How Do You Install Stair Treads and Risers?

To install stair treads and risers, measure the stairs, buy or make appropriate risers and treads, apply adhesive across the base material, and tack the pieces on with thin nails. The stairs may be used in approximately 24 hours from installation.

Use the installed base material, an old stair tread or a spare board to find the required length of each tread with a measuring tape. To find the depth of each tread, measure from the heel to the toe, and add in an extra inch if a lip is desired. Many building codes require that this depth be between 9 and 11 inches, so consult the local code before building steps. Find the required length and height for the risers, and subtract the thickness of the tread, normally one-half to 1 inch. Repeat this process for each stair to gain exact measurements, numbering the stairs starting at the bottom step.

Use the measurements to order the treads and risers, or build each piece using a table saw. After fitting, sanding and finishing each piece, apply a urethane-based mastic adhesive to the base before applying the tread according to stair number. Drive small-diameter nails into the treads to keep them in place. Repeat this process for the riser, and cover the nails with putty. Finish each stair in a similar manner.