The most common reason for replacing rubber or vinyl stair treads is that the nosing is cracking or falling off. This type of damage is almost always due to the installer missing one very important step, drastically shortening the lifespan of a tread – not to mention also voiding your tread warranty due to an improper installation.
When installing rubber and vinyl stair covering, one of the most often overlooked but essential steps is putting in the nose caulking. Modern square nose stair treads have a channel on the inside corner of the nose which gives the nosing piece flexibility enough to fit any angle riser from 60° to 90°. Without filling that channel with nose caulking, you’re allowing the stair tread to flex in the most vulnerable spot. The more often that area flexes, the more vulnerable it becomes, and sooner than later, you’ll get a crack which spreads across the nose.
There are two options for installing nose caulking; you can find both options on our FloorMat Store website. The easiest option is to use a dual cartridge unit and a dual cartridge caulking gun, that covers 50 linear feet per unit. Just pop the cartridge in and squeeze a small bead along the inside of the nose bend. If you are taking your time with the installation, or breaking up a large job, make sure to order extra nozzles too, so you can cap the unit between uses.
The other method is a two part quart unit, which is a bit more difficult, but a lot more budget friendly. You mix the two parts as directed on the side of the cans, and using a trowel or putty knife, slip some in place along the nosing. A single quart unit will cover 75 linear feet if properly mixed, used before dried and applied correctly. Remember, once mixed, you’re fighting the clock; try not to take a break from installing, or you may come back to find your mixture has already set.
If you are installing stair treads over steps that have worn edges, make sure that you use a heavy hand when applying the nose caulking, so it can properly fill out the area to give a solid backing to the tread.