Rubber Stair Treads
An Easy Way to Make Stairs Safer
Decades ago my uncle slipped and fell on a staircase, a potentially catastrophic fall for an older gentleman. Fortunately he had only minor injuries. People die from falls on stairs. Far too many people!
He wasn't at all handy but did some research and easily installed some inexpensive and durable rubber stair treads to reduce (greatly) the chances that anyone else might slip and fall. It only took him about 15 minutes to install them.
I remember going to the hardware store with him and listening to him talk about various safety options. The rubber stair treads he purchased came with an adhesive backing, were trivial to install, greatly improved the safety of the stairs, and lasted 4 decades until they started cracking and I replaced them. Replaceing them was trivial.
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What are Stair Treads?
There are two types
A stair tread is simply the part of the stair that you step on, the part perpendicular to the ground.
There are two types: Structural stair treads and non-structural stair treads.
The different is probably exactly what you would assume:
Structural stair treads are weight bearing, for example a couple of wooden boards on an outside staircase.
An example of a non-structural stair tread is a rubber stair tread, a peace of rubber you attach to your structural stair tread to make them non slip or at least slip resistant.
Non-structural stair treads have several purposes. They can add beauty and decor, for example pretty stair tread rugs you place on each stair. They can help deaden sounds and make the stairs quieter. They can help protect the staircase from ordinary and non-so-ordinary wear and tear. And, they can make the stairs safer by adding a non slip surface.
Rubber Stair Treads
There are a great many ways to make staircases safer. We are going to concentrate on adding non slip surfaces to the existing structural stair treads. There are a great many ways to do this, but one of the simplest is by adding rubber stair treads, or similar vinyl and others.
There are a great many options available, as a simple look online or at the local hardware store or home improvement store will quickly show.
You'll find indoor and outdoor models, some with self adhesive backings that are trivial to install, ones designed to be tacked in place, and even treads that are heated and designed to melt ice and snow (obviously these need to be plugged in!).
There are plenty of other options as well.
These include various metal stair treads, the less expensive vinyl option, a carpet runner, individual stair tread rugs, non slip tape, and various spray on and paint on substances that contain grit to make them non-skid.
Rubber Stair Treads on Amazon
Some Online Resources
Stair Safety Resources online
- Parent's Checklist for Stair Safety
A parent's checklist for stair safety
- All About Rubber Stair Treads and other Safety Options
Rubber Stair Treads and other Safety Options
- How to lay Rubber Stair Treads
An Installation Guide with numerous tips
- Contractor Talk on Cutting to Size
Contractor Talk on Cutting to Size
- How to Install Rubber Stair Treads
Ehow's take on it
A Super Quick List on Other Staircase Safety Issues
I'll be writing on these in more detail later!
Keep your stairs in good repair! This includes regular inspection and maintenance. Check treads for wear, banisters/railings, and more. At least yearly, ideally more often.
Make sure there is appropriate lighting, especially at night. Lighting can be installed easily be a electrician.In some areas in commercial buildings you may want "always on lights" for safety, much like Walmart has their parking lots lit 24/7, even when the stores are closed. In some areas, including outdoors, instant on lights which have motion detectors may be appropriate.
Railings anyone? Add or repair. We have just added extensive railings for my elderly father. What was adequate yesterday may or may not be tomorrow.
Keep them clean of junk and debris! Outdoors this includes leaves, dirt, fallen branches, and more.In some areas snow and ice are major considerations. Indoors this includes junk, children's toys, etc. Remember your staircases should not be used as closets!
Take care when going up or down. A great number of accidents are caused by carelessness.
Don't carry too much at once - take an extra trip or two if need be! It is tempting to try to carry as much as possible, for example when coming back from a grocery store trip, but that is not always wise.
Gates! Both for the very young and very old, and everyone in between! Baby gates were a mainstay in my house for years, and many models are available. Simple to install!