Your stairs are the backbone of your family’s home, and that means they’ll take a lot of wear and tear over their lifetime. Keeping them in good shape is important – especially when it comes to your stair treads. While they don’t need too much attention, your treads will likely need to be replaced at some point. This poses the question: how do you know when it’s time to replace your stair treads? Fortunately, there are plenty of warning signs you can look out for.
What are stair treads?
Stair treads are the flat plates that make up the top of each step; these platforms are where you actually put your feet when you walk up or down the stairs. Treads are often made of wood, plastic, rubber or metal and are usually held in place with strips of nails. In residential areas, stair treads are commonly covered with carpet; in business and industrial settings, non-slip treads may be used.
Generally speaking, you don’t need to worry about replacing the treads at specific intervals – in fact, they only need replacing when they become damaged.
What are some common signs of damage?
No matter what type of treads you have, most stair treads share the same signs of damage and wear:
- Cracks – cracks of any size definitely shouldn’t be ignored. Whether big or small, they can easily lead to larger breaks over time. If you start seeing cracks, it’s about time to replace the treads.
- Splitting – like cracks, but on a much larger scale; split wood is fractured, meaning its structural integrity is compromised. You’ll want to replace splitting treads right away.
- Squeakiness – it may sound harmless, but squeaky steps indicate underlying damage. While some light squeaking isn’t too severe, your stair treads may need replacing if they make a lot of noise when being walked on.
- Loose treads – loose treads are very dangerous to walk on, as they can cause anyone to slip and fall. If you’ve got treads coming loose, it may be time to replace them.
Damage can appear at any time on any part of your stair treads, so it’s important to regularly inspect them.
It may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but keeping your stairs in good repair is a critical part of maintaining your home. As long as your stair treads aren’t showing signs of serious damage, they’re most likely just fine. If you begin to notice cracks, splits or severe squeaking, however, it may be time to replace them. If you’re ever unsure of how to care for your stair treads, you can always contact your local professional for more information!