Laminate floor step edge

Laminate floor step edge DEFAULT

News: Do you want to install laminate flooring on your stairs?

If you want to install laminate flooring on your stairs I would recommend that you do a lot of research and find the information you will need to do it correctly. Installing laminate flooring on stairs can be tedious and time consuming and is a lot different than installing laminate flooring on a floor.

Step 1 Remove Carpet and Tackstrip

Do you want to install laminate flooring on your stairs?

Most often you will have carpet on your stairs, and you need to remove it first. It can have tack strip and a lot of staples. Be careful pulling the carpet off because the staples are very sharp. Its best to where gloves. Use a hammer and pry bar to remove the tackstrip.

Step 2 Remove the Over Hang, if Needed

Do you want to install laminate flooring on your stairs?

If you have an over hang you can either remove it or fill in the space under it so the laminate flooring can be installed. When purchasing your laminate flooring you will need to purchase stair nose moldings also to have an over hang with the laminate. There are a few different ways to cut the over hang off the stair.  Using saws such as a sawzall, Skil saw or even a jig saw can work.

Step 3 Cutting Laminate Stair Treads

Do you want to install laminate flooring on your stairs?

In most cases one laminate plank will not cover the whole tread. It is better to cut two planks the same size to fit the tread rather than using a whole plank and a small strip. The other thing to consider is, the sides of the stair case may be at a slight angle. If this is the case the tread will need to be cut at this angle so you don't have unsightly gaps. When cutting the laminate treads getting the exact measurement across the width of the stair is important.

Step 4 Cutting The Stair Risers

Do you want to install laminate flooring on your stairs?

Cutting the risers are like cutting the treads, the difference is the riser is vertical. In the case a white painted riser is being installed. You can also use the same flooring for the riser as you use for the tread.  The riser may not be square to the wall on the sides so you may need to cut them at a slight angle to fit  even with the sides. You can use a simple angle finder and transfer the angle to the riser.  After cutting the riser to fit side to side, you will need to scribe the top of the riser so it is flush with the surface the new tread will be installed on.

Step 5 Cutting the Stair Nose

Do you want to install laminate flooring on your stairs?

Cutting the stair nose is just a matter of cutting it to fit snug on each end, and cut the ends to follow the angle of the wall if needed.  As shown in the photo you can see how the stair nose needs to rest on the riser which should be cut flush with the surface.

Step 6 Attaching all the Stair Parts

Do you want to install laminate flooring on your stairs?

I use wood glue on the treads with a notched trowel. Don't glue all the way to the front edge as this is where the stair nose will be attached with a different type of glue.

Do you want to install laminate flooring on your stairs?

I use a heavy duty construction adhesive to glue the stair nose with. I also nail into the stair nose three or four nails across, not too close to the edges. Use a matching putty to fill in the nail holes.

Do you want to install laminate flooring on your stairs?

Here is the end result a nice looking stair.


  • As you cut each part of a stair, mark the part and the stair it will be attached to.
  • Use a nail gun and nail where ever possible so the nails are hid.
  • It is better to nail and glue the stair nose to insure it is secure.
  • Taking your time is going to give you better results.
  • Always use proper protection when operating power tools.

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How to Install Laminate Flooring on Stairs with Stair Nose

Laminate staircase

Laminate floors are a popular flooring option for many homeowners for several reasons – they’re cheap, durable, and easy to install. They’re also made to fit the conditions of almost any room or part of the house, including the stairs. However, placing them on the stairs requires special installation instructions.

So what’s the right way to install laminate flooring on the stairs with a stair nose? Every home renovation project should start with a clear pre-installation plan. The laminate planks are glued together and cut at the right size. The right order of installing the material on the stairs is riser first, tread next, and nosing last.

Laminate Flooring Installation on Stairs: A Detailed Guide

The flooring covering market in the country is composed of various choices like carpet, tile, and wood, but around $ million of its total value went to laminate flooring sales in The biggest reason for this is that many American homeowners are looking for cheap yet durable flooring options to install in their house.

This flooring option usually comes as tiles or planks. They have edges that snap together, which makes them ideal for DIY home projects. The choice of laminate flooring type usually depends on the homeowner’s preference, but a laminate flooring plank is the best option for a stair landing.

Laminate flooring stair projects are more complicated than the usual wood flooring installation. Since the stair is a high-traffic area, the laminate needs extra adhesion to resist movements. Unlike regular laminate flooring that needs an underlayment, the material is directly glued to the subfloor for better adhesion. Here’s a detailed guide to help you place the flooring material the right way:

1. Plan the Project

The stair is one of the areas in a home with the most foot traffic, which is why it’s important to choose the right material for this place first. Carpeted floors might seem nice because they’re soft beneath the feet and great at minimizing noise compared to other choices. However, carpet requires extra care and maintenance especially if installed in a high-traffic place.

