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How To Repair A Broken Stair Tread

DIY, Home Maintenance
By on Jan 22, 2017
How To Repair A Broken Stair Tread

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In any multi-level home, stairs are a necessity. While you may not give them much thought, if there’s an issue, it can cause problems for the overall flow of the home and even pose a danger to family members. If you notice an issue with a creaking stair or feel the board crack under your foot, it’s time to repair your stairs.

While repairing an entire set of stairs is a big job, if you have a basic knowledge of carpentry, you can replace a single stair tread on your own. If you choose to do this as a DIY project, you should set aside at least a day to complete. Follow these instructions to repair a broken stair tread.

If you need to repair more than just a stair tread, contact a pro today for up to four quotes from contractors in your area for free.

Entryway Stairs

Stair Repair Costs

Before you begin any DIY project, you’ll need plan your budget. While you’ll save money by doing this project yourself, you’ll need to invest in the materials and tools needed to repair your stair. This is a project recommended for experienced DIYers, so if you’re just starting out with a few home improvement projects, you may want to leave this to the pros. The average cost to repair stairs is $586, with most homeowners spending between $357 and $669.

Materials Needed

  • Tape Measure
  • Replacement Wood
  • Liquid Nails
  • Screws
  • Drill
  • Cardboard
  • Pry Bar
  • Saw, if customizing size at home

Large Wood Stairs

Safety Considerations

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With any DIY project, there are safety concerns to be aware of. Your stairs are a utility that’s needed daily. For this project, you’ll be removing a vital part of the stairwell. For this reason, you’ll need to alert anyone in the home that the stairs are being repaired. When you aren’t working on them, be sure to block them off and remove any sharp objects from the area.

In this instance, we’ll be talking about a single tread in a rectangular shape. For rounded or oblong shaped treads, you’ll need to take more measurements to get the cut you need. You’ll need to be sure that the new stair tread is secure once the project is finished. If you’re uncertain, contact a pro who can help.

Step 1: Measure & Inspect

Before you make any cuts or remove any parts of the stair, take the measurements of the tread, railings and riser. These will all be necessary for the cuts you'll need to make in your new stair tread. You’ll also want to inspect the source of the damage. If the board is cracked, try to understand why. Was there a lack of support under the tread? Is the board rotting? These issues must be addressed by a pro before the tread is replaced.

Step 2: Remove Old Stair Tread

Be sure that any carpeting, rugs or decorative element is removed from your stair tread before you begin work. Take your pry bar and carefully remove the stair tread from the riser. Though you took measurements, do your best to keep the tread still intact. If you’re not refinishing the entire staircase, be careful not to damage the riser as well.

Once you’ve removed the stair tread, trace the outline on to cardboard. You will use this as a template to guide your cut for the new tread. If the stair tread comes out in pieces, use a piece of cardboard to cut a template of the space.

Stairs With Railing

Step 3: Cut To Fit

If you're painting or refinishing your stairs during this project, you may have more options when it comes to the wood you use. If your tread is a common size and style, you can likely buy it from your local home improvement store. Many will cut the wood there for you as well. Otherwise, you’ll need to use your saw at home to carefully cut the wood to the measurements you took. You can use a pencil to trace on the template to your wood. Remember to measure at least twice, as you can only make the cut once.

Step 4: Adhere

Once the stair tread is cut to size, you’ll need to adhere it to the stair riser. Use liquid nails to attach to the stair riser. Reinforce with screws to properly secure the stair tread. Let this sit for at least 24 hours before use.

Step 5: Finish

This project is best done if you're refinishing or painting your stairs. Once your new stair tread has had time to dry, you can continue finishing your staircase. Painting your stairs is a great way to update your look and incorporating your new, secure step.

If your new tread came prefinished, be sure to clean up around the area. Inspect the stair riser to ensure you did not damage it in the process of replacing the stair tread.

Finished Stairs


Say goodbye to squeaky stairs! Replacing your stair tread takes careful attention but will result in a safer and quieter staircase. If you’re an experienced DIYer, this is the project for you.

Once you’re done upgrading your step, read 7 Décor Ideas To Make Your Stairwell Stand Out for a few ideas on upgrading your look!

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