If you want to update your stairs, consider installing laminate flooring. Laminate flooring has the look of real wood, but without the cost. Laminate flooring is much easier to clean than carpeting, and it can handle heavy foot-traffic. A DIY person with basic carpentry skills can install laminate on stairs by following these tips.
Prepare to Work
For this project, you need:
- work gloves
- safety goggles
- measuring tape
- pry bar
- belt sander
- putty knife
- wood filler
- chisel (optional)
- two inch finishing nails and hammer
- circular saw or table saw
- miter saw
- laminate floor boards with bull nose for stairs
When you shop for laminate, consider the finish of the floor. If you have children, or it is a heavy traffic area, opt for a matte finish to prevent slipping. Plan to order an extra ten per cent of flooring to account for waste.
Laminate needs to acclimate, or get to room temperature to prevent warping. Set them stacked in an airy space for about forty-eight hours.
If the floor has carpeting, use pliers to pull off the carpet starting form the top of the steps. Remove tack strips with a pry bar. For stairs without carpeting, scrape adhesive, and sweep the stairs.
Even the Stairs
Inspect the stair treads for flatness, and even them with a belt sander. Use a chisel on very high spots..
Stairs commonly have an overhang, or the part that just slightly from the steps. Trim the nosing (front edge of steps) with a saw, and chisel the wood until it is even with the riser, or horizontal back of the stairs joined to the tread. Alternately, nail plywood below the overhang to pad the surface..
Install the Flooring
Spread a matching wood filler on cracks or holes with a putty knife, and let it dry. Measure and cut each stair tread and riser separately, since they aren't all even. Mark the center of each tread and riser.
Start installing the flooring on the top to avoid walking on newly installed pieces. Dry-fit each part of the stair before you secure it, and use wood glue to secure the boards on the center mark. Add glue to the edges of the nosing pieces, and press them into place, and secure it with three or four finishing nails.
In some cases you may need to cut two tread boards. If you run into angles, mark the angle on scrap wood, set the miter saw to the angle, and trim the end. To further secure the risers, drive a two-inch finishing nail into the top of the plank.
Fill in nail holes with wood filler. If you don't trust your skill, or the floors in your home are seriously damaged, contact a flooring service such as McSwain Carpets and Floors.