I am refreshing the existing treads (nose already cut, white oak treads ready to be cut to length and installed) by installing white oak treads to match the floor finish and wood.

I think that the general rule is to use adhesive. Some use PL adhesive (not sure what strength is required and recommended). Do I need to prep the existing treads in any way like sanding them?

  • Clean off all dirt/oils/wax/dust. Read instructions for the adhesive.
    – crip659
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 21:24
  • I would really like someone to explain why if you spill something on a finished surface with no prep, you need a jackhammer to remove it, but you need a week of prep to get to it to stick where you want it to.
    – crip659
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 21:41
  • 1
    :-)))) It is called Murphy's law or one of it's corollaries
    – MiniMe
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 21:54

1 Answer 1


Whenever I need to be certain that things that need to be glued down stay put, especially stair treads and nosings, sanding is my preference for this type of prep. I use my random orbit sander with 40G paper to knock off the heavy stuff like old finishes. I could use a lighter grit, but there is no need to be dainty here. Get it clean an go to the next step.

Another reason I use my sander for this type of prep, is that it gets me close to the area to inspect the surface, checking for anything that may not be good to go over. If it is a raised nail or screw the sander will let you know it is there right away.

To keep the area from getting really "dusted", I remove the dust bag from my sander and duct tape a shop vac hose to it to draw the dust off. Noisy but really effective. It can be a pain to work with, it gets in the way a lot, but worth it.

  • You need a better shop vac and proper adapters! My new one runs at about 70 dB and I can have a normal conversation while it's on, my old one sounded like a 707 spooling up for take off. :( Proper adapters will save you all the sticky mess of pulling duct tape off of things.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Aug 17, 2023 at 13:40
  • @FreeMan Yup I can relate to that. I do have a reducer that makes it simpler to connect, but to have something that simply snaps on, I have not taken the time to find anything like that. I would be concerned, since the hose is unruly at times while doing this, that a slip on or snap on aftermarket connector would stay on. I do not need to do this type of stuff that often, and I have gotten really good at applying duct tape to the cleaned connector surfaces with a folded edge "tab" to make it easier to pull back off.
    – Jack
    Commented Aug 17, 2023 at 14:05

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