Other options also include vinyl plank flooring and hardwood flooring. A hardwood stair is durable, but they’re high-maintenance and expensive. Vinyl flooring is a cheap option that’s perfect for those who don’t want a wood stair, but it’s not as durable as the other stair flooring options.

A laminate floor is the best option because it provides the look and feel of a wood floor without the need for a huge budget or extensive maintenance routines. One of the biggest problems with laminate stairs is that they’re high gloss and slippery, so make sure to ask the flooring manufacturer for a textured matte finish to minimize the risk of slipping on the laminate tread.

a) Find out the amount of materials needed

Before shopping around for materials, it’s important to know about the right measurements of different stair parts first. A standard stair tread piece measures 11” long while a stair riser piece is 7”. Stairs are usually 36” wide. A staircase that has 10 treads and 11 risers needs around 47 sq. ft. of the flooring material, which means owners must prepare boxes of laminate just for the steps.

The nosing for the stairs is a different issue because you need to find one that goes with the laminate stair. The noses are an important part because they provide continuity for the treads and risers on the edge of the stairs. Some laminate flooring manufacturers provide nosing accessories, but their laminate planks are not enough for the usual standard staircase measurements. Owners still have cut their own laminate planks for the treads and risers.

b) Let the laminate acclimate

Like the hardwood floor, a laminate plank also needs to acclimate first before the installation. Remove the planks from their packaging and put them in an open space with good air circulation for about 48 hours so that they may properly adjust to the humidity and temperature of the house. This important process prevents them from warping, contracting, and expanding later.

2. Prepare the Subfloor

Successful laminate installation depends on having a properly leveled subfloor. Placing the laminate over tile, vinyl, or carpeted stairs isn’t a good idea because carpet and tiles don’t have even surfaces. Directly gluing the material to the vinyl isn’t a viable option either because it’s extremely slippery. All these materials should be removed first before the installation.

Since the laminate installation involves gluing and nailing the material to the subfloor, the surface should provide optimal adhesion. Rough surfaces like lumber and plywood are the best choices for laminate staircases because they ensure that the material sticks properly.

3. Prepare the Laminate Floors

Installation of laminate staircase

After taking the right measurements and preparing the staircase, the next step is to prepare the laminate planks before the installation. Here’s a detailed guide to help prepare the laminate floors properly:

a) Glue two planks together

Get two laminate planks and glue them together so that it matches the width of the tread. Use a special wood glue that has a low moisture content, so that it won’t seep into the flooring material. Make sure to apply the glue to the laminate’s tongue because it  minimizes the amount of excess glue that needs to be wiped later. 

b) Measure the tread and riser

While waiting for the glue on the laminate to dry, it’s time to measure the length of each step’s riser and tread. The process for the riser is simple – just measure from the bottom of the step to its top.

The tread flushes up against the riser so remember to subtract the riser’s thickness from the tread’s width. For example, a tread’s measurement is 11 1/8” if its initial measurement is 11 ½” and the laminate’s thickness is 3/8”.

Another important thing to remember about treads is that they don’t reach the edge of the stair because a stair nosing is placed against their edge. The nose size depends on the manufacturer, but its dimensions should also be removed from the tread’s final measurement.

If a staircase also has a stair spindle, make sure to get its measurements and subtract the surface area it occupies from the laminate stair tread.

c) Cut the tread and riser

After gluing the planks together and finalizing the measurements, it’s time to cut the planks. Most staircases have uniform length and width down to the last step so it’s safe to make the cuts before installation. However, if the sizes vary per step, you need to measure each tread to get the right cut.

Use a table saw to cut the planks. Cut them according to the width first before cutting them to the right length. Fine-toothed blades are recommended for finishing cuts because they leave smooth finishes without tear-outs.

Cut the risers after the treads and make sure to remove the plank’s tongue. The edge should be flat enough so that the nose fits snugly. The bottom part of the riser should only be grooves because putting the tongue there might lead to problems later on. Lastly, cut the nose pieces to the same length as the treads and risers.

4. Install the Treads and Risers with Nails and Adhesives

Laminate boxed stairs

When installing the treads and risers, it’s important to start at the top of the staircase and work your way down. Glue the risers first using construction adhesive. They also need to be nailed or screwed down. A finishing nailer only leaves small indents on the planks, so it’s the best choice for this task. Owners may also use 2” finishing nails around the edges, but the planks should have nail holes first so it’s easy to drive them down.

Screws hold down the planks better than nails, but they need more wood filler. Whether you choose nails or screws, make sure that there are enough of them on either side of the plank. After working on the riser, install the tread next.

5. Install the Stair Nosing

A stair nosing strip made of plastic or aluminum protects the edge of the stairs if they’re not covered by a rounded edge, bullnose, or flush stair nose yet. A laminate or hardwood stair nose is important because it protects the steps from possible damage and acts as an anti-slip surface.

A stair nose molding may come in different types and shapes. It might fit into the tread and over the riser’s top, but it may also fit over the tread with a metal bracket that needs to be screwed into the subfloor.

