Top 7 Cap-A-Tread Alternative

Is your old staircase looking worn out and you need a new cap a tread alternative to try for your staircase? If so, you’re at the right place.

Sometimes, going for the most obvious option (cap-a-tread) may not seem exciting, and you need interesting alternatives to spice things up. However, before choosing any alternative, you should consider factors like style and size to ensure your stairs are safe and good-looking.

For example, if your home stairs are curved, you should go for hardwood flooring as an alternative. Whereas cork is great for open or closed staircases. Whatever option you choose, ensure it’s safe, secure, and fit properly for your staircase type.

That being said, we’ll discuss the top 7 alternatives to cap-a-tread in this article. Before that, we’ll elaborate on factors you must consider before choosing any alternative. Continue reading to find out.

Things to Consider Before Choosing Alternatives to Cap-A-Tread

As a homeowner, you should ask some basic questions before constructing or revamping your home staircase. These factors will help you make a better choice when considering options to cap-a-tread. Let’s look at some of them.

  1. Budget

You can renew your staircase without breaking the bank, as different flooring options are available in the market range in price. Therefore, before considering an alternative, you should note your budget.

  1. Safety

You cannot overlook this factor, as safety is a paramount consideration. Opt for slip-resistant surfaces. If you have children and people with mobility issues at home, go for surfaces that provide better traction.

  1. Traffic Level

How often your household will use the stairs is another reasonable consideration. A high traffic level may often require frequent cleaning. Therefore, choose a durable alternative that is easy to clean and lasts long.

  1. Noise

Opt for a cap a tread alternative that absorbs noise if your stairs are near a living room. This means you won’t have to constantly hear the footsteps of everyone walking up and down the stairs.

  1. Maintenance

How much can you afford on maintenance? Some flooring types for stairs require more maintenance than others. Therefore, consider the maintenance before going for any cap a tread alternative.

  1. Visual Appeal

This depends on your style, visual acceptability, and taste. Choose one that ticks your visual style. Modern stair flooring has many styles and designs, giving users loads of design options. Therefore, consider your design choice when selecting cap-a-thread alternatives.

Best Cap-A-Tread Alternatives to Try Out

  1. Hardwood Flooring
hardwood staircase

This type of flooring gives your staircase a classic finish. It’s one of the most desirable alternatives and can significantly impact the look and feel of your home.

Hardwood flooring can add good value to your house, providing a good resale value if you later decide to sell the house. Plus, it’s durable and comes in different prices and styles to fit your needs and budget. Also, it doesn’t trap dirt, thus, making it easy to clean. 

One significant concern about this alternative is that it is noisy and can be slippery when wet. However, you can take precautions by installing no-slip treads and ensure other safety measures to prevent this classic finished staircase flooring from causing harm. 

  1. Vinyl Flooring
a wide modern staircase with bright blue and yellow stairs

Vinyl flooring is a very affordable option when it comes to staircase flooring. If you have a vinyl floor in your house, you should continue with this alternative. This flooring type is simple to clean, not slippery, and highly water-resistant.

Vinyl planks are rigid, making them ideal for stairways with much traffic. Also, it comes in different styles, giving you plenty of room to choose a style that matches your concept. Like hardwood flooring, vinyl isn’t quiet. Therefore, it’s not ideal for staircases that lead to the bedroom or any notable area in the home. Also, it can be difficult to remove, making it hard to replace as vinyl flooring is fixed with a strong adhesive.

  1. Cork Flooring
widgetco cork roll

Cork is an eco-friendly, sustainable alternative that’s gentle and easy on the feet. The cork material is solid and offers insulating effects that keep the feet warm. It’s a fire-resistant safe option, as it will only melt or ignite at extremely high temperatures.

Cork flooring is easy to install. Although several cork flooring materials are available, only a few are ideal for stairs. When installing cork flooring, use a sealant with cork flooring to prevent moisture damage. Once sealed, it becomes durable and can serve you for long. However, cork flooring isn’t as durable as other options like hardwood, as sharp and heavy objects can cause punctures and indentations. 

  1. Carpet Flooring
Fitting stair carpet using a knee kicker

Carpet flooring seems to be the safest of the alternatives. It’s ideal if you have children and pets running around the house. This is because it provides a soft landing in case of falls. Also, it’s an ideal staircase flooring alternative that muffles noise from walking up and down the stairs.

Furthermore, it comes in lots of colors and patterns. If you want to avoid the expense of installing a carpet floor, you can install a carpet runner. It provides good traction and can be styled to match the underneath material.

However, carpets can be challenging to maintain. It experiences wear and tear, and using carpet flooring in a high-traffic home will require regular cleaning. Also, carpets retain moisture and, if not properly maintained, can be a breeding place for mold and mildew. For better durability, opt for woolen and dense carpets that reduce allergens and make cleaning easier.

  1. Tile Flooring
Wood and Tiled Risers- stairs

Tiles are one of the most durable flooring options to cap-a-tread. They are attractive, fully waterproof, and easy to maintain. All you need is a broom and mop, nothing more.

This cap a tread alternative is suitable for high-traffic homes and is resistant to wear and tear. If broken or damaged, sections can be easily replaced without spending much. They come in various styles, textures, and patterns, and you can easily find a suitable style that suits your budget.

Some drawbacks of this flooring method include installation. Tiling requires professional service and involves many tools. Also, tiles are hard, meaning fragile items can break when mistakenly dropped on the tiles.

  1. Laminate Flooring
staircase finished with a deep rich wood laminate

Recently, laminate flooring has become popular. This alternative is a budget-friendly option to hardwood, and it’s highly versatile. It’s an ideal option if you’re on a tight budget. Like other stairway flooring types on our list, it comes in different styles. You can choose from any look, including ceramic, wood, stone, or tiles.

Laminate flooring has a protective layer to prevent staining. Furthermore, it’s easy to install and requires cheap maintenance. However, laminate flooring has its challenges. It’s not as durable as hardwood and can be slippery underfoot. Also, it’s not waterproof and cannot be sanded or refinished.

  1. Paint Flooring
paint flooring

This may be the least expensive cap-a-thread alternative on our list. Paint flooring is ideal when you have a sturdy staircase that needs an adorning upgrade. Also, it’s a good way to continue a color pattern throughout a hallway or change the look of your staircase. Painting is relatively easy and doesn’t necessarily have to be a long-term solution, as you can easily change the colors.

Some drawbacks to this alternative include sanding or treating before painting. Also, paint flooring doesn’t provide soundproofing or insulation, and some high-shine paints can become slippery. In addition, lightly-colored paints are prone to quickly getting dirty.


You’ve been presented with seven good alternatives to cap-a-tread. Each of these cap a tread alternative comes in different varieties and designs. Feel free to go for any that match your personality and style. However, remember to consider the drawbacks of each when making decisions. This way, you’re better prepared to face the challenge of any alternative you choose.

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