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Stair Treads Make Stairs Safer: Here Are 3 of Your Best Options

Amy Pawlukiewicz
Written by Amy Pawlukiewicz
Updated March 11, 2022
A girl moving down on staircase
Photo: Stígur Már Karlsson / Heimsmyndir / E+ / Getty Images

Highlights

  • Stair treads are a popular, cost-effective way to make staircases safer. 

  • Depending on the material, they usually cost between $10 and $200.

  • Each type of stair tread comes in different styles and colors.

  • If your home has wood flooring, consider additional tread styles that won’t damage your floor.

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If you’re looking to revamp your home safety checklist, staircases should be at the top of your list. Wood and tile staircases can be slippery, putting playful children, pets, and the occasional delivery driver at risk. Installing stair treads is a great way to up the safety of your stairs.

How Are Stair Treads Safer?

Stair treads are technically the part of your stairs that you step on or the horizontal area of the step. But in this case, we’re referring to the pieces of material that adhere to your steps for additional traction. They span most of the width of the step, and you can use them on both indoor and outdoor staircases.

Types of Indoor Stair Treads

A stairwell of a residential home
Photo: YinYang / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

If you’re looking to transform your staircase, you’ve got a few choices when it comes to indoor varieties of treads.

Vinyl or Rubber Stair Treads

While not the most attractive option, indoor vinyl or rubber stair treads work great in homes with pets because they’re super easy to clean. They’re durable, and you can choose a color option that will blend in with the color of your steps. 

You can typically buy vinyl or rubber treads in single adhesive-backed strips, which cost between $50 and $100. They also come in rolls you can cut, but this option usually requires professional installation or the help of local handyperson services.

Tape Stair Treads

Grip tape adhesive stair treads are the most basic treads and look like black sandpaper. There are also glow-in-the-dark versions if you need the stairs illuminated at night. Tape stair treads are sold in rolls and cost around $20 to $30.

Carpet Stair Treads

Carpet stair treads come in various colors and textures, best used on sleek surfaces like wood and tile. These treads are the least durable of all indoor stair treads, though they offer the widest decor options. Apply carpet treads by either sticking them to the floor or nailing them into wood flooring. Carpet stair treads have a more extensive price range between $10 and $200.

Types of Outdoor Stair Treads

When thinking about stair safety, don’t forget your outdoor steppers, which are, you know, slippery when wet. 

Outdoor Aluminum Stair Treads

Aluminum stair treads come in silver, brown, black, and yellow colors. They cost around $15 to $20 per tread on average, including the wood screws needed to secure them. Aluminum treads work best in climates with severe temperatures.

Outdoor Vinyl and Rubber Stair Treads

Vnyl and rubber treads have an indoor and outdoor variety, so be sure to grab the correct type. The outdoor versions are slightly more pricey at $25 to $35.

Outdoor Tape Stair Treads

If you opt for tape stair treads for your outdoor staircase, look for ones with a reflective stripe to make them easier to see in the dark. As with the vinyl and rubber models, look for outdoor tape stair treads that are waterproof and heat resistant. This type of stair tread usually costs between $20 and $30

Will Stair Treads Harm My Wood Flooring?

Anything that you’re sticking to wood flooring could potentially damage it. Keep in mind that screws will leave holes in the wood. Carpeted stair treads are usually a good option for wood flooring because they come with non-slip backing, so there’s no need to glue or nail them to each step.

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