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Can you install vinyl flooring on stairs?

Last updated on May 7th, 2021 at 08:09 pm

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There are a number of attractive reasons to choose vinyl for the flooring in your home, but a staircase can complicate the decision. You may be wondering if you can install the same vinyl planks or tiles you picked out for the rest of the house. It would make your home feel cohesive, but is it practical?

Can you install vinyl flooring on stairs?

You can install vinyl flooring on stairs. With careful planning, paying attention to the details, you can install vinyl planks, tiles, or sheets on your staircase. If you chose vinyl flooring for your home, and want your stairs to match, vinyl is a great option.

Vinyl Flooring on Stairs Pros and Cons

Why should you consider laying vinyl flooring on your stairs? There are many benefits, and few cons to be cautious of, that can help you make this decision.

Pros having on stairs vinyl

Let’s dive into the positive side of vinyl plank flooring first and see how it can benefit you.

Coordination

Many homeowners prefer to have the same flooring throughout their home whenever possible, as it can make the atmosphere in your home “flow”. So if you have chosen vinyl at the top or bottom of your stairs, it makes sense to convert your stairs to vinyl as well.

Durability

Stairs are typically a higher traffic area in a home, and the added durability of vinyl means less visible wear for a longer period of time. It can dent and scratch, but it will hold up better than some hardwoods.

Comfort

Vinyl flooring has a natural cushion that pads your feet as you walk. This provides additional comfort and ease on your feet that can have an effect all the way up to your legs, hips, and spine.

Noise

The natural cushion of vinyl that helps your feet also reduces the impact noise of every step. In addition, many types of vinyl flooring come with an attached underlayment pad, so trudging up the stairs does not have to sound like a march of elephants wearing wooden shoes.

Cons and vinyl installation on stairs

ok, let’s mention also some disadvantages of having vinyl on your stairs.

Careful Planning.

If your measurements are off, you may end up with strange sharp corners or the pattern may be misaligned. It is highly recommended to spend a little more time planning how to lay your stairs than you would need for a room.

Read more in this post: Which direction to install vinyl plank flooring?

Volatile Organic Compounds

Vinyl is made from a process that produces harmful chemicals. This can irritate your throat and lungs, especially if you have conditions such as asthma. Being aware of this, many companies are improving their processes and formulas to reduce these VOCs, and this is not as much of a problem today as it would have been ten years ago.

Hard to Remove

It is not recommended to install flooring on your stairs that “floats”. You are probably going to want to adhere the vinyl to your staircase subfloor. In the event your vinyl becomes damaged, or you decide to renovate your flooring again, the vinyl can be difficult to remove.

Cost of Vinyl

Vinyl is one of the most affordable flooring options. It can range in price from $2-$6 per square foot, depending on the quality of the flooring you choose.

When calculating how much it will cost to cover your stairs in vinyl, remember to measure both the treads and the risers for an accurate estimate of how many square feet you will need to cover.

You can save significantly if you choose to install the flooring yourself, which is easy for any moderately handy homeowner. Hiring a professional installer may cost roughly $5 per square foot, depending on a few circumstances, including your region.

How to Install Vinyl on Stairs

There are three type of vinyl flooring; planks that imitate the pattern of wood, vinyl tiles that imitate the look of ceramic, or sheets that can look like wood or ceramic. Sheet vinyl is the least common to use on stairs, as it is the most difficult to work in that situation.

Before you begin, you will want to be certain your stairs are properly prepared for the new floor.

Step 1: Level Your Subfloor

The first thing you need to do is remove any old flooring that you are not covering with vinyl, such as carpet. Remove old tack strips or the remnants of adhesives leftover from that flooring. You may need to sand bumps away, fill in cracks, or secure loose boards.

It is also important to clean your stairs, so no dirt or debris gets trapped beneath the vinyl you are laying down.

Step 2: Attention to Details

When planning how to lay your vinyl, whether it is planks, tile, or sheet, it is important to make sure you are planning for the details. If you are not watchful, you could end up with a less-than-ideal pattern on your stairs. Align each piece with the pattern you want to display.

Measure and Cut your vinyl plank flooring

Step 3: Measure and Cut

If you have never heard it before, it is a general rule to measure twice, cut once. Each tread and riser may have a slightly different measurement, so it is important to measure them all as you go. If you cut a piece too short, you may find yourself forced to scrap the entire piece and try again, creating waste and losing time. If you measure too large, you will need to find a way to trim the piece to the right size.

NOTE: If your stair system involves nosing, measure with this in mind.

Step 4: Lay and Adhere

Some vinyl comes with a peel-and-stick backing. Other types must be glued down. As you lay the vinyl on your treads or risers, press and smooth toward the edges to prevent any bubbles from getting caught.

How to install vinyl on Stairs with Nosing?

If your stairs have a small ledge or lip that hangs off the tread, this is called a bullnose, or nosing. Many traditional staircase designs have this feature, and there are two ways to work around it.

Some vinyl flooring brands manufacture a specific nosing piece for use on stairs. This can sometimes click into place with the vinyl tongue-and-groove, or you may need to glue or nail it into place.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and it may be prudent to dry-fit the pieces together to see how they work during the planning step of your installation.