Regardless of its installation method, the laminate stair nose is the most vulnerable to damages, so make sure to glue and nail it properly onto the floor. Some stair noses also come with special instructions so make sure to read them well before installation.

6. Finishing Touches and Cleanup

Once everything has been installed, make sure that all the nail or screw holes are filled up with putty. Clean the stairs immediately before the putty dries because this material is difficult to remove once it has set. Sweep the dust from the staircase and leave it overnight to let the new flooring settle.

High-Quality Laminate Floors and More at Zothex Flooring

Since the staircase is one of the most high-traffic areas in the house, it’s important to install high-quality laminate flooring that’s durable enough to resist movements. Here at Zothex Flooring, we offer a wide selection of laminate flooring options to match your preferences.

Our team of expert flooring artists at Zothex Flooring is constantly working to improve their craft since We want our clients to get the best flooring products for their homes, which is why we also provide flooring tips and advice to help them make informed purchasing decisions. Get in touch with us today by calling () –

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Stair nosing is used to finish staircases that have been fitted with engineered wood flooring or laminate flooring. Not only do they provide an aesthetic finish to the edge of each step where it drops to the next but they also improve safety by extending the width of the step slightly.

All in All Flooring Accessories offers an extensive range of Stair Nosing to lend an aesthetic finish to your space. Our selection is extremely wide and versatile to match your flooring and complement your home decor. It is also great to improve safety by extending the width of each step slightly.

Wooden Stair Nosing

Wooden Stair Nosing goes amazingly well with staircases that have been fitted with engineered wood flooring or laminate flooring. Ranging from aged Oak effect, black effect, Belgravia Oak stair nosing to rustic one, we offer a wide array of effects are available to choose from. It gives an attractive finish to your stairs by covering the exposed edges of the floor and also provides an overlapped finish which helps in minimizing the tripping hazards. With a solution for all types of engineered or solid wood laminate, there’s always an attractive and neat way of finishing staircases. Our nosing collection ensures that your floor and nosing create a seamless transition when you move up and down the stairs.

Stair nosing is a great way to complete the look of your stairs as well as making them safer. Our nosing also helps in protecting the stair edge from damaging or breaking which means your staircase will have a longer life span. Our products are available in a wide range of finishes and materials to offer the perfect solution for all domestic applications. These are designed to protect each step and hide the joint between tread and riser.

At All-in-All we offer an array of attractive solutions to create beautiful spaces. Explore our selection and shop online now.


Flush Stairnose for 12mm Laminate- Product and Installation Information

  • Stairnose must be installed FIRST.
  • Then install laminate flooring to the Stairnose.
SPECIAL NOTE ON AUDACITY LAMINATE: When installing Audacity laminate on stairs, the floor's backing must be removed. 
  1. Attach moulding pieces with nails (6d finish nails) or construction adhesive. When using construction adhesive, weight down the transition strip evenly to ensure proper contact with the subfloor.
  2. When installing over a radiant heated floor, always use construction adhesive to attach transition pieces.
  3. Always predrill any of these pieces with the appropriate size drill bit to avoid cracking or splitting the strip. Make sure to keep a 1/4" ( mm) expansion zone under the transition piece.

IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTICE: The installation of laminate flooring on stairs is a fully adhered system. Under no circumstances should foam underlayment be placed on stair steps or risers. This will result in an unsafe condition. Do not use over-the-top step nose molding on individual stair treads.

Tool List

  • Table Saw or Miter Saw
  • 10" ( cm) or Tooth Carbide-tipped ATB or Triple Chip Saw Blade
  • Power Drill
  • Hammer
  • 6d Finish Nails
  • Construction Adhesive
  • 5-Minute Epoxy

Optional Tools
  • Router
  • Router Table
  • 12mm Splines
  • Wood Glue (Polyvinyl acetate cross-linking emulsion wood glue)
Preparation of Stair Treads
Treads and risers should be structurally sound, flat, dry, clean, smooth, and free from paint, varnish, wax, oils, solvents, and other foreign matter. Cut off any existing bullnose flush with the riser of the stair (providing the dimension change does not violate local building codes) (Fig. 31).
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Installation of Stair Treads
  1. Beginning at the bottom riser, measure and cut a piece of laminate plank to fit flush with the existing stair tread. If the laminate has an attached foam or fabric, it must be removed. (See special instructions above for Audacity Laminate)
  2. Glue in place by applying a 3" ( cm) serpentine bead of construction adhesive to the back of the flooring (Fig. 32). Refer to construction adhesive label for all recommendations, warnings and safety precautions.
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  3. Press in place.
  4. Measure and cut stair nose to length.
  5. Dry fit the stair nose to the edge of the first tread with the molding nose overlapping the laminate piece on the riser below. Measure the distance from the edge of the stair nose to the next riser (Fig. 33).
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  6. Measure and cut to width and length another piece of laminate plank for the stair tread. Using a utility knife or table saw, remove the tongue. If the laminate has an attached fabric, it must also be removed.
  7. Apply a bead of construction adhesive in a 3" ( cm) serpentine pattern to the back of the cut piece of stair nose and affix to the stair. (On wood subfloors, drill appropriate size holes into the installed stair nose and anchor with 6d finish nails (Fig. 34). Set nails using a nail punch. Fill holes with a repair stick).
    User-added image
  8. To avoid shifting over concrete, allow enough time for the construction adhesive to set prior to continuing the installation. This time will vary depending upon the adhesive being used.
  9. Apply construction adhesive to the tread of the existing stair and spread evenly using a 1/16" x 1/16" x 1/16" ( mm x mm x mm) square-notch trowel.
  10. Apply a bead of adhesive (preferably a 5-minute epoxy) to the lip of the stair nose. Following the manufacturer's recommendations, immediately remove any excess adhesive from the laminate surface.
  11. Place the tongue side of the flooring against the stair nose, being sure that the laminate plank surface is flush with the stair nose surface.
  12. Push pieces together until joint is tight and flush, then remove excess adhesive.
  13. Repeat steps 1–12 until installation is complete.
  14. Allow 24 hours of curing time before exposing stairs to traffic.

