How Do You Put Laminate Flooring on Stairs (With Pros & Cons)

laminate flooring on stairs

Laminate flooring is a highly versatile and durable material that is seeing far more use than just on flat floors. 

From walls to stairs, laminate flooring is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to the usual suspects. 

Below, we will look more deeply at the concept of laminate flooring on stairs. We will also explore how to measure, cut, and fit the flooring onto the steps. 

What is Laminate Flooring? 

This type of flooring is designed to look like wood. It is a type of material that is a blend of formaldehyde and melamine. 

The result is a durable material that can be used on countertops, cabinets, whiteboards, floors, and walls. 

Many people falsely assume that laminate flooring is plastic, but this is not so. Plastic undergoes a wildly different process to be made. 

Even so, buying laminate flooring is similar to buying plastic, as you are still buying a product that is nothing but chemicals that have been hardened. 

Can Laminate Go On Stairs – The Pros & Cons? 

Laminate can go on stairs, and many laminate flooring manufacturers sell pieces specifically designed to attach to the tread’s front. 

These laminate pieces can attach to the regular laminate planks and move to the edge of the stair to give a seamless look. 

Unfortunately, the process of installing laminate flooring on the stairs is a bit harder than installing it on the floor. 

Stairs are one of the home areas with the highest impact, so your laminate stairs will need more adhesion than usual. 

Also, you will likely have to cut the laminate to the size of your stairs, as they typically do not sell laminate flooring in specific stair-sized pieces. 

Advantages

  • Inexpensive stair solution
  • Incredibly durable once installed
  • Available in a variety of designs and colors

Disadvantages

  • Installation is time-consuming 
  • It can be hard to repair and install
drawbacks of laminate flooring on stairs

Installing Laminate Flooring on Steps (Step-by-Step)

Because stairs are a high-traffic area in the house, you will need to be sure you secure them to the subfloor. 

It is also essential to ensure the nose is secure, as it can come off quickly over time. Before beginning the careful installation, be sure that you have the proper tools:

  • Table saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Level
  • Miter saw that has a fine blade
  • Hammer and 6d nails
  • Screws for risers, nosing, treads, and risers 
  • Construction adhesive

You may also want to think about purchasing a laminate floor cutter.

These special tools allow you to get a cleaner cut and ensure that the laminate can stick completely flush to the wall. 

Step 1: Prepare the Subfloor

Be sure that the subfloor is completely level. 

You do not want to install laminate flooring over vinyl or tile as it won’t be a level enough surface, which could cause the laminate to move and bend. 

Smooth any surfaces you plan to adhere to – using sandpaper or other methods. 

Step 2: Glue the Planks

Then, you will glue pieces of the laminate together. The width of the riser and tread won’t ever be the same as one of the pieces you are working with.

For this reason, you will always need to add more than one plank to each riser and tread. 

They will need to be cut to fit the widths of the various areas. Once they are cut, you can glue the planks you need together to fit the tread’s width. 

This usually requires two planks but sometimes necessitates three if you are using narrower pieces. It is best if you use wood glue to accomplish this.

You could also opt for PVA type II glue as it has a lower moisture content than wood glue. 

Remember to apply the glue to the tongue instead of the groove by adding a small glue dot. This will limit the excess glue you may have to clean up after. 

After the planks have been glued together, you will have to give them plenty of time to dry. Wipe off any extra glue that seeps out. 

Step 3: Measuring Risers and Treads

Measure the treads and risers to get the exact length. 

Make sure you do this correctly while using the right marking and measuring tools, as this will affect the overall success ratio of your project.

Step 4: Cut the Treads

With the measurements known, you can make the cuts to get them to the perfect size for placement on your stairs.

First, you should cut them to the right width and then to the right length.

Step 5: Install Them

Using construction adhesive and nails or screws, begin to install the pieces, starting at the top of the stairs on the first riser. 

Applying the glue in a serpentine pattern is best to ensure coverage across the entire piece.

 Glue it in place and press it into position. From there, nail or screw the risers and treads to the subfloor.

Ensure each plank has a few screws or nails in them to prevent any side of it from coming dislodged. 

They can be covered up later using wood filler, which will not compromise the aesthetic. Continue in this way down to the risers and stairs. 

Step 6: Install the Laminate Nosing

Take a look at the manufacturer’s directions to fit the nosing onto the steps. Some will fit over the top of the risers, while others will sit over the tread in a metal bracket. 

No matter what method you use for installation, ensure that this is the area that will be stepped on the most. 

It is important to take the time to ensure that they are securely and snugly in place. 

If there are any dips in the middle of the tread and you see that the nosing is softer in the center once you install it, it may be a good idea to slip a small piece of plastic or wood under it to help fortify it. 

Once it has been glued and nailed down, this piece should keep the nose and tread from moving around or becoming dislodged. 


What Is the Price of Laminate Flooring – And How Much You Will Need? 

Laminate can run anywhere from $0.50 to $3 for every square foot, depending on if you go for higher or lower quality options. 

Since laminate floors don’t use an underlay, you don’t have to worry about factoring that cost into your budget. 

The laminate stair nose will typically be the most expensive part of the job, as they can cost between $30 to $50 or sometimes more. 

Hardwood vs. Laminate Treads and Risers

The main advantage that laminate flooring has over hardwood is the price.

Hardwood can run between $20 to $30, while hardwood risers are usually $20. With 10 steps, that will run around $350.

Laminate on the same flight of stairs will usually cost around $200. This is because laminate nose pieces are only $20 instead of $80. 

Furthermore, even expensive laminate will not likely cost more than $3 per square foot.

How Much Laminate Will You Need for the Project?

A typical riser measures about seven inches, while a typical tread measures around 11 inches. 

Stairs mostly begin with a 36-inch width, so the total square foot of a riser and tread comes out to be about 4.5 square feet.

For instance, a staircase with 11 risers and 10 treads will need almost 47 square feet. 

You will also need to consider the nosing for the flooring. With stairs that are 36 inches wide, you will need three nose pieces for every flight of stairs with 10 steps. 

The width of the laminate flooring will depend on the style you purchase, but the wider the pieces, the more you can expect them to cost. 

Final Thoughts

Laminate flooring is a material that has resurfaced in popularity lately as more and more people realize its versatility. 

Above, we discussed one popular way to use laminate flooring: on stairs. We also went through the steps needed to install the laminate flooring on your stairs.

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