06 of 07

    DinoGrip Stair Covers

    DinoGrip Stair Covers
    DinoGrip Stair Covers. © DinoGrip

    It Is: The most friction you can ask for in a staircase tread.  DinoGrips are a prefabricated (fiber reinforced plastic) / GRP (Glass-fiber Reinforced Plastic) product, much like sandpaper.

    Cost Per Stair Tread:  $55

    Attractiveness:  Low

    Comments:  If you thought ComposiGrip was utilitarian, you obviously have not met DinoGrip yet.  These are designed for exterior staircases in schools, train stations, airports, factories, and other places where slipping is simply not an option.  If you slip on...MORE DinoGrip, it is your fault!

    DinoGrip's contrasting yellow/black design that extends over the stair nose ensures that pedestrians can register the difference between treads and risers.  Expensive but worth it if safety is your prime concern.

  • 07 of 07

    Bullnose Self-Stick Carpet Staircase Tread Overlays

    Tranquility Carpet Tread Overlay
    Tranquility Carpet Tread Overlay. © Home Depot

    It Is:  100% polyester low-pile shag carpet cut to size.  The 10" by 27"  pre-curled front snaps over the nose of the stairs.

    Cost Per Stair Tread:  $22.50

    Attractiveness:  Moderate

    Comments:  Unless you are a carpet installer, it is difficult to curl ordinary carpet over the nose of a stair.  Because it is so stiff, it keeps wanting to uncurl.  

    This product solves that problem.  The front section is pre-curled and easily snaps over the stair nose.  The remaining part of the overlay goes on...MORE with peel-and-stick adhesive.

    This brand is called Simply Seamless Tranquility Self-Stick Stair Tread from Home Depot.