I'd like to use knotty pine boards as stair tread covers instead of actual tread covers. The tread covers I've seen are 1" or 2" wide pieces fit together to make a board, I'm guessing this is done to reduce warping? If I use standard pine boards, will I run into a warping problem?

  • 1
    There are pine treads available to purchase treads are typically thicker than standard boards
    – Kris
    Sep 11, 2019 at 13:36
  • What do you mean by tread cover? Are they going over something?
    – isherwood
    Sep 11, 2019 at 14:03

1 Answer 1


Sure. One technique I've used (with 2x10 lumber, in my case) is to cut partial-depth lengthwise to give the board more flex in case of warping forces. So for my 2x10 treads I cut 1" into the board on the 1/3 and 2/3 points across the board.

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If you have exposed ends, stop the cuts short accordingly so they don't show.

If you're overlaying 1x boards, just glue them down well using construction adhesive. It would be wise to acclimate the boards in the home for a week or so first.

Be aware that pine is soft. It wasn't a problem in my home because we're a shoes-off family for the most part. One issue was when an HVAC tech bounced his dolly down the steps right after I built them, leaving a pair of dents on each nosing. I was not happy. That was the only damage they sustained during the decade or so I saw them in service.

Also be aware that varnished pine is slippery. I ended up installing a carpet runner down the center to remedy that. It's fine if you're aware of it, but guests won't be.

Like Kris mentioned in a comment, actual edge-glued or clear pine treads are available (though they're not cheap). They'll be 1" or 1-1/8" thick with a bullnose.

  • Out of curiosity, and clarification (OP seems to have about my level of experience), did you secure it solely with adhesive or did you also use screws? If only adhesive, why?
    – J Crosby
    Sep 11, 2019 at 14:12
  • 1
    I suspect that I used some 8d or 10d finish nails as well.
    – isherwood
    Sep 11, 2019 at 14:13

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