Installation on step downs or landings using an underlayment

  1. Measure and cut stair nose to length.
  2. Apply a bead of construction adhesive in a 3" ( cm) serpentine pattern to the back of the cut piece of stair nose and affix to the stair. Refer to construction adhesive label for all recommendations, warnings and safety precautions. (On wood subfloors, drill appropriate size holes into the installed stair nose and anchor with 6d finish nails. Set nails using a nail punch. Fill holes with a repair stick.)
  3. To avoid shifting over concrete, allow enough time for the construction adhesive to set prior to continuing the installation. This time will vary depending upon the adhesive being used.
  4. Install the underlayment leaving a gap between the stair nose and the underlayment one- half the width of the laminate plank.
  5. Using a utility knife or table saw, remove the tongue from the laminate plank to be installed to the stair nose.
  6. Apply a bead of construction adhesive in a 3" ( cm) serpentine pattern on the substrate between the stair nose and the underlayment.
  7. Apply a bead of adhesive (preferably a 5-minute epoxy) to the lip on the stair nose. Following the manufacturer’s recommendations, immediately remove any excess adhesive from the laminate surface.
  8. Place the tongue side of the flooring against the stair nose being sure that the laminate surface is flush with the stair nose surface.
  9. From this point, continue the installation of the laminate flooring using the installation instructions provided with the laminate flooring.

Instructions for Installing Laminate Perpendicular to the Stair Nose
  1. Measure and cut stair nose to length.
  2. Using a utility knife or table saw, remove the bottom lip of the stair nose.
  3. Following the instructions listed below, set the router bit and manufacture a groove on the stair nose. Use a 12 mm router bit and 12 mm splines.
  4. Apply a bead of construction adhesive in a 3" ( cm) serpentine pattern to the back of the cut piece of stair nose and affix to the stair. Refer to construction adhesive label for all recommendations, warnings and safety precautions. (On wood subfloors, drill appropriate size holes into the installed stair nose and anchor with 6d finish nails. Set nails using a nail punch. Fill holes with a repair stick.)
  5. To avoid shifting over concrete, allow enough time for the construction adhesive to set prior to continuing the installation. This time will vary depending upon the adhesive being used.
  6. Using a utility knife or table saw, remove the tongue or groove from the laminate plank to be installed to the stair nose.
  7. Following the instructions listed below, set the router bit and manufacture a groove on the laminate plank.
  8. Apply a bead of wood glue to both sides of one edge of the spline and insert it into the groove of the stair nose.
  9. Apply another bead of glue to the top of the exposed portion of the spline.
  10. Apply a bead of glue to the bottom lip of the groove of the piece of flooring to be installed.
  11. Place the piece of flooring into position and gently tap the pieces together using the tapping block.
  12. A small, continuous bead of glue must ooze to the surface to ensure a
    water-resistant joint.
  13. Remove the excess glue with a damp cloth followed by wiping with a clean, dry, cotton cloth.

Setting the Router Bit
  1. Set the depth of the router bit by placing two pieces of flooring on a flat, sturdy surface with the factory grooves facing each other.
  2. After the bit has been installed into the router, place the router on the surface of the flooring and adjust the bit height visually to match the groove position.
  3. To check the accuracy of your router bit setting, rout a groove on the tongue edge of a piece of scrap.
  4. If there is a slight scrap of the tongue left above or below the groove, adjust the bit depth accordingly and recheck your adjustment.
NOTE: If desired, the stair nose and laminate may be grooved and splined together regardless of the direction of the laminate installation. Use a 12 mm router bit and 12 mm splines for 12 mm products. When using splines the tongue or groove edge of the laminate flooring and the bottom lip of the stair nose must be removed.

