All About Laminate

Choosing Laminate Flooring

» Flooring Material
» Flooring System
» Finishing Up
» Design Decisions

Stuff You'll Need

» Calculating Flooring Needs
» Tools for Laminate Flooring

Getting It Done

» Preparing the Room
» Smoothing The Subfloor
» Dealing With Moisture
» Installing Flooring
» Working Around Obstacles
» Finishing the Job
» Reinstalling Shoe Moldings
» Dealing With Steps
» Maintaining the Floor

Additional Articles

» What is Laminate Flooring?
» Facts About Glueless Laminate Flooring 
» Flooring Underlayment - Types and Uses
» Measuring for Moldings/Trim

All About Hardwood

All About Area Rugs

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Dealing with Steps

When covering steps, forget the idea of a "floating" floor. Here, you glue the planks down and screw the nosing in place, working from the top step down. You may need to trim the last plank at the top of the stairs to make room for the nosing. Trim the underlayment, too. Allow for a 1/4-inch gap between the flooring and the base of the nosing.
Shim up the nosing to match floor height if needed.
Remove any stair flooring that isn't a unsuitable base for laminate (page 15). Saw the overhanging edge of the nosing off flat, fix loose treads, and clean the stairs.
Cut planks and nosing as on page 20; use leftover pieces where you can. Let stairs dry overnight before using them.

Installing the tread edge piece

Measure the exposed edge of the tread and cut a piece of laminate to fit. Apply a bead of construction adhesive to the back of the piece, then press it into place and hold it for a few minutes to let it bond.


Installing the top nosing

Measure and cut the nosing to fit the space. Apply a bead of adhesive to the subfloor, not the nosing. Position the nosing—the tapered end overlaps the flooring—and hold it until the adhesive sets.


Marking for nosing screws

Starting from the edge of the nosing, measure and mark for one screw every 9 inches. Space holes evenly and center them on the part of the nosing that is glued to the subfloor.


Drilling pilot holes

Put a wide strip of clear plastic tape over the nosing. With a combination bit, drill countersink holes for 11/4-inch No. 6 wood screws. Screw down the nosing. Leave the tape in place until after you've hidden the screws with putty (Step 10).
Gluing tread pieces together

Measure the stair depth and subtract the nosing depth. If the result is wider than a single plank, rip a second plank to make up the difference. Make the cut on the groove side of the board. Glue the planks together tongue-to-groove.
Applying construction adhesive

Lay three beads of adhesive on the tread. Don't put any on the space that will be covered by the nosing.

Positioning the tread assembly

Press the glued tread assembly into place on the tread, with the tongue of the full plank facing out. Wipe off any glue that squeezes onto the top of the plank with a damp rag.
Covering the riser

Measure the height and width of the riser space. Cut a plank to fit, cutting off the tongue in the process. Apply adhesive to the back of the cut plank. Angle the plank into place, fitting the cut side under the tread overhang of the step above. Press the riser into place.
Completing the stairs

Cut a tread edge piece and fit it onto the exposed tread edge, as in Step 1. Press it in place for a few minutes to let the adhesive bond. Repeat Steps 1 to 9 until all the stairs are done.
Filling the screw holes
Prepare the putty according to the manufacturer's directions. A scrap of plank makes a smooth mixing surface. With a plastic putty knife, smoothly fill the screw holes in each nosing. Then carefully remove the tape. After about 20 minutes, even out the putty with a cloth dampened with water or acetone. Putty is usually impossible to remove once it's dry, so work carefully and clean up right away

On some staircases, the underside of the nosing on the upper stairs is visible from the bottom of the staircase. Check your stairs. If you can see the bottom of the nosing, you can still install laminate, but you should make a little adjustment to your stairs first. You need to pad the risers with plywood. Measure and cut a piece of plywood to fit against each riser and screw it in place. Then just install the laminate as described here.



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