Rubber stair treads are an effective means of improving the safety of staircases, stairwells, and other indoor stairways. Failure to properly cover staircases may lead to accidents and subsequent liability for the property owner. Moreover, uncovered custom stair treads staircases are susceptible to a greater degree of wear and tear over time. Follow these tips for expert tread installation, and protect guests, employees, and property owners from injury and harm.
10 Tips for Expert Installation
One of the primary reasons to install stair treads is to improve safety for facility guests who may use the stairs to travel from one floor to the next. Proper installation is critical in this regard, as faulty installation can make individual steps unstable and dangerous. Proper installation is also important for aesthetic reasons; treads must be applied in a clean fashion so as to preserve the professional image of the business.
1. Understand the limitations of rubber stair treads.
There are a few instances in which rubber treads should not be applied to steps. For example, treads should never be applied to oddly shaped or deteriorating steps. Such steps compromise the foundation on which the tread is placed, and the end result may shift, skid, or collapse during the course of usual use. Moreover, rubber products are to be used on indoor stairways only. Rain, snow, humidity, and extreme hot or cold may likewise compromise the surface of the step, the adhesive that bonds it to the step, or both.
2. Use epoxy nose caulk as adhesive.
Epoxy nose caulk must be used in order to install stair treads that will remain sturdy, resilient, and trusting over time. A water-based contact adhesive, epoxy nose caulk performs two very important functions. First, it creates a strong bond between the rubber tread and the surface of the step. Second, it fills any voids that may exist between the tread and the step. This ensures a flush application that provides long-term support, particularly under the nosing of the stair tread.
3. Be mindful of temperature.
Temperature can have a significant impact on the installation of stair treads. For this reason, a minimum 70 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended for both stair treads and adhesive. Room temperature should likewise be a minimum of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Fill-in cracks or chips in the step prior to installation.
To create the most flush application possible, epoxy nose caulk must be used to fill-in any cracks or chips in the surface of the step prior to stair tread installation. Failure to do this may leave a gap between the tread and the step, and such space can cause the tread to flex and shift unnecessarily. This can detach the tread over time and may cause an unforeseen accident in the future.
5. Clean each stepping surface prior to installation.
Each stepping surface must be clean in preparation for stair tread installation. Specifically, all oils, grease, rust, paint, varnish, and previous adhesive residue must be removed.
6. Trim each stair tread for a custom fit.
Not all steps are constructed with the same dimensions. As a result, stair treads are made oversized and untrimmed to ensure they cover the entire surface of the most common steps. This allows you to custom-fit each tread to each step simply by cutting-away the extra material from the sides.
7. Apply each stair tread nose-first.
When it comes to safety, installing stair treads so there is no space between the tread and the surface of the step is a top priority. Most important is the way in which the tread bonds to the step at the nose-end, as the portion of the tread is most prone to pressure-induced slippage. To minimize spacing, apply the stair tread nose-first by placing the nose-end of the tread on the edge of the step. Then, push back firmly and press the tread downwards onto the step from front-to-back.
8. Use a hand roller to finalize the application.
To reinforce the bond between the stair tread and the step, use a hand roller to firmly press downward on the tread from front-to-back. The goal is to push the tread closer to the surface of the step, eliminating any spaces that may still exist.
9. Clean away any excess caulking or adhesive.
After using a hand roller to finalize the installation, wipe away any extra adhesive residue from the front and sides. In most cases, extra adhesives can be removed with a damp cloth. Dry residue is a bit tougher to remove, and one may have to use steel wool to clean it away.
10. Give adhesive time to dry.
Finally, remember to give adhesive ample time to dry. Depending on the volume of visitors and employees that frequent the area, some facilities may wish to use caution tape and clearly marked signs to instruct guests to avoid the stairs and take an alternative route.
The safety of employees and facility guests alike is jeopardized when staircases are left uncovered. With just a bit of dirt or moisture, smooth stepping surfaces can quickly become slippery and dangerous. Stair coverings, like treads, effectively control the buildup of liquids and other debris, enhancing surface traction to provide a safer place on which to step. Follow the above 10 tips for expert installation, and take a proactive step towards a cleaner and safer workplace.