Expansion Zone
All expansion zones between the edge of the laminate flooring installation and all vertical surfaces parallel to the stair nose should be increased according to the chart below:

If distance between nosing
and vertical surface is: Expansion zone should be:
5'–9' 1/4"
10'–14' 3/8"
15'–19' 1/2"
20'–24' 3/4"
25'–29' 7/8"
30' + 1"


Edge step laminate floor

There are so many things to like about laminate flooring. It’s cheap, durable, and it looks good if installed properly. What some people don’t know is that you can put laminate flooring on stairs, too. Below, we’ll go over how to install laminate flooring on stairs so that you can match your stairs to the rest of your floor.

To install laminate flooring on steps, you’ll need to glue a couple of pieces of your flooring together. Once dry, you can cut that piece to fit your tread and the riser. Leave your tread slightly short, so you can fit your stair nosing piece onto the front. Install the tread first, then the nosing, and the riser after. Glue it all to the subfloor with construction adhesive.

In this article, we will go over exactly how to measure, cut, and install laminate flooring on stairs to look as good on your stairs as it does in the rest of your house.

How to Install Laminate Flooring on Stairs

Contents (Jump to Topic)

What is Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring is made to look like wood, but that is about where the similarities end. Laminate is a form of melamine mixed with formaldehyde. Using various chemical processes, laminate is created to form an extremely durable solid that can act as flooring but is also used in countertops, whiteboards, cabinets, and many other places.

Laminate flooring is more than just the core ingredient. What you see is a high-resolution photo of the real wood grain. That photo is covered with a clear aluminum oxide finish that protects the “look” of the laminate.

There are concerns that the formaldehyde in the laminate could cause long term health effects. No definitive studies have proven this to be the case; although you are cutting laminate, you should wear a face mask and goggles if your cutting tool is spitting lots of dust.

It should be noted that laminate flooring is not plastic. The processes to create plastic versus laminate are completely different. On the other hand, understand that when you buy laminate flooring, you are buying a product that is essentially a stew of chemicals hardened into a plank that you can walk on.

Can You Put Laminate on Stairs?

You can put laminate on stairs, and most laminate manufacturers provide nosing pieces that fit onto the front of the tread. Sold separately, they fit with the regular laminate planks and go on the edge of the stair tread to provide a clean look and continuity between the tread and riser.

Installing laminate on your stairs is not quite as simple as installing it on your floors. First, stairs are one of the highest impact areas of your home. That means the laminate on your stairs needs extra adhesion &#; you’ll need to glue it to your subfloor.

Second, while laminate manufacturers do provide a special stair nosing accessory, they don’t make special pieces to fit the standard tread or riser lengths of stairs. That means you’ll have to make lengthwise cuts of your laminate planks to fit the risers and treads.


  • Low-cost solution
  • Relatively easy installation
  • Highly durable


  • Difficult to repair
  • Laminate is prone to movement


Laminate costs anywhere from $ to $3 per square foot. Naturally, there are high-end and low-end products that you can pay more or less for, but nearly all laminate will fall into that price range. Remember, laminate on stairs does not use underlayment, so you can strike that cost from your budget for this project.

A laminate stair nose piece may be your greatest cost during your stair install. One can typically cost anywhere from $30 to $50 or more. They are around 80” long, so depending on how many steps you have, you may be able to get away with only buying a couple.


Nearly all laminate flooring comes in 48” lengths. Unlike hardwood flooring that comes in a wide variety of lengths, laminate is one uniform length.

Width of laminate depends on the type you buy and what style you are looking for, but the wider the planks, the more expensive &#; usually. Laminate can be as thin as 3” and be as thick as 7” or greater.

Thickness is also an option for buyers. Thicknesses range from 7mm to 12mm and this should be on your radar when purchasing laminate for stairs. You’ll want the thickest possible product for your stairs. Thick laminate floors won’t bow or give as much as thinner laminates.

You’ll see products that have ratings featured prominently on the box that looks like “AC-1”. This is a durability rating applied to all laminate products. Laminate flooring is rated from 1 to 5 based on durability, with 5 being the most durable. This is another aspect to consider when purchasing laminate for stairs. AC-4 is a good rating for a laminate product in a stair application. AC-5 may be more difficult to find, as these products are typically only used in commercial applications.

Laminate Vs. Hardwood Treads and Risers

The primary advantage of laminate over hardwood treads and risers is cost. Let’s break down the cost between a hardwood tread and riser vs. using laminate for the same purpose.

Hardwood treads can cost anywhere from $20 to $30 or more. A hardwood riser is typically less, around $ A flight of 10 steps, therefore, would cost about a total of $ if using hardwood.

On the other hand, you could use the laminate for that same flight of steps. Your average step is about 36” wide. A tread and riser are about a total of 5 square feet. A box of laminate is typically just over 15 square feet, so you’ll need about boxes of laminate for that same flight of stairs.

Also, hardwood nosing that is around 80” are upwards of $80, while laminate nose pieces are closer to $40 for the same length.

