How to Install Laminate Flooring on Stairs

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How to Install Laminate Flooring on Stairs

In a lot of cases, the stairs is a major part of a home. This is why you made sure that it’s going to create attraction. You wouldn’t like the stairs to stick out like a sore thumb. Stairs are functional so they have to be sturdy and comfortable to use. After all, that’s why you have them constructed – so you, your family members and guests will have an easy way to go from one level of your home to the next.

Did you know that it can actually be a centerpiece of your home? This is actually true for bi-level homes and similar types of homes. Stairs are usually imposing and are on a highly-visible area. People will see it, so you might as well make sure that they’ll see something beautiful.

Cover Your Stairs with a Flooring Material

Technically speaking, it’s also a floor since you’ll be stepping on it. So if you spent on flooring material, you also have to cover your stairs with the right flooring material. It’s hard to go wrong with laminate flooring. It’s an affordable way to mimic whatever flooring material you’re using.

Read more about laminate as a flooring option.

Can You Install it On your Own?

Yes, if you have the right tools, experience and skillset. But just like with any home improvement project, it’s best to just hire a competent contractor that specializes in the project that you have in mind for best results.

It can be done, though, but at the risk of inefficiency and failure. Both will lead to you hiring a contractor anyway. This means that you would have wasted time, effort and money only to end up doing what you should have done in the first place.

How to Do it

If you feel that you have the right tools, experience and skillset, here’s how to install laminate flooring on stairs:

  • Prepare.

It’s important that you get started on the right track and preparing the flooring will set you up for that. The first thing that you need to do is to choose from the different laminate flooring options available for you. The best thing that you can do is to ask a contractor or manufacturer for their most hard-wearing type available. Remember that your stairs get a lot of use and abuse.

If you have kids or if slippery floors are a concern for you, get the one with a matte and textured finish. Because it’s a high gloss material, this type of flooring can get slippery which won’t serve you well in case of stairs.

When you order the laminates, make sure that you order 10% more than what you calculated you really need. This is to make room for errors and wastage. You can also use the extra to fill up spaces.

Once you’ve received the boards, take them out of their boxes and leave them in an open space in your home for at least 2 full days. This allows them to acclimate. They need to adjust to the temperature and humidity inside your home before you install them. If you skip this process, they may expand, warp or contract later on.

  • Remove the carpeting.

This step is if you have carpeting in the stairs. You can remove the carpet using pliers in order to pry the carpet away from the floor since it’s often installed using staples and adhesive tack strips. Use a scraper in order to remove the staples and use a pry bar to remove the tack strips. It’s important that you wear heavy duty gloves and other protective gear to protect yourself since there will be sharp objects.

You should also check to make sure that each of the stairs is leveled. If not, use a belt sander. Leveling them ensures that the boards will sit properly.

  • Take off any overhang.

Just like with most stairs, yours probable came with an overhang. You can check by positioning yourself at the bottom and looking up to see if you can see the nosing of the upper step. If you can see, then there’s an overhang and you have to take it off.

A good way to do it is to use a jigsaw to cut off the overhang. Next, you’re going to use a chisel to ensure that the surface is flush off with the riser. As an alternative, use plywood in padding the riser in such a way that you’ll fill out the space underneath the overhang. Nail the plywood in place before installing the boards.

  • Cut the laminate into shape.

Cut the tread and riser pieces of the laminate lengthwise. Include the stair nosing. Lay the plank across the step. Make sure that it fits snugly. If necessary, trim the edges. In some cases, you’d need to cut another plank to cover the width of the step. Most installers will cut the planks in even pieces and just use additional planks to fill up the spaces.

You should also cut the riser pieces while ensuring that it’s snug against the top of the tread piece and leveled with the riser’s top portion. Next, cut the nose stripping to fit.

  • Install the laminate flooring.

Start from the top and work your way towards the bottom. Install the tread pieces by spreading over 3 beads of wood glue on the subfloor, while taking extra care to make sure that you don’t put any on the space at the edge. With the tongue edge facing outwards, place the tread pieces slowly towards the tread.

  • Put the risers in place.

Once again, spread 3 beads of the wood glue towards the back of the riser plank and then press them into place, making sure that you use firm pressure for around a couple of minutes.

  • Install the nosing.

Apply glue towards the subfloor. Press on it firmly while making sure that the end that tapers overlaps the tread piece.

  • Do the finishing touches.

At this point, it’s up to you what you want done as finishing touches. It’s a must that you cover holes with putty. Also, it’s important that you clean the stairs before using it. Don’t use it yet for 24 full hours for best results.

Hire a Contractor Instead

As you can see, there are a lot of steps involved on how to install laminate flooring on stairs. Even if you can do the steps, you can’t guarantee perfect results. This is why it’s better for you to just hire a laminate flooring contractor to do it for you.

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