9 Cheaper DIY Cap-A-Tread Alternatives

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Are you looking to update your stairs without breaking the bank? Cap-A-Treads are a popular option, but their cost can quickly add up, especially if you have a large staircase. Fortunately, there are several alternative options that can achieve a similar look without the high price tag. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best cheaper DIY Cap-A-Tread alternatives that you can easily do yourself. We’ll provide you with creative and cost-effective solutions to transform your stairs into a stunning focal point of your home.

What is the Cap-A-Tread stair renewal system by Zamma?

DIY Staircase
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Designed by Zamma, Cap-A-Tread is an ingenious and robust laminated staircase renovation system that enables both homeowners and expert installers to enhance the appearance, texture, and sturdiness of their stairways. 

The product offers the added advantage of being able to match their laminate or vinyl flooring, while still being affordable in comparison to hardwood stairs. This innovative offering is a testament to Zamma’s proficiency and production capacities, which have paved the way for an exciting new venture.

Why look for an alternative to Cap-A-Tread?

While Cap-A-Tread is a useful and valuable solution, the biggest problem for a lot of users is the price. This solution requires a heftier investment when compared to other options on the market.  

Why is cap-a-tread so expensive?

Stair treads can be a costly investment due to a number of factors. Firstly, the manufacturing process of stair treads is a skilled craft that requires specialized training and expertise. As a result, stair tread manufacturers charge a premium for their work. Additionally, the materials used in the production of stair treads are often high-end, which contributes to the overall expense. 

Materials such as wood and vinyl are commonly used for stair treads due to their durability and aesthetic appeal. However, these materials come at a significant cost, making the final product more expensive. 

In addition, although the installation process of Zamma‚Äôs Cap-A-Tread stair renewal system is considered easier than others, it does require a professional. This can ultimately lead to higher investment and can also create dependencies. 

While the high price of stair treads can deter some homeowners from investing in them, it’s important to note that they are a long-lasting investment that can add value to a home. By choosing a reputable manufacturer and high-quality materials, homeowners can ensure that their stair treads will provide both durability and beauty for years to come.

How much is a cap-a-tread installation?

Cap-a-Tread is a cost-effective solution for updating the look of your staircase, with the materials and installation typically costing between $90 to $115 per tread. Compared to traditional stair treads made of high-end materials such as wood or vinyl, this is a relatively affordable option. 

The cost of Cap-a-Tread is influenced by the type of plank used, with average-priced planks costing between $68 to $115 per stair. Despite the lower cost, Cap-a-Tread offers excellent durability and quality, making it a popular choice among homeowners and professional installers alike. 

9 More Affordable Cap-A-Tread Alternatives for DIY lovers

So are there any stair coverings other than carpet that you can take advantage of? Certainly! 

Here are a few Cap-A-Tread alternatives and cheap stair tread ideas that you can explore.

Rubber stair tread covers

Stair mats from rubber share similarities with the standard heavy-duty perforated rubber doormats. However, these mats are tailored to fit individual stair treads and boast a more stylish and decorative appearance. They serve the primary purpose of enhancing traction on outdoor stairs that are wet or icy. Additionally, they are ideal for use on basement stairs, deck stairs, and garage steps.

Rubber mats can be installed without any fasteners or adhesive. They typically feature an intricate scrollwork pattern that imitates antique ironwork. The mats can be easily removed and washed with a hose for effortless cleaning.

Carpet stair tread covers

Carpet stair treads or covers are marginally smaller than regular stair treads and are affixed to the treads using hook-and-loop (Velcro) strips. One-half of the strip is affixed to the tread, while the other half is attached to the underside of the carpet tread.

These synthetic mats, resembling sisal, are reasonably priced and provide a simple solution to enhancing traction on smooth wooden stairs. Although they do not offer any decorative appeal, they promote safety without completely masking the tread.

Composite anti-slip stair tread covers

Compression-molded fiberglass and resin are used to create composite tread covers. They envelop the complete tread, including the nosing, to deliver superior slip resistance. These covers can be secured to concrete, metal, or wood surfaces with construction adhesive or screws.

