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Inlay on stair treads for increased traction

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Forum topic by isotope posted 01-05-2017 05:31 PM 352 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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isotope

159 posts in 1254 days


01-05-2017 05:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: stairs tread inlay construction

I am about to embark on a project to refurbish the very old and worn down staircase in my house. I plan on making the stair treads out of maple. The treads will be roughly 9” wide, 36” long and 1” thick and I plan on routing a bullnose for the leading edge. The treads will be built out of glued up 2-3” maple boards.

My “problem” is that, in general, I find wooden treads quite slippery. Particularly when walking around in socks (which I do often). Some obvious ways to fix this is to install a carpet runner, or something similar. However, I was wondering if it would make sense to inlay some strips of wood, that protrude a little bit, near the leading edge of the tread. I’ve seen similar things in commercial settings, such as inlaid “sandpaper like” strips in marble treads.

If you have any thoughts or opinions, I’d love to hear them.
Thanks for reading!


11 replies so far

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

3685 posts in 1398 days


#1 posted 01-05-2017 08:17 PM

Hi, there are some molding blades that you can install on a table saw and create 4 grooves on the boards with each pass. That might be the easiest way to do it.
I have had one of these for more than 20 years:

The blade I am talking about is the middle one on the left.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View William Shelley's profile

William Shelley

329 posts in 1099 days


#2 posted 01-05-2017 08:21 PM

Run the stair tread through a planer with a Byrd head. The scalloped grooves will provide traction.
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... mostly kidding!

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

View DirtyMike's profile

DirtyMike

618 posts in 532 days


#3 posted 01-05-2017 08:23 PM

I like the idea, I am about to my stairs too and i’m not excited about it. I would be concerned that the strips would break or splinter do to the motion of a persons stride. keep us posted.

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

3685 posts in 1398 days


#4 posted 01-05-2017 08:57 PM

It all depends board species, how thick the board is, how deep the groove and how much the person weigh. These blades make grooves that are 1/8” ; the top of the rounds will be level with the board surface if done right.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

1147 posts in 1017 days


#5 posted 01-05-2017 09:41 PM

I wonder if you could add some grit to the finish to make it less slippery? A quick search found this .

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

2716 posts in 1887 days


#6 posted 01-05-2017 10:24 PM

Isotope, here is an additive you might consider. It says it can be added to clear finishes. There are other similar products to be found by searching “anti skid paint additive”. HTH

-- Art

View isotope's profile

isotope

159 posts in 1254 days


#7 posted 01-06-2017 03:18 PM

Sounds like there isn’t that much enthusiasm for the inlay idea. Perhaps people feel like it’s too much work.

I had not considered an additive in the coating. That’s a good idea worth investigating. Thanks for the links.


I like the idea, I am about to my stairs too and i m not excited about it. I would be concerned that the strips would break or splinter do to the motion of a persons stride. keep us posted.

- DirtyMike

At least in my head, the plan was to have the inlaid strips just barely above the surface of the tread, maybe ~1/16”. I doubt it would ever bread off. But maybe I’m naive about that.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

1147 posts in 1017 days


#8 posted 01-06-2017 03:29 PM

I like the way the inlay would look but my fear is that it would not really help with traction. After all it is just another wood so would it really be any less slick? If you use a harder wood or end grain for example, I would also worry that the surrounding wood would wear more quickly and you would end up with less traction because you would have less surface area in contact with your shoe. I think that you would get the same result if you leave the inlay a little proud of the surface. I could also imagine that if the inlay is proud it could cause someone to catch a heel and trip which might actually be worse than a slip. I would think that a slip would usually cause you to fall into the stairs where as a trip when headed downhill might cause you to go head first down the stairs.

BTW, I have read that carpet is actually considered the most most slick surface for stairs.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View pintodeluxe's profile (online now)

pintodeluxe

5201 posts in 2443 days


#9 posted 01-06-2017 04:19 PM

I have used traction additives in paint and stain for exterior wood steps. You would have to experiment with your desired topcoat to see how it lays down. It certainly couldn’t be sprayed, but if it’s a clear finish it might work just fine.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View wunderaa's profile

wunderaa

247 posts in 1833 days


#10 posted 01-06-2017 07:42 PM

What if you were to do a stipple in a nice pattern for traction? Decorative and functional.

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

2716 posts in 1887 days


#11 posted 01-06-2017 11:33 PM

Isotope, my concern with the proud inlays is that the finish would wear off them prematurely, then you would have obvious wear marks, especially, if you used a contrasting wood.

-- Art

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