Even taking an expensive brand of laminate, at close to $3 per square foot, you’ll be paying less than half the cost &#; about $ &#; than you would be for hardwood treads and risers.

How Much Laminate Will I Need?

A standard tread is around 11” long and a riser is about 7”. Stairs start at 36” wide. If you do the math, the total square footage of a tread plus a riser with those dimensions is above square feet.

A staircase with 10 treads and 11 risers will require nearly 47 square feet of laminate flooring. That means you would need either 3 or 4 boxes of laminate flooring for a staircase with ten steps.

You’ll also need the nosing that goes with your laminate product. Using stairs that are 36” wide, you’ll need 3 nose pieces per a 10 step flight of stairs.

How to Install Laminate Flooring on Stairs

Stairs are often a very high traffic area in a house. When installing laminate on steps, you’ll need to focus on securing them to the subfloor beneath. The laminate nose, in particular, can get dislodged easily due to wear and tear, so you’ll want to use quality construction adhesive along as well.


  • Table saw
  • Miter saw with a fine blade
  • Construction adhesive
  • Hammer and 6d nails
  • Impact Driver/Screws for nosing, treads and risers &#; depending on the manufacturer
  • Measuring tape
  • Level

You’ll also want to consider renting or buying a laminate floor cutter. These make precise cuts in your laminate &#; using a handsaw or circular saw can result in planks that are not completely flush with the wall or another plank. You don’t want imperfections in a high traffic area &#; you’ll see them every day.

1. Prep the Subfloor

The key to a successful laminate installation on steps or a regular floor depends on having a level subfloor. Installing laminate over tile or even vinyl is not a good idea because the tile is not an even surface and could cause the laminate to bend and move. Gluing to vinyl is also not ideal &#; you’ll want to remove it first.

Since you are gluing your laminate as well as nailing it, you’ll want a surface beneath your laminate that provides optimal adhesion. The rough surface of wood, whether plywood or lumber, will ensure your laminate adheres properly. Smooth surfaces like vinyl or other synthetics do not glue as well.

2. Glue Two Planks of Laminate Together

The next step in your installation process requires you to glue some of your laminate pieces together.

The width of your tread and riser will never be the same as the width of one of your laminate pieces or two combined. Therefore you’ll be placing at least more than one plank of laminate on each tread and riser. However, one of those will need a lengthwise cut to fit the tread and riser width.

Glue enough planks of laminate together so that it fits the width of your tread. Typically this would be two pieces unless you’ve purchased a narrow product in which case you’ll glue three or more.

Use wood glue to glue your laminate together. PVA type II glue is ideal. It has a lower moisture content than typical wood glue, which will ensure that the bond is stronger and won’t seep into the laminate. A tight bond is critical for laminate on steps.

Once you have your planks glued together, you’ll need to let them dry. Remember to wipe away any excess glue. Always glue laminate on the tongue and not the groove. Putting a very small bead across the tongue will ensure adhesion but also minimize the amount you’ll need to wipe away.

3. Measure Tread and Riser Length

Now you need to measure the exact tread and riser length of your steps. Measuring the riser length is simple. Measure from the bottom to the top of the step and you have your riser width. You’ll install your riser first, starting at the top step, and work your way down.

The tread will sit flush up against your riser, so subtract the thickness of the riser from the width of the tread. Therefore, if your tread measures 11 ½” and the thickness of your laminate is ⅜”, then your tread will be 11 ⅛”.

Also, your tread won’t go to the edge of the stair. The laminate stair nosing will fit against the tread edge and be glued and screwed to the subfloor. Nose size depends on the manufacturer. They either sit on top of the tread and lip over the riser, or they are flush with the tread and sit on top of the riser.

You need to read the manufacturer’s instructions for the nosing installation to determine how much length you need to give for the nose piece. Remove that amount from the length of your tread as well.

4. Cut the Treads to Length and Width

Time to make your cuts. If you are sure your stairs are of uniform width and length down, you can go ahead and make all your cuts ahead of time. If you live in an old house or you think your stairs might not be uniform, then you’ll want to measure each tread individually to get an exact cut.

Remember, treads need to sit flush against either wall as steps don’t usually have edge trim to cover edges. If your laminate doesn’t sit flush to your stair walls, you’ll notice it every time you use the stairs.

Before you cut your treads, take a look at your nosing. If the nosing has a groove, then it will sit in the tongue of the tread, so make sure you do not cut off the tongue of your tread when cutting it to width.

On the other hand, if your nosing is designed to fit over your tread, then you don’t have to worry about leaving the tongue end of your laminate on and you can cut your treads to width however you want.

Assuming your stairs are of uniform size, cut your treads first. Accounting for your riser thickness and nosing width, start by cutting your treads to width. A table saw is the easiest way to cut these planks, as they are typically 4’ long. Otherwise, use a circular saw and cut carefully, as you won’t have much room for error.

