installing laminate on stairs: HELP


Old 11-03-08, 07:07 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 5
installing laminate on stairs: HELP

my husband and i are going to be DIY-ing laminate floors in the living space in our home as well as one bedroom. our 3 cats have RUINED our carpets upstairs clawing it and peeing on it (i HATE them!), and my husband has ruined our livingroom carpet by spilling beer and koolaid on it. we're doing laminate...

does anyone have a good (free) tutorial for installing laminate floors on stairs? there is a curve at the top landing. we bought Lock N Seal Brazillian Cherry laminate floors and the molding kits. we still need to get the stair nosings and quarter rounds.

also, the flooring we got (didn't know or didn't assume that it would need to be glued down on the stairs...i'm ignorant) has 2mm foam attached. PLEASE tell me that we can use it on the stairs? i REALLY don't want to try to return some of the flooring and then try to match the color to a laminate that does NOT have the foam underlayment attached.

please help! husband is deploying soon so we only have a limited amount of time to get this done! and don't really have the funds to hire a professional!
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Old 11-03-08, 09:46 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 91
First off... Cat Urine once absorbed into the carpet (stairs included!) and then into the subflooring will stay with you for life! UNLESS you remove the carpet and then apply a sealer onto the subfloor and stair treads that were affected. You will immediately notice the areas on the subfloor and stair treads that were urinated on, those are the areas that need only to be treated. I recommed using Parks Universal Sealer (sold at home depot). It dries extremely quickly and is effective. ****You will want to REMOVE YOUR cats and any other pets from the house the day you apply it!**** You will also want to use fume style respirators (cost about $30-$50 depending on where you buy them) and apply the sealer with a 3/8" roller and/or disposable cheap brush (not foam though!). Let it dry for 4 hours before starting your installation.

To answer your question and to ease your mind about using the product you purchased for the flooring on the stairs... Yes you can use this on the treads and risers. You will just have to use a pneumatic nailer or predrill and finish nail the pieces into place. Fill the nail holes with NON hardening color matching putty (minwax makes a good product for this).

As far as at the top of the stairs - I assume that you have a landing or hallway that runs to the stairs. Install the "Stair Nosing" after you finish the stair tread and riser installation. This stair nosing will overhang the top riser and will give you a clean professional look.

Stair tread and riser installation - I will give you the jest of it. You can google a search for installing treads and risers and apply the basics for your task, but to give you an idea...

If you have flooring that is running by your stairs on the first floor of the stair system - install the flooring FIRST! Then cut and install the first riser. **Make the left and right cuts tight to your skirt board(s). The first riser wants to be cut so that the bottom of the riser is 3/8" off the floor and 3/8" off the bottom of the first tread.** The gap at the top of the riser will be covered by your stair nosing (see below). The other gap (at bottom) will be covered by your 1/4 round molding. You can get color matching 1/4 round molding, or buy pine 1/4 round molding and stain it to match and then cover with (2) coats of Satin polyurethane.

Ok, first riser is on (nailed)... now install a piece of stair nosing. The left and right sides of the stair nosing is to be tight to the skirt board and pushed tight up against the first riser top. Now cut and install the first tread that will lock into the stair nosing you just installed (Tung to Groove). You want the left and right sides of the tread to be tight to the skirt boards. The area where the tread meats the riser, (not yet installed, but rather you will be butting up against the raw stair system material), you want leave a 1/4" gap. Install the second riser keeping the bottom tight to the first stair tread and left and right sides of the Skirt Boards. You will not need any 1/4 round for this area, if you make a tight cut. Remember that the top of the riser is to be 3/8" short of the bottom of the next tread (Covered by the next piece of stair nosing installed).

Repeat this process up to the top of the stairs. Not a huge process once you get going, and you will be surprised how fast it goes! Just make sure that when you are nailing the treads and risers into place, that you nail it sufficiently (three nails on inside and outside edges (1" from edges) then three nails centered on the riser and treads and nosings.

