When we ripped ancient carpeting off the stairways in our home, expecting oak treads, we found cheap pine treads. My contractor says they cant be sanded and stained, you cant just replace the treads,because they are cut into the molding, and that it is expensive to rebuild the stairs.

Are there any laminates or caps for the existing treads to make them look nicer? The landing below is ceramic tile, and above is pergo, so I dont really want to carpet them. We tried painting and it just doesnt look good.

any suggestions?