If you’re reading this it is probably due to one of two reasons. You either have some failed stair treads and you’re wondering what went wrong, or your looking to upgrade soon and want to make sure your DIY project doesn’t turn into an “oh no what have I done?” project. In either case, this is the most important thing to know going forward. Hands down, the most common reason for needing to replace vinyl and rubber stair treads is improper installation. That improper instal is almost always because of too little, or absolutely no nose caulking. This drastically reduces the life of your tread, no to mention voids your warranty.
So, why does nose caulking matter so much? Simply put, modern day treads have a crevice or channel on the inside corner of the nose. We put this there to give flexibility enough to fit any angle from 60° to 90°. There are a lot of old steps out there, and so often they have been worn down or manufactured in an odd angle. This alleviates the need for a completely custom tread design for every building’s needs. Without filling in that channel with nose caulking, you leave a pocket of air at the most vulnerable spot of your tread. The more that area flexes, the weaker and weaker it becomes, Soon you are going to end up with a crack that will spread across the full nose of your tread. There’s really no coming back from that.
So you’re thinking, “We’re all adults here, why would anyone step anywhere other than directly on top of the tread? You’ll trip that way.” In a perfect world maybe. How about when you have guests over? What about the elderly, or children who sometimes struggle to lift their knees up to the height that's needed? Is this an apartment that where people are possibly going to be dragging couches and other heavy objects up and down? An office building that has boxes of files that may need moved around? Or desks for that matter? When it comes down to it, the nose gets an enormous amount of abuse, and when it has just air behind it to hold it up, it's not going to last very long.
Now how do we go forward with that in mind? There are two options for filling in this channel. You can see both of them in our adhesive section here, but let's delve deeper into them right now so you can choose what's best for you.
The first and easiest option is installing with the dual cartridge unit and dual cartridge caulking gun. One unit of this covers 50 linear feet. It’s quick and easy, you simply pop the cartridge in and squeeze a small bead along the inside of the nose bend on your tread. If you are going to be taking your time with installation, or finding that you will need to break it up due to it being a large job, make sure you order some extra nozzles so that you can cap the unit between uses, keeping it from drying. This is the fastest and most simple option. But sometimes people are on a really tight budget.
If that's the case, then you can always choose option two which is a two part quart unit. It's a bit more difficult and time consuming, but it’s also a lighter option on your wallet. A single quart unit of this will cover 75 linear feet, if mixed properly, and installed correctly before dried. The important thing to consider if you are going with this option is that you are fighting against the clock, try not to take a break, or you may find that when you return the mixture has already set.
Whatever option you choose though, I have one more tip for you. If the edges of your steps are worn, cracked, or simply showing a lot of wear, make sure you use a heavy hand when you are applying the nose caulking. That way it can fully fill out the channel and leave a solid backing for that tender area.
This entry was posted on 8/14/19 by: Reese