Carefull cuts and carefull nailing!! Measure twice/three times and cut ONCE!

Good luck and hope this helps!

Retired Floor Guy!
Old 11-08-08, 06:00 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 5
MORE help! lol

apparently the people who built our house 7 or so years ago are STUPID! for some reason, there are a couple of rafters that are bigger than the rest of there are at least 2 places in the front bedroom upstairs that are raised about 1/4 of an inch. how can we level the floor without having to tear up all of the subfloor and put shims under the normal rafters? my husband got some kind of leveler for wood subfloors, but it's not the thin concrete type of leveling compound i've seen used before. it's more like thick pastey concrete.
Old 11-08-08, 05:15 PM
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What I find interesting is that you are getting rid of carpet which is easily cleaned and doesn't mind wet to much, to laminate, which dislikes water to the extreme, it's not recommended for kitchens or bathrooms for just that reason.

You can pull the old carpet, clean the subfloor as suggested, and then SEAL it with a top quality sealer so that future, uh, leaks don't soak in (and they will, whether you use laminate or carpet, the carpet just won't have to be replaced because of it).

I'll also go the step further, and suggest NOT installing laminate on stairs. Laminate is very slick, not a good surface to have on stairs.

Teach the cats to use a little box, most will prefer one if offered.

Last edited by Carpets Done Wright; 11-09-08 at 04:21 PM.
Old 11-09-08, 11:23 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 5

Just because i don't know how to INSTALL laminate or wood flooring, that doesn't mean i'm ignorant to everything about it. i know it doesn't do well in wet or humid conditions. that said, it will be MUCH easier for my husband to replace a damaged plank of laminate than for us to replace PART of the carpet if/when it's ruined(especially since we'll have about 50 sq. ft. left over once we're done)...whether it's damaged by cats or by children spilling things on it. carpet does well with wetness? really? maybe the carpet in your house does well when things are spilled on it, but whatever CRAP carpet the builders put in our house does NOT hold up to spills at ALL. so, what is best in your house is not best in mine. so, Pendragon, if you're going to offer "advice" like "teach the cats to use a little box, most will prefer one if offered", offer that advice to someone else. don't waste my time with it any more.

Last edited by Carpets Done Wright; 11-09-08 at 04:17 PM. Reason: No need to go postal
Old 11-09-08, 01:17 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: USA
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Laminate is not easy to repair one plank at a time, as each plank is join the two planks on either side.

Carpet is available in sectional pieces for specifically the reasons you seek, though it is more expensive than laminate or standard carpets.

You came here for advice on installing laminate on stairs. You will find that the answer you get here isn't always the one you seek when what you want to do might not be the best way to do it.

Try asking over in Electrical on how to backfeed your generator to your electrical panel, see what kind of 'advice' you get on how to do that.

Last edited by Carpets Done Wright; 11-09-08 at 04:19 PM. Reason: Conduct unbecoming of a professional
Old 11-13-08, 04:32 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: virginia
Posts: 11
laaminate on stairs??? have better idea

I understand your delima, BUT, 1-Laminate is very hard to get to work out right on the steps 2-the nosing they make for those floors is only about a third the size and looks cheap after installed. 3-figure the costs, each step takes typically 2 -3 sq ft, the nose is generally 30 -45 dollars each step then you must glue it all in for saftey reasons (your type just pull off the backing)
Now for your remedy..........actual stair treads are the only answer, oak are 26 dollars at the box stores or find a hdwd floor supply and order the cherry ones for about 50 - 60 dollars and urethane yourself, u will find that a good dark stain job on oak or maple treads will imitate the brazilian cherry very well, and on the pie shape step order an original stair nose (raw form) and 1 box of real flooring and you will have a $2500+ staircase that is lasting forever and resale value gets your investment back + more

By the way, to install the treads you just pop off the old and cut to fit the new, nail at the 3 riser locations under each step and walaa beautiful job

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