Compared to staircase risers, treads are difficult to cover because you are dealing with aesthetics and friction. For example, ceramic tiles are fabulous for treads but present a slip hazard.
So what are the best ways to cover stair treads that combine looks with function?
01 of 07
Real Hardwood Stair Tread Overlay System
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
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 scrollwork, 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 rainwater. One possible interior application, though: stairs descending to the basement.
03 of 07
It Is: Manmade carpet treads sized approximately to the dimensions of your stair tread.
Cost Per Stair Tread: $12.50
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. As they are so prevalent, they will never win any design awards.
04 of 07
It Is: A sisal mat that covers both the tread center and the stair nose.
Cost Per Stair Tread: N/A
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.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Composite Anti-Slip Stair Tread
It Is: A composite material staircase tread overlay made of compression molded fiberglass and resin
Cost Per Stair Tread: $30 at Home Depot
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: construction adhesive.
06 of 07
DinoGrip Stair Covers
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
Comments: If you thought ComposiGrip was utilitarian, you 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 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
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
Comments: Unless you are a carpet installer, it is difficult to curl ordinary carpet over the nose of a stair. Since 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 with peel-and-stick adhesive.
This brand is called Simply Seamless Tranquility Self-Stick Stair Tread from Home Depot.