Composite tread covers are appropriate for all types of outdoor stairs, as well as basement stairs, garage steps, and stairs that are near swimming pools. They effectively conceal surface damage and other flaws since they cover the entire tread. However, they can only be utilized on steps that are structurally sound and cannot substitute for treads.

Sisal stair tread covers

Sisal stair treads are a popular choice due to their long-lasting nature, resistance to slipping, and versatility in complementing various stair colors and designs. Natural sisal, derived from a plant resembling hemp, is a particularly excellent material for this purpose, owing to its durability and suitability for making ropes, twine, footwear, and fabrics. 

Consequently, sisal stair treads are a smart and practical solution for enhancing both the safety and aesthetic appeal of staircases.

Bullnose carpet stair tread covers

It can be challenging to bend regular carpet over the nose of a staircase unless you are a carpet installer. Due to its rigidity, the carpet tends to resist curling. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem. A product has been designed to address this issue. The front part of this product comes pre-curled and can be easily fitted over the stair nose with a snap. The back part of the overlay may or may not be secured with a peel-and-stick adhesive.

Removable bullnose carpet stair covers are tailor-made for conventional hardwood stairs. They only cover a portion of the tread and do not include any riser components.

Clear non-slip stair tread covers

If you’re looking for an anti-slip solution for your hardwood stairs, clear non-slip strips could be just what you need. Made of plastic material with a sticky backing, these strips can be directly applied to the stair treads, offering slip resistance without obscuring the natural beauty of the wood.

When you purchase a clear tread strip kit, you will typically receive a small handheld roller tool to assist you in flattening the strips and bonding them to the step treads. This makes the application process easy and hassle-free.

Bringing your stairs to life with paint

As you approach a staircase from the bottom, your view is limited to the risers only, with no treads visible. The dimensions of this vertical surface can vary depending on the length of the staircase, but typically it spans about 3 feet wide and 8 feet high, providing a significant amount of interior real estate that’s almost like a narrow wall.

One way to make the most of this space is by using creative stair riser designs, such as painting them. You have the option of going bold with different colors on each riser or alternating colors. However, if you prefer a more subtle approach, you can paint the risers with a solid color that either complements or blends in with the surrounding wall colors.

For those who possess artistic skills, painting an optical illusion on the staircase is an option. This involves creating a picture that appears to assemble itself when viewed from a specific point in front of the stairs.

Installing peel-and-stick wallpaper

If you want to add a touch of personality to your staircase without the hassle of painting, consider using peel-and-stick wallpaper for a stylish and low-effort transformation. This DIY technique offers an easy way to update your stairs with a bold statement print or a subtle pattern.

One of the biggest advantages of using peel-and-stick wallpaper is its temporary nature. This means you can easily switch up your staircase design and experiment with new patterns and colors. It’s also ideal if you live in a rental home since it’s a non-permanent solution that can be removed without causing any damage to the walls or stairs.

In addition to being easy to apply and remove, peel-and-stick wallpaper is a cost-effective alternative to traditional wallpaper or paint. It’s a great option for those on a budget who still want to add some personality to their living space.

Adding tiles to stair risers

Have you ever considered installing tiles on the interior stairways of your home?

The process of installing tiles on the risers of interior stairs is relatively easy, particularly if the tile’s size corresponds to the height of the riser. In such cases, all you need to do is attach the tiles to the risers, without the need for any cutting.

However, if cutting is necessary, a wet tile saw is the most effective tool to use. A rail-style tile cutter, also known as a snap tile cutter, is an alternative option if you don’t have access to a tile saw. This tool involves drawing the wheel across the tile’s face and then applying pressure on the lever to break the tile cleanly along the line.


Updating your stairs with Cap-A-Treads can be a great way to give your home a fresh, modern look, but the cost can be a significant investment. Thankfully, there are several alternative options that are both creative and cost-effective. By exploring these cheaper DIY Cap-A-Tread alternatives, you’ll be able to create a stylish and functional staircase that complements your home’s decor, all while staying within your budget.