After you’ve cut them to the width, you’ll need to cut them to length. A laminate cutter works well, but that requires you to have a laminate cutter which most people don’t own. You can rent one, which is a cost, or you can simply use a miter saw, which most people do have. I use a fine-toothed blade for finishing cuts, which ensures a smooth cut without any tear-out.

Cutting risers is just the same as cutting the treads &#; cut them to width first and then to length. Remember to cut off the tongue end of the laminate risers. You want a flat top edge for your nosing to fit either on top of or over. The bottom of your riser should be the groove &#; if you leave the tongue on the bottom of your riser, you risk having part of the tongue exposed.

After you’ve cut your treads and risers, cut your nose pieces. Cut them to the same length as your treads and risers. Making cuts on narrow material on a miter saw can be awkward &#; make sure you hold it snug when you cut so it doesn’t move. Otherwise, use a finish hand saw and cut carefully.

5. Install Treads and Risers with Construction Adhesive and Nails/Screws

Install your treads and risers. Start at the top of your steps and begin with the first riser. You are going to glue the riser in place using construction adhesive. Before you do that, however, you are going to score all of your treads and risers with a utility knife. This will improve the adhesion between the laminate and subfloor.

You are also going to nail or screw your treads and risers to your subfloor. You can do this in a couple of ways. I have a cordless finishing nailer that leaves a very small indentation in the planks. If you don’t have one, you can simply use 2” finishing nails &#; also called 6d nails &#; around the edges. If you choose to nail, drill pilot holes first to help you drive the nails easily.

Make sure every laminate plank has a few nails or screws in it, on either side. You can cover up the nails or screws with wood filler later to match the color of your laminate. Screws will hold better than nails, but will also require more wood filler.

Once you’ve scored your laminate on the back, apply the adhesive in a serpentine pattern. This is the one time where you a little does not go a long way. You don’t have to saturate the laminate but apply enough so that all parts of the riser will adhere to the stair subfloor. Put nails or screws into the riser.

Now you can glue and nail or screw your tread. Apply the adhesive in the same fashion, and fit it snug up against the riser.

As you move down your steps, make sure your risers are not protruding up above the tread subfloor. Your nosing will sit on top of it, and if it isn’t flush to the subfloor, then the nosing won’t attach properly.

6. Install Laminate Nosing as per Manufacturer Recommendations

Some nosing will fit into the tongue of the tread and over the top of the riser. Others fit over the tread and sit in a metal bracket that you screw into the tread subfloor. You then glue the nosing and also screw it in.

Regardless of the method of installation, be aware that the nosing of your laminate stairs will endure, by far, the most abuse. Be sure to not only glue but also to screw the entire nose into the floor. Some nosing will allow you to screw from underneath, concealing the screw hole.

If your steps have a dip in the middle of the tread and you find that your nosing has some give to it in the middle of the step after installing it, you might want to put a small wood or plastic shim beneath it. Once glued and screwed, the shim should hold tight and keep your tread and nose from moving and becoming dislodged.


Advanced Tips for Installing Laminate on Stairs

As mentioned above, start at the top of the steps and move downward. Do the tread, riser, and nosing all at the same time. That way, if you make any mistakes, you won’t repeat them on any of the succeeding stairs.

While this might not sound appealing, I suggest measuring each tread and riser separately &#; don’t assume they are all of the uniform length. While you will more than likely find that they are, take the extra 5 minutes to measure each separately. If you find a tread that is ¼” wider than the others, then you can make that cut accordingly. If you don’t, you’ll have a ¼” on that tread for the life of the stairs.

You may need to level the subfloor of your steps &#; particularly the center of your stair treads. Years of feet thumping up and down the center of your stairs will wear down the centers compared to the stair edges. Wood or plastic shims work well beneath laminate to level it.

A more extreme solution would be to use a leveling compound, which is not easy to work with on stairs. More than likely, a small shim or thin plywood can secure your treads and nosing &#; just be sure to use a level when installing each tread.

How to Install Laminate Flooring on Stairs with a Railing

Installing laminate flooring on stairs with railings can be incredibly time-consuming if you have a staircase with spindles and banister on top. You’ll have to cut spindle holes out of each tread and then cut each tread into two. You’ll then fit them together on the tread and hope they fit snugly enough around the spindles to look like it’s still one tread.

By far, the easiest way is to remove your stair spindles. This can be tricky if they are glued or nailed into place. Spindles usually are held in place via round plug-like holes on the top and bottom. Sometimes they can be wiggled enough to dislodge them &#; but be careful because they can break off in their hole and then you are out of luck.

