How to Make Oak Stair Treads

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  • 4-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 20
What You'll Need
Table saw
Round over bit
Tape measure
Jig saw
Foam brush

When you must replace oak stair treads you have two options available to you. One option is to buy new replacement treads. The other option is to make your own. While this option involves a little more work than just buying a new one, it will save you some money and ensure that you get the tread that you want. There are times when some older treads are discontinued so you will have to resort to replacing all your treads. Here are some steps to take to make your own oak stair treads with a blank piece of oak, some power tools, and a lot of patience.

Step 1 - Choose Your Oak

Purchase an oak plank that has approximately the same type of grain pattern as the rest of the treads. Pick through several 1 by 8 oak planks to make sure that you choose the right ones for the treads that you need to replace. Check each one carefully to ensure they are not warped or crooked.

Step 2 - Measure Treads for Perfect Fit

Use a tape measure and find the dimensions you will need for the new tread. Measure the depth of the tread and then add another 2 inches for the overhang. Measure the width of the stairway and add any extra on each side that corresponds to the other treads. This is only if the stairway is an open stairway. If it is enclosed with walls you only need to measure along the width.

Step 3 - Cut Out Oak Stair Treads

Use a table saw with a sharp cutting blade. Make sure to double-check the measurements and carefully cut the treads to the width and length that you need.

Step 4 - Use Router for Rounding Over Edge

The front of the oak stair treads is not just a straight edge. They have a rounded-over edge that gives both functionality and character. To put this edge on the stair tread you will need to use a router with the rounded-over bit. This is the reason you also cut the tread 2 inches wider than normal. Once you use the router it will be at the size you want. If not, you can always sand the edge down to the dimensions you prefer. Run the router across the front of the stair tread.

Step 5 - Sand Oak Stair Treads

With the cutting complete you can now make the final adjustment with a sander and a piece of sandpaper. You do not need overly course paper, an 80 grit will do fine. What you are doing is smoothing out the oak stair treads as well as bringing the final dimensions to the plank.

Step 6 - Stain Oak Stair Treads

Once the sanding has been taken care of, wipe the dust off of the tread. Use a soft, damp cloth and wipe the plank down thoroughly. Let it dry for several hours and then apply the first coat of stain, or desired finish. Spread it on the tread with a foam brush and go brush from the center out. Let it dry and apply a second coat. Once that coat dries you can install on your stairway.