“Tread” is the technical term for the surface part of the steps of a staircase. It is literally the part you tread or walk on. Put more simply, it is the top part of the step, the part you see from above while walking on it and looking down at your feet. It has measurements from side to side and front to back. In most cases, it is rectangular in shape. However, for a spiral staircase, it is skewed a bit towards an almost triangular shape, skinnier in the middle and wider on the outer edge.
Generally speaking, stair treads come in the same materials as any other flooring: wood, metal, tile, cement, stone, and so on. Historically, for indoor staircases, carpet inserts on each tread or carpeting installed over the entire staircase was sometimes used as a relatively slip-resistant addition to wood, stone and other relatively slick, slippery traditional flooring materials. Today, non-slip materials like rubber or vinyl are increasingly popular, especially for commercial or industrial applications where traffic levels are high and accidents are potentially both more likely and more problematic.
As with any other architectural feature, the choice of material will depend on both aesthetic and practical considerations. For many outdoor applications, metal, cement or stone are very common in part because of their durability. They not only withstand the elements well but also visually fit the typically rugged surroundings. However, for impressive building fronts, stone is more common as it is equally durable but generally more attractive than either cement or metal. Indoor applications are much more likely to use wood, tile or other indoor flooring materials. They do not need to survive the weather, thus aesthetic consideration tend to take on more importance. However, that is not always true in commercial or industrial settings where use patterns are substantially different from residential settings.
Although not a traditional flooring material, in recent years, glass staircases are a viable and visually striking option. This is not for the faint of heart and not recommended for anyone who is afraid of heights. For situations where making a statement is highly prized, glass treads can be wonderful. They also can visually open up space which might otherwise feel cramped and overcrowded. Famously, Apple stores use striking glass staircases to encourage traffic to upper floors which would otherwise be underutilized. So sometimes aesthetics are not merely a matter of looks.
Metro Atl. Floors stays stocked in all tread materials and our experts have decades of installation experience. Give us a call today and speak with one of our friendly professionals.