Types of Stair Treads: What to Know Before Choosing Yours

Let’s face it: when you’re decorating your home, stair treads are probably dead last on the list of things you’re thinking about. It’s unlikely you’ve created a Pinterest board full of your favorite stair tread ideas, and your favorite interior design influencers are definitely not posting about their stair tread choices.

Even though they’re not as fun to pick out as paint colors or furniture, stair treads are an important part of your home. Even the most beautiful, flawlessly decorated home in the world isn’t fun to live in if it’s not functional– and good stair treads are key for a functional, safe space.


What are stair treads?

Stair treads is a term that can be used to refer to two separate things.

First, it might be used to refer to the part of the stairs that you walk on– the actual steps themselves.

It might also be used to refer to a surface added to the steps that creates a non-slip surface. We’ll discuss both.

What kinds of stair treads are available?

When it comes to stair treads, the design possibilities are virtually limitless; you can choose whatever material you’d like that goes with your home decor.

If your staircase is made of wood– like most are– we’d recommend choosing stair treads that are consistent with the type of wood that was used for the risers and railings, if applicable. There’s nothing wrong with matching!

For a modern home, you could even choose concrete or stone stair treads, which would be perfect for a minimalist look.

What kinds of non-slip stair treads are available?

Non-slip stair treads are particularly useful in a house where your staircase might be slippery– for example, a wooden staircase can get slippery and unsafe for kids in socks!

When you picture non-slip stair treads, you might imagine strips of textured carpeting applied to each step. 

These are highly functional, but in the past, you had to sacrifice aesthetics for safety– applying a dark-colored, rough-textured heavy duty fabric to each step to keep children and elderly adults safe when climbing up and down.

Fortunately, there have been some developments in design within the past several years, and utilizing non-slip treads no longer has to ruin the aesthetic of your interior design.

In fact, you can choose stair treads in a wide variety of materials. 

Plenty of companies make gorgeous, patterned stair treads that you can match to your home’s color scheme– and can even be used to add a splash of color in an unexpected place!

What kind of stair treads should I choose for my outdoor stairs?

Obviously, for an exterior staircase, your stair tread needs will be pretty different from the ones you’d use indoors.

These stair treads have to be durable enough to withstand the elements and remain functional in all kinds of weather, keeping a wooden staircase from getting too slick in the rain or snow.

There are various types of wood that lend themselves perfectly to outdoor use. It might seem like you have to choose a type of hardwood for your outdoor wooden stairs, but there are actually several types of softwood that are highly resistant to rot that work great outdoors– for example, cedar and Douglas fir.

What type of stair treads are right for my home project?

If you’re not sure where to begin when choosing stair treads for the exterior or interior stairs at your home, don’t panic– just call in the design experts at Kaufman By Design! 

Our staff is ready and waiting to answer any questions you might have, and we’d be honored to help you make a choice that’ll look amazing in your home for years to come.