Laminate flooring has multiple things to like about like durability, affordable and beauty. But what about laminate stairs? Is laminate can be installed properly on stairs?
Is laminate still durable after installing on stairs?
You may have these types of questions in your mind right now. Because installing a flooring material on a flat surface and installing a flooring material on stairs totally a different thing.
So, to answer your all queries I am going to discuss all the important factors that you should know about laminate before installing it on your stairs.
Laminate Stairs ideas
Grey Laminate Stairs
Grey laminate is getting popular day by day. Not only for flooring but also for home stairs. Most importantly grey laminate stairs allow you to use any other color for decorating. Because they give a neutral backdrop.
Moreover, grey laminate is more durable in its color and shine.
Laminate Stairs with White Risers
Laminate stairs with white risers are trendy nowadays. Stairs risers always look more attractive when painted white. So, this is a great way to expand the beauty of your stairs and home. No need to use underlayment because it won’t be used as a main floating flooring.
Most importantly, white risers are difficult to maintain and clean. Especially, in a home with high foot traffic, they will get deep scuff marks.
So, you need to clean them on a regular basis. If you don’t, it won’t last for a long time duration. That means they will lose their original appearance and get fade.
And you need to replace them soon.
Traditional Laminate Stairs
As we know laminate is similar to hardwood in appearance. So, it can be used on traditional stairs designs. Usually, traditional stairs designs have more than 15 stair steps. So, installing a solid hardwood on such a large stair design could be more expensive.
But installing laminate on a traditional stair design can save a lot of money. So, it can be a great option if you want a hardwood appearance on your stairs on a low budget.
Types of Laminate
Engineered wood Laminate
Layers of real hardwood glued together are known as engineered wood laminate material. They are connected to each other tightly. The upper layer is a high-quality thin layer of true hardwood over a substrate of high-quality plywood.
So, you can say that engineered hardwood laminate is consists of several layers and fully man-made.
But the good thing is, it looks like a real hardwood surface in appearance. And the cost is low as compared to real solid hardwood material.
If we talk about its installation, especially on stairs. Most types of engineered wood laminate materials can be nail down or glued. So, it can be your first DIY project because it consists of simple installation steps.
Further, it offers a better resale value than any other type of wood laminate.
Laminate planks are a great example of engineered wood laminate because they are made from pressed wood.
A woodgrain print on a resin-saturated fiberboard that is protected by a layer of solid plastic is called a plastic laminate. Different layers of kraft paper were soaked and pressed together at a high level of temperature.
This is how plastic laminate is manufactured.
On the top layer, you will find a wood texture paper or melamine that enhances its strength and durability.
Plastic laminate is less expensive than engineered wood laminate. So, it can provide an attractive look to your stairs as well on a low budget.
Gloss finish laminate and metallic laminate are clear examples of plastic laminate. You can choose from different textures and colors even other than wood.
How to Install laminate on Stairs
- Miter Saw blade
- Floor adhesive
- Screwdriver for nosing
- Table Saw
- Nails- 6d
- Rubber mallet hammer
- Measuring tape
- Laminate flooring cutter (Optional)
Step 1. Ready the Subfloor
A level subfloor is a key factor that leads to a successful laminate installation on stair steps. So, before the start, the installation process makes sure the surface of the steps should be stable and level.
If you want to install laminate over tile or vinyl, it won’t be a good idea because they both are not stable after being used for years.
So, removing them would be an ideal approach, and then install the laminate.
Step 2. Measure the length of steps and risers
Measuring the exact tread and riser length is a crucial step. So, you have to do it accurately.
To get a riser width simply measure from bottom to top of a step. Always start from the top and work towards down. To measure the tread you only need to subtract the thickness of the riser from the tread width.
Make sure your measurement is accurate because the cutting of material depends on your measurements.
If you made a mistake in the measure it will affect the whole installation process.
Step 3. Cut the treads
It’s time to cut the laminate with the accurate length and width of treads and risers. In cutting you have two options; Measure all the treads and risers and cut ahead of time or measure each tread and riser and cut the material.
You can use a table saw to cut the laminate planks easily. Cut them to both width and length.
You may need a laminate cutter for this, if you don’t own you can rent.
Cutting the risers similar to tread cutting. But with the accurate length.
Step 4. Nail the Treads
To nail each tread or riser you can use an electric nailer or stapler, this is the fastest application method. Make sure the treads or risers do not split.
So, you should pre-drill all the nail holes.
Using 6d or 8d nails would be a more professional appearance.
Step 5. Apply the adhesive
Start gluing from the first riser from the top. A high-quality construction adhesive is required for this. To improve the adhesion between the subfloor surface and laminate material, you should score the treads and risers with a utility knife.
Use a caulking gun to apply the adhesive and avoid applying it with fingers or a piece of wood etc.
Step 6. Fix the tread edge pieces
To cover the exposed edges of treads, you have to measure them. Then cut laminate pieces and apply the construction adhesive on the back of each. Fix them o the exposed edges.
For better bonding press them for a few minutes and let them connect to each other.
Step 7. Install the Laminate
It’s time to move on to the main step, install the measured laminate sheets or planks on the stair treads. Apply the construction adhesive on the back of laminate planks or sheets and install them on the treads.
As I mentioned multiple times, always start from an end (Top or bottom). Avoid installing from the middle of the stairs.
You have to ensure each laminate plank has a few nails or screws on both edges. Give the laminate planks a few minutes to make a bond with the subfloor surface after installing them. Because the construction adhesive must take some time to make a strong bond.