If you can’t remove the spindles, then here’s how you install laminate on stairs around a railing with spindles:

  1. Measure the tread size exactly as outlined above.
  2. Measure the exact placement of the spindles on the tread, marking it down on paper. You’ll need to measure the front, back, and sides of the spindle and its exact dimensions. Also, make sure you measure how far apart each spindle is on the tread.
  3. Create a replica tread using cardboard. Mark the exact dimensions on the cardboard. Use a utility knife to cut out the spindle holes &#; go slowly because precision is critical here.
  4. Then cut through the middle of each spindle hole, going in a straight line the width of the tread.
  5. Now you’ll transfer these two parts to a tread you’ve already cut. Using the cardboard on top of the laminate tread piece you’ve cut, mark out the spindle holes on the tread.
  6. Take one section of cardboard and draw a line on your tread that goes through both spindle holes.
  7. Cut your laminate piece along that line using a miter saw &#; a fine toothed blade works wonders here.
  8. Last, you’ll need to cut out the spindle holes on both tread sections. Use a jigsaw and cut slowly. Alternatively, you can use a finish saw and make many small, parallel cuts. Then use a small flathead screwdriver or chisel to remove the small cuts of material.
  9. When installing the tread, the two tread sections should fit snugly around the spindles. If not, use your handsaw or jigsaw to make slight adjustments.

Best Glue for Laminate Flooring on Stairs

Best Glue for Laminate Flooring on StairsIt may come as no surprise that the glue you use to adhere your laminate flooring treads and risers is probably the most critical material you’ll use during the job. The best glue you can use Titebond II Premium Wood Glue.

Titebond has a much lower water content than other wood glue. Glue with high water content tends to seep into the pores of the material it is adhering to, minimizing the effectiveness of the bond.

It is extremely tacky when handling, which means when you glue your laminate planks together, the initial bond is tight and you don’t have to hold it.

Arguably the best part of Titebond is that it is water-resistant. If you are putting your laminate stairs near an exterior door, then chances are water will eventually be carried in by wet feet or shoes. Titebond will not degrade over time due to moisture contact, ensuring your laminate steps don’t move.


When installing laminate flooring on stairs, remember to take your time since the process differs greatly compared to installing laminate on floors. Precise measurement is critical to making sure your stairs look great and fit properly.

Also, keep in mind that your stairs will suffer tons of wear and tear. Don’t be shy with your construction adhesive and consider using nails or screws to provide additional adhesion for your laminate treads, risers, and nosing.

Thanks for taking the time to review this article &#; if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about how you installed laminate flooring in your house then please drop me a line. Best of luck with your next laminate stair project!

How to install Quick-Step wood or laminate on stairs?

Installing Laminate Flooring on Stairs

If you have stairs in your home, you may be wondering how to match them with your beautiful laminate floors. We’re here to answer your questions about installing laminate flooring on stairs.

What are the challenges to installing laminate flooring on a staircase?

The depth of most stair treads (the part you actually put your foot on) is 11 inches. Because the width of most laminate-flooring planks is a little over 7 inches, you’ll have to piece two planks together to cover the entire tread surface. To make the process easier, we recommend gluing two planks together the night before (while engaging the locking system, of course), doing enough to cover all the treads of the staircase. That way you’re making one cut per tread — not attempting to match up two separately cut plank pieces precisely.

Is there any other way to avoid piecing laminate planks together on a stair tread?

Yes, some retailers may offer one-piece laminate stair-tread surfaces that combine the stair nose (or “bull nose,” the rounded, leading edge of the tread) with entire tread surface. This makes it simple and less risky to mess up installation.

What about safety considerations regarding laminate-flooring installation on stairs?

Stair accidents can be dangerous. For example, if the stair nose is improperly installed and someone puts weight on it and it gives way … well, you get the picture. Local building codes supersede anything we tell our customers, so always follow them. Also, don’t attempt to install laminate flooring on stairs unless you’re at the upper end of the skill level or you’re a professional installer. Stairs are tricky and not only can be frustrating to install if you’re not properly skilled and equipped.

Any advice on special tools or equipment needed to install laminate flooring on a staircase?

Installing laminate flooring on stairs is definitely one time you won’t use do it as a floating-floor system, so don’t use underlayment.You will need to glue and screw (or nail) the laminate down to the stairs themselves. The glue should be a Liquid Nails® or construction-type glue dispensed from a glue gun. To ensure a stronger grip by the adhesive to the back of the laminate-flooring plank, we recommend scratching the back surface of the plank with either a knife, screwdriver or a PaperTiger® scoring tool normally used to help remove wallpaper.

There’s another benefit to using a fairly liberal amount of construction adhesive when installing the stair nose that may not have occurred to you: In older homes, it’s not uncommon for wooden step treads to be worn down in the middle. The glue will actually level-out that slight dip in the middle of the leading edge of the step for a more stable installation. Don’t use glue alone, though — once glue is in place, we recommend drilling pilot holes and using screws, then using filler to hide the screws. Some people will recommend using a nail gun. Just make sure the nails you use are ribbed for better holding power. You can rent nail guns and chop saws (that’s another nice tool to use that helps you make very precise cuts) in case you don’t have these handy.

Where can someone learn more about installing laminate flooring on stairs?

There are lots of “how to” videos and articles on the web, but be careful. We’ve watched many of them, and they might not be what we’d recommend for Swiss Krono laminate flooring.


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