How to Lay Laminate Flooring on Stairs

how to lay laminate flooring

While self-installing laminate flooring is relatively simple, navigating areas such as staircases can be tricky. Thankfully, when it comes to how to lay laminate flooring on stairs, there are a few tips and tricks that make the job easier. Here at Discount Flooring Depot, we’ve created a handy step-by-step guide for you to follow and ensure you’re left with a great end result. 

The Steps to Install Laminate on Stairs

Step 1: Remove Existing Flooring and Underlay

Before you start laying your laminate flooring, the first step is to ensure your staircase is prepped and ready. If you haven’t already, start by removing any existing flooring from your stairs, along with the existing underlay. Once you have a bare staircase, ensure you remove any paint and adhesive and hammer down any protruding nails. Next, give your stairs a thorough brush down to create a clean and even surface to start from.

Step 2: Remove any Overhang

You may find your stairs have an overhang from existing nosing (the protruding edge of the stair). You’ll need to remove this before you can install your laminate and your own nosing (we’ll get to that bit later). To remove the overhang, you can cut it away using a jigsaw, or nail a piece of plywood to the riser to fill in the space underneath.

Step 3: Lay Your Underlay

Underlay shouldn’t be considered an optional extra; as it can help muffle sound, improve acoustics and create a more comfortable feel underfoot, it’s particularly important for areas of high traffic such as stairs. Ensure you choose the right underlay for your laminate, before securing it to your stairway, ready to install your flooring.

Step 4: Cut Your Laminate to Size

For each step, you’ll need three pieces of  laminate: 

  • The tread piece, which sits on top of the step
  • The riser piece, which sits vertically on the front of the step
  • And the stair nosing (or trim), which hangs over the front of the step.

To measure the length you’ll need for your tread pieces, lay your laminate plank across the top of the step, ensuring it fits as snuggly as possible on either side. You may need to trim your board down to size to do this. If a single laminate plank is not thick enough to cover the entirety of your step, cut a second plank to size and glue this tongue-to-groove next to your first plank, leaving some room to accommodate the nosing.

Similarly, when it comes to the riser pieces, ensure these are level with the riser on your stairs and that they sit snugly on top of the tread piece. You may also need to cut these down to size to fit your stair length.

When it comes to your nosing, this simply needs to be the same length as your tread and riser. 

Step 5: Lay the Tread

As laminate needs time to dry before you can walk on it, start your installation at the top of the stairs and work downwards to avoid getting stuck upstairs! Using wood adhesive, glue your tread to your first step, ensuring it lies tightly against the back of the step with the tongue facing outwards.

how to lay laminate flooring

Step 6: Fit the Riser

Next, glue your riser piece of laminate to the vertical front of the step and hold this in place while it sets. If necessary, you can also nail the very top of the riser in place, as this will be covered by your nosing. 

Step 7: Add the Nosing

Once you’ve secured your riser and tread, the next step is to add your nosing, which acts as an edge trim on each step. Unless you’re using a self-adhesive nosing edge, glue it in place with the tapered end over the thread. 

Step 8: Leave for 12 Hours 

Finally, once you’ve completed your entire staircase, leave your laminate to set overnight and avoid walking on it for around 12 hours.

Now you know how to lay laminate flooring on stairs like a pro, you can ensure yours is fitted to perfection and enjoy the complete transformation of your new staircase. 

Remember, if you’re not confident in your ability to self-install, it’s always recommended to seek the help of a professional.

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