How to Raise Stair Treads to Fix Uneven Steps

When we added new flooring in our 1960’s home remodel, it made the top basement stair taller than the others. See how we easily and quickly raised the stair treads to fix the uneven steps and correct the rise of the staircase. 

See all of our basement remodel vlogs and projects here

Fixing Uneven Stair Steps by Raising Stair Treads

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As I mentioned in the basement remodel update, our basement stairs were uneven after we added new flooring in the upstairs. The bottom stair was also shorter than the others to begin with.

This might be an old-house remodel quirk that some people would just choose to shrug and live with, but I wanted to fix it! #youmightberemodelaholic 😉

Here’s what the stairs looked like in the last video update:

basement remodel - fixing uneven stairs

Our top stair was about 2 inches taller, and the bottom stair was about 2 inches shorter, so we needed to update the rise of the stairs to make nice even steps.

After some thought and planning, we came up with an easy and relatively quick way to do it! So here’s what they look like now:

Basement Remodel, Fix Uneven Stairs By Raising Steps, Remodelaholic

Note that we are putting carpet on the stairs, so this stair tread fix didn’t need to be pretty since it will be covered by the carpet.

Prep for the Stair Remodel

We had already removed all the old carpet, so that was done before I started working on the stair remodel.

Raising the steps also meant that we needed to remove the handrail, since it was now 2″ too low. I removed that and patched all the holes.

We’re going to refinish the original handrail to match the now-visible open beams in the basement ceiling before reinstalling with new hardware, since the old hardware was breaking.

How to Easily Raise Stair Treads Without Removing the Old Tread

Rather than demoing the old staircase or removing the original treads, I just built new treads right on top.

If you watch the remodel update from a couple weeks ago, you can actually see the first step already done!

  1. I trimmed the old stair tread to the same depth as the stair riser. We cut off about 1 1/4″ using a circular saw.
  2. I layered 2 pieces of 7/16″ OSB, cut to fit the stair, and glued and screwed those together and to the old trimmed tread.
  3. Then I added the new bullnose 1″ wood stair tread on top, and glued and screwed it in place.

Quick And Easy Way To Raise Stairs To Fix Uneven Steps, Basement Staircase Reno, Remodelaholic

These new stair treads are SOLID!

Depending on the height you need to add to balance out the heights of your stair steps, you might not need all the layers that I did.

What did it cost?

A few sheets of OSB (plus what I already had on hand) cost $75-100, and each stair tread was around $10. So our 13 stairs cost around $130 for treads. Grand total around $250 in materials.

How To Raise Steps To Fix Uneven Stair Rise, Basement Stair Remodel, Remodelaholic

What’s Next in our Basement Remodel

We’re going to sand and paint to finish all the walls and finish the lighting before we get the carpet installed.

Be sure to subscribe to see our basement progress — next I’ll be sharing how we hung our new custom doors!

See more DIY stair remodels and makeover ideas here.

Fix Uneven Stairs Without Demolishing Staircase, Basement Stairway Remodel #remodelaholic


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Lorene has been behind the scenes here at Remodelaholic for more than a decade! She believes that planning projects and actually completing them are two different hobbies, but that doesn't stop her from planning at least a dozen projects at any given time. She spends her free time creating memories with her husband and 5 kids, traveling as far as she can afford, and partaking of books in any form available.

We love hearing from fellow Remodelaholics, so let us know what you like about this and leave any questions below in the comments. If you've followed a tutorial or been inspired by something you've seen here, we'd love to see pictures! Submit pictures here or by messaging us over on Facebook.

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  1. After having my living room to the 2nd floor stairs carpeted (16 stairs and 1 huge landing) I TOTALLY REGRET IT!!! Why? Because now it’s a back breaking huge vacuuming job. I would rather sweep the stairs and landing with a broom and be done with it in 10 minutes versus dragging a vacuum cleaner up and down each step and spending 30 minutes or more doing it. And don’t forget how your back is going to feel vacuuming up and down.I need to take pain medication after vacuuming the stairs! The vacuums that are cordless are awkward and because of their height they bang the walls and don’t get the rise part that is also carpeted. Can’t wait to tear the carpet off!

    1. Hi Mary, Thanks for the comment! This is a great point and definitely worth considering when making the decision to do carpet or hard flooring on stairs. Thanks for sharing your situation.

  2. Where did you find stair treads for $10 each? This is a project I’ve been planning to tackle (including evening out our stair height as well) but I haven’t yet found any deals that good!