Step 8. Cover the risers
If you are not going to paint the risers, you have to cover them with laminate. So for this, you should measure the length and width of the risers. Cut the laminate according to the measured length and width.
Apply the construction adhesive on the back on material and install them on the exposed risers. Make sure they match with the steps.
Step 9. Fill the holes
The last but not the least step is refilling the holes and cover the nails or screws. You can use a wood refiller to match the laminate color. Let it dry for a few minutes after applying.
Sometimes people don’t count this step and leave the holes and nails exposed. But it provides a rough look so to provide a neat and clean look you should cover these.
Is Laminate is good for stairs?
If you want to install real hardwood material on your stairs (wooden staircase) but don’t have a high budget. Laminate is one of the most popular materials that look similar to real hardwood in appearance. This is a great option to enhance the beauty of your staircase.
But like real hardwood flooring material, laminate flooring material also has some pros and cons at the same time.
Laminate Stairs: Pros
Laminate flooring is known as one of the most durable flooring materials. But is laminate is still durable when it installed on stairs? Because stairs having a different surface than a floor.
The answer is yes, the laminate stairs are more durable.
Laminate stairs are water-proof, stain-resistant, and environmentally friendly. Moreover, they can handle heavy foot traffic without getting damage.
So, they can be used for home and commercial building stairs.
Appearance: Similar to hardwood
It is not the debate is laminate stairs are better than hardwood? Obviously, hardwood has a clear edge on laminate. But laminate stairs look the same as the wooden stairs.
This makes the laminate is a great option for those who can’t afford the wooden stairs but still want to enjoy the real hardwood appearance.
The lifespan of a staircase depends on the quality of the material. The material quality decides how long can last a staircase. Laminate can last for up to 20 years as flooring. But on stairs, it can last less than a floor.
Because the floor is a more stable and flat surface than stairs. But still, laminate stairs can last up to 15 years with proper care that is a decent and enough life-span.
Installation is your concern if you want to install a staircase by yourself. It is a great idea because it can save the labor cost that reduces your final cost on a staircase.
So, the laminate is easy to install on stairs and you can do this as your first DIY project. Moreover, I have mentioned above the complete installation process for laminate stairs.
This is the simplest thing you can do on a weekend.
Laminate stairs are an ideal approach for those homeowners who are on a low budget. Especially for those who want to replace an existing staircase material.
Laminate Stairs: Cons
Can’t be Refinished
By the cost, it may look like a smarter decision to install laminate on stairs. And definitely, it is as compared to real hardwood.
But the biggest issue with the laminate stairs is they can’t be refinished at all. Whenever they wear out, you won’t have any other option than to replace them.
So, laminate stairs are not a good option for those who don’t want to replace their staircase after many years. But as I told you above laminate stairs are more durable. So, you don’t need to replace them soon, at least for 15 years.
Can be Slippery
The slippery surface is one of the most common issues that almost every flooring has such as hardwood, vinyl, ceramic tiles, and laminate.
Laminate stairs are waterproof and water-resistant but still, there are chances of slips and falls incidents if you don’t eliminate the water and moisture from the surface of the stairs immediately.
However, after a few hours, the water will dry by itself but any foot movement on the stairs will be at risk.
Laminate vs Wooden Stairs
Laminate stairs look great and enhance the beauty of a building. If you don’t look too closely, you can’t identify is it a real wooden staircase or a laminate staircase.
But in every condition real hardwood stairs are better than laminate stairs. Because real hardwood is more durable, water-resistant, long-lasting, and looks more attractive than laminate.
The only thing that gives laminate stairs an edge over real wood is the price. The cost difference between laminate and hardwood is big.
So, technically real hardwood is the winner in this comparison and I will recommend you laminate over real hardwood only in the case if you are on a low budget.
Laminate vs Vinyl Stairs
Like laminate, vinyl also can be used on stairs and is similar to the real wood in appearance. In vinyl vs laminate flooring war, the vinyl flooring has an edge but on stairs, it is a different story.
If your concern is only the appearance then both have similar look as the real wood. But in features, they are a little bit different from each other.
When it comes to the cost, laminate is cheap than vinyl.
Laminate Stairs: Cost
Laminate planks are the most expensive of all laminate types because of their luxurious look and high quality. So, the average cost to install laminate planks on stairs will be around $75 to $115 per stair.
This would be the highest cost estimation for laminate stairs with maximum material quality.
However, average-priced laminate planks with upper medium quality will cost from $60 to $90 per stair.
The above estimate includes both material buying cost and installation cost.
The $8 to $14 is the material buying cost while $50 to $100 is the installation cost. The installation cost may vary with the condition of your stairs. For example, for the brand new stairs, the cost will be different than the old stairs having another flooring material.
Because usually, it is important to remove the old one first.
The cost can be reduced with the quality of the material. Moreover, if you do it by yourself, the installation cost will be eliminated.
Note: Accurate measurements are important that lead to a proper and fit laminate stairs look.
I hope this ultimate guide will help you a lot. Thank you for giving your valuable time to go through this article.
For further questions, you can ask in the comments section. You can also give your suggestions about this topic that can help other readers.
Best of luck with your first DIY project!
Is laminate on stairs is a good option?
Of course, especially when you are on a low budget but want to enjoy a luxurious wooden staircase appearance. The laminate stairs are a great choice with multiple textures, colors, and qualities.
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