View Full Version : Heated Stair Treads?

01-04-2016, 09:50 AM

I have a four step set of stairs coming off my back porch. Because of melting on the roof (200 year old house, not insulated for the most part, at least in the roof) there is always melting coming down on the steps. The first two especially get ice build up. I would like to have treads that I could have heating cables for melting.

The treads are 5' wide and are made of two 5/4" x 6" treated yellow pine boards.

I'm looking for a tread product (some sort of composite?) that I could heat to prevent ice build up. I've seen heat mat products (see http://heattrak.com/products/residential-heated-stair-mat) but these are expensive and I think they would get too beat up. There is a lot of ice build up above and the ice falls at times.

(I know, fix your heat/insulation/ice issue. This would require a major roof/insulation job and my third of four children is going to college next year...)

So, is there a tread product that might have some embedded heat cable? Of can someone suggest a DIY solution?



01-04-2016, 10:03 AM
Be careful of a fire hazard.
Extend the roof beyond the steps?
Two kids still at home? Give them the insulation and put them to work.

01-04-2016, 10:34 AM
replace with industrial metal stepshttp://www.slipnot.com/products/expanded-metal-stair-treads/

01-04-2016, 11:21 AM
Put a short section of gutter along the lower edge of the roof to divert the water somewhere off to the side.

01-04-2016, 12:16 PM
replace with industrial metal stepshttp://www.slipnot.com/products/expanded-metal-stair-treads/

If you used something like Grip Strut ice will not be a problem. But it is NOT kind to bare feet.

01-04-2016, 01:04 PM
I agree with the previous comments where advice is to start
with root cause or at least earlier stages of symptoms (redirect
the run-off). Besides the capital cost of some sort of heater,
keep in mind there will also be the operating costs - anything
to eliminate or at least reduce the amount of heating/drying
will be beneficial.

That said, would some sort of small portable infrared device
configured to run on an adhoc basis be able to keep icing
under control ?

There are IR lamps used in food services and livestock sectors
which are pretty simple, some are just a socket with a large
reflector. I have a vintage one with a 150W IR bulb that was
repurposed for outdoor pet warmth. Either just plug/unplug
as required or use in conjunction w/ a timer would provide a
very basic heat source .


01-04-2016, 01:18 PM
Tractor Supply calls them 'Brood Lamps' (http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/producers-pride-brooder-lamp-with-6-ft-cord?cm_vc=-10005). Presently
on sale for $8. A little different than mine, but ...

I see TS shows IR bulbs rated for 250W.


01-04-2016, 02:56 PM
If you used something like Grip Strut ice will not be a problem. But it is NOT kind to bare feet.

and bears don't like to walk on them either.

01-04-2016, 04:07 PM

Or set up a misting system of ice melt

01-04-2016, 06:21 PM
Divert the water first and then what water does fall on the steps can be controlled by cover the treads with thick rubber matting which can be removed. Have it held in place with grommets in the corners and pegs in the steps. When ice builds up, remove the rubber mats and give them a good whack on the back to knock of the ice. Cheaper than using electricity and heating pads.

brian Rupnow
01-04-2016, 07:02 PM
Go to a plumbing supply store and buy a length of thermostaticaly controlled heating cable. It is generally used to wrap around pipes that may be exposed to freezing temperatures, and you can buy it in 6,10, or 12 foot lengths. The thermostat is integral to the wiring, and doesn't keep the cable hot all the time---it only comes on when the temperature drops close to freezing. This stuff is waterproof. Build a shallow box to fit under each stair tread and weave the cable back and forth in the box under each tread. Don't tell your fire insurance people that it was my idea. (I have used this method to heat the floor of dog-houses for my "outside dogs" and they were kept reasonably comfortable in -30F weather.)

01-04-2016, 07:06 PM
Concentrating solar collector ?


01-04-2016, 10:20 PM
Why not drill a row of drain holes in the tread (or slots with a router)? That's pretty common around here.

01-04-2016, 10:55 PM
Is it not possible to build a small roof over the steps?