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The evolution of stair tread installation

The first rubber stair treads, as we know them today, came out in the 1960s and covered the complete tread including the front edge called the nosing. True time-tested methods of cutting and fitting included three wall and pattern scribing. These methods were time consuming to learn and required the highest degree of technique and craftsmanship that had to be mastered in order to produce consistently pleasing results.

Fast forward a few years and much more challenging profiles began to emerge. Included are the ‘one-piece step-up riser’ treads and newest to the market an LVT product branded as ‘Six Degrees’ manufactured by Roppe Holding Company, which features a preformed ‘one-piece step-down riser’ profile.

What the industry needed now was a standardised tool that could be set up fast and accurately by tradesmen of all skill levels. In 2011, ProKnee Corporation combined the mechanical features of a stair tread jig with pattern scribing templates and called it Treadman Multi-Angle Stair Tread Cutting System. Treadman quickly adjusts and conforms precisely to each individual step and securely locks in your steps’ and treads’ specific size and identical dimensions that you will be cutting your tread to.

Treadman acts as your template and your cutting guide, made up of 1/16 inch steel plates, large easy to adjust knobs, and spring-loaded edge plates, making your next measurement as quick and easy as your last.

Fitting a one-piece step-up riser tread requires the Treadman ‘One Piece Step/Riser Template Kit’. Complete video instructions can be viewed on YouTube by searching ‘Treadman’.

Fitting of the preformed LVT Six Degrees Impression Step Down Riser Treads leaves you with a couple of options. The preferred method, using Treadman ‘One Piece Step/Riser Template Kit’, is best described in the installation instructions available for download on the Six Degrees Flooring website at

A second option entails using the Step-Down Riser Plate Kit, ProKnee’s latest addition to Treadman lineup, which allows users to capture angles of the riser using adjustable steel plates on risers measuring between 6-1/8 to 8-7/8 inches.

The image above, shows an LVT preformed tread, on a site fabricated cutting block, being heated from below so cutting becomes quicker, using less effort.

One thing you can be sure of, as stair tread products evolve, installation methods and techniques will too!

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