How to Select the Right-Sized Treads for Your Stairs

Handi-Treads aluminum non-slip treads are proven to make slippery outdoor stairs safer in all weather conditions.  But buyers often wonder, “how do I choose the right size Handi-Tread?” Given the wide variety of stairs and Handi-Tread lengths, it may be difficult to know which size is best for your needs. Let’s discuss how to determine the correct length of our aluminum safety treads for your exterior stairs.

To help guide you, we will examine the standard sizes of stairs, the appropriate non-slip tread size based on the stair dimensions, and the suggested placement of the Handi-Treads. 

Residential Outdoor Stairs and Their Various Sizes

According to, for single-family residential outdoor stairs, a minimum of 36” in width is required. (In general, public spaces a minimum of 44” must be met—providing ample space for one person and allowing the tight passage of two people.) Comfortable two-person residential stair widths start at 49” and go up from there. For three simultaneous users, a minimum of 74” is recommended, but obviously you will find these super-wide sets of stairs in mostly commercial settings. 

For single-family homes in the United States, the average front door stair widths are 48” and 60”. Everyone wants a grand entry to their home and wider stairs look, well, grander. In the back of a home, it’s more common to have stair widths of 36”.


Standard straight stairs have stair treads with a depth of 9″-9/14″ and a nosing that typically hangs 1-1/2″ off the front of the stair. A typical stair rise is 8″ to 8″-1/4″ with each step, according to Simple Home Decorations.

With the width of your stairs measured, let’s get on to the process of choosing the right size of Handi-Treads for your home.

Selecting the Right Handi-Treads Size For Your Home

Handi-Treads, Non-Slip Treads come in four standard lengths including 12, 30, 36 and 48 inches. These four sizes will accommodate nearly all residential outdoor stairs when used alone or in combination with one another. (Handi-Treads can be custom manufactured to any size and color.)

Let’s consider a standard 36” front porch set of stairs.  We recommend the 30” length Handi-Tread as perfect for this staircase, even though 3” of the stair on either side of the Handi-Tread would be exposed. Why this recommendation? The truth is that on any stairway, the three inches by either side of the rail are rarely stepped upon!  Because the center of a stairway is where the traffic is, the tread doesn’t have to extend from edge-to-edge to provide excellent, non-slip protection.

On a set of stairs that are 36" or 42" wide, select the 30" Handi-Treads

Where to Place Your Handi-Treads

If you’re using a single aluminum tread, you will want to center it in the middle of each stair tread.  The Handi-Tread should be aligned 3/4” from the front edge of the stair tread as shown above (If you are installing a nosing, make sure it fits snugly against the edge of the stair.)

What should you do if your slippery outdoor stairs are substantially wider than the 48” non-slip tread?  On a larger, double stairway of 60 inches or more, you’ve got a couple of choices.  First, you could use two 30” treads side-by-side, effectively spanning the entire width of the stair. Alternatively, because most traffic comes up the center of the stairway, a 48” Handi-Tread centered on a 60” wide straight outdoor staircase would provide excellent non-slip protection in the most dangerous situations, such as when you’re using the stairs and carrying a package.

We’ve even seen clients who have installed 30” aluminum non-slip treads along only one side of a wide set of stairs. While we don’t recommend this solution, we do understand that it is one way to save a bit of money.

With a wide, 72" set of stairs, you can use two 30" Handi-Treads side-by-side.

Need Help? Call Handi-Treads!

There are a lot of unique outdoor stair situations to consider. From rounded stairs coming off of a wooden deck, to randomly sized railroad ties winding down a wooded path, there can be a number of unusual circumstances to consider when selecting the proper size of Handi-Treads. If this sounds like your situation, call us at 877-328-7389!  We’re here to help.

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