False Tread and Riser Caps are used to give the appearance of Solid Treads with a carpet runner going up the center of the staircase but without the expense. There are a couple basic types of Tread and Riser Caps, Tread End Caps (or Open Tread Caps) and Tread Wall Caps (or Closed Tread Caps). Tread End Caps go on the open side of a stair typically where the balusters will be. Tread Wall Caps go on the closed side of the stairway against the wall. While usually False Tread Caps are used on both sides of a stairway to create the most convincing “Solid Stair Tread” look you can also choose to use only the Tread End Caps under the balusters and carpet to the wall. When considering your False Tread Caps there is one other aspect to consider. This is whether you want veneered caps or solid. There are pros and cons to each of these options, however as far as the durability and aesthetics, most customers definitely prefer the solid versions. But, that decision is yours to make so here I will just give you the pros and cons of each below.
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Veneered Caps have a molded edge that leaves a joint visible on the top of each tread but also covers the end of the plywood cap. Because the treads themselves are veneered, if damaged they are difficult or impossible to repair without replacement. However with a good finish this is rarely an issue. The biggest complaint we hear as far as durability of this type of cap is the breaking of the moulding, which occasionally can occur if the molded overhang is forcefully stepped upon. It must be said that the moulded edge provides a nice clean finish, these caps are simple to install and slightly less expensive. Solid Tread Caps are more durable and scratches, dents, etc. can usually be easily replaced by sanding. The moulding is installed under the bullnosed edge of the tread which reveals the end-grain of the solid cap. While this is rarely considered an issue, some people prefer not to see the end-grain. These treads are just slightly more expensive and a little more difficult to install but in our opinion well worth it. Whatever you decide, both styles of False Tread Caps are precision manufactured to the highest standards and will provide years of enjoyment as part of what we at woodstairs.com hope will be your finest piece of furniture, your balustrade.