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Can You Laminate Stairs?

Modern architecture interior with luxury hallway with glossy wooden stairs in multi-storey house. Custom built pullout cabinets on glides in slots under stairs

Laminate is used throughout the contemporary building world for everything from flooring, to kitchen counters, to furniture. Laminated boards are strong and visually pleasing, with an affordable price tag. When it comes to installing laminate products on stairs, you will have a wide range of styles to choose from, with realistic wood effect boards. In this guide from Stair Rods Direct, we’ll look through the process of installing laminate flooring on stairs, the pros and cons of laminate flooring, and other accessories that may be beneficial to you.

What Are Your Options for Laminating Stairs?

You can laminate stairs through the use of wood effect laminate boards. Laminate boards are commonly used as flooring for rooms but can be used as flooring on stairs, affixing to both the tread and the riser, with a stair nose to connect the two. They are made of an imitation wood material with a fibreboard centre, coming in a range of looks to mimic a wide range of woods. They can be directly installed to a bare underlay, offering a stylish and secure look, that can withstand heavy foot traffic.

For the look of your stairs, you’ll have a vast range of wood styles to choose from. For a lighter effect, you might want to consider options like ash or maple effect, which can blend well within contemporary houses, though they will be more likely to show up dirt. For something warmer, mid-tone wood effects like oak can be a great choice. And for something more classical, a darker wood effect like walnut can blend with older styles of interior well. When it comes to choosing laminate boards, you should check the quality of the board in advance, and see whether they offer a range of looks in each wood, which will allow you to install a more natural-looking stairwell. 

What Are the Pros and Cons of Laminating Stairs?

Modern architecture interior with luxury hallway with glossy wooden stairs in multi-storey house. Custom built pullout cabinets on glides in slots under stairs.

Using laminate boards to cover your stairs comes with a series of great benefits and a few drawbacks. Laminate boards can be a very affordable option, with prices starting at £3 per square metre. It also comes with a quick and pain-free installation process. This means that getting a professional to put laminate boards on your stairs is likely to cost less than carpet fitting. It also means that laying your laminate boards on stairs is a viable option for DIY enthusiasts. As we’ll explain later on, laminate boards can be simply affixed to your stairs, meaning that the process to install them yourself is quick and comfortable.

Once installed laminated stairs come with other benefits. A major pro is the ease with which they can be cleaned. Laminate boards give you solid, flat surfaces on your stairs that can be easily wiped clean. Carpeted stairs or real wood flooring can attract dirt, soil, and other undesirable materials that can be difficult to shift, particularly on carpets in high traffic areas. 

Compared to the frustrations that can come from vacuuming carpeted stairs, laminate will give solid surfaces that are easy to clean with a mop and water. Another benefit of laminate is that it can give a fantastic wooden look to your property. A quality laminate board will be nearly indistinguishable from real wood, for just a fraction of the cost.

There are however some disadvantages to laminate flooring. Compared to carpeting, laminate can be quite noisy when installed within a house. If a building is going to have a large footfall, particularly at unsociable hours, the noise of people coming up and down the stairs might cause issues for those around them. Another disadvantage is that laminate planks cannot be repaired. Unlike real wood that can be sanded and varnished, the appearance of laminate flooring is final, and any cracks or wear cannot be repaired. In these situations, the laminate boards on your stairs will have to be replaced. Laminate flooring can also be slippy in some circumstances, compared to carpet and hardwood flooring. Drying your stairs, wearing appropriate footwear, or using an anti-slip spray on your laminate stairs can help to remedy this.

How Do You Install Laminate on Stairs?

Wooden stairs in a wooden house. Architecture and design.

Before you can lay laminate stairs, you must first prepare the stairs. You should remove all existing flooring, paint, and adhesives attached to your stairs, and carefully clean and flatten your surfaces. You should also remove any overhang on your stairs, as this won’t be compatible with laminate boards. You should measure each stair individually, as their dimensions may be varied, especially on older stairs.

Your laminate stairs will be comprised of three pieces, tread facings (the top of the stair), riser facings (the front of the stair), and stair nosing (the edge of the step, between the other two). Both the tread and the riser should have tongue edges that will face towards the stair nosing. You will need to measure and cut each piece to fit. To install your laminate stairs you should start at the top and work your way down, attaching the treads, then riser pieces, then stair nosings. The laminate boards can be affixed with wood glue, being held in place for a few minutes. Stair nosings can have a variety of fitting options, with some using glue and others requiring screws. Some have a layer that is screwed in and a layer of nose stripping that is glued over the top. Make sure everything is correctly placed, before leaving overnight to dry.

Our Products For Laminated Stairs

We stock a wide range of stair nosing products through our website, including Premier Lips Stair Trims, which are compatible with laminate boards. In combination with a high-quality wood effect laminate, these trims can give a classical look in colours like brass, bronze, chrome, nickel. We also have a selection of door thresholds, suitable if you’re looking to transition between rooms with laminate flooring, or even from one room with tile to another with laminate. All of our products come with simple installation processes and UK wide delivery options.

We have a wide selection of guides available through our website. If looking for technical advice we have guides to hanging wallpaper above stairs and stair nosing adhesives. We also have style guides such as our looks at victorian stairwells, and oak staircase design ideas. Finally, we have a guide to laminate stairs.

Browse our range of stair supplies today.