November 27, 2022

Installing Laminate on Floors and Stairs

Complete Laminate on Floor Installation Guide

laminate flooring installation

Laminate Flooring is among many choices that homeowners have when choosing to remodel their interiors. In between the hundreds of laminate flooring installations that I personally did myself I must say that homeowners are always pleased with the choice they have made.

Through the many homes, I’ve worked at I had the chance to work in very popular homes like the residence of Gary Bruhn, mayor of Windermere, Florida among other very popular people. But the reaction from them is the same and after the job is done the same questions are left open. Such as how do I care for my laminate floors or how do I avoid scratches.

In this article, I will let you into some very important tips that can help you before and after your laminate flooring installation. Tips that many customers may avoid while having someone install their floors or doing it themselves.

Preparing the area for your laminate flooring installation

When working on a laminate flooring job or any other type of job, you will always want to have someone helping you out. In this case, you will need help with moving furniture around. And of course, clearing the area for your laminate flooring installation. When laying laminate flooring on stairs or any other surface a completely clean area is a must. Because any tiny piece of rock or nail can become a huge headache as the installation begins.

no enough room

If you don’t have enough room around the house to clear a complete area to work on. Then do by parts, the first one half where half will be clear and clean and the other half will hold all the items. Furniture on top of it and then switch around.

Normally carpet will always be the type of floor you will be removing. Consider wearing a dust mask to avoid breathing through the filthy dust that will be floating around once you cut those pieces of carpet out.

Working your way through the installation using a stair or a consistent staggered pattern

When working on your project you can choose to have any pattern throughout the installation of your laminate floors. From a stair pattern to a simple half-cut pattern. Laminate flooring on stairs is totally different. As most of the time, a full board is used on the steps. Check out the image below of an installation I was doing. I was using what people normally call a stair pattern or also a consistent staggered pattern.

Installation Pattern

Clearing And Preparing the Area

When clearing the area as I mentioned make sure you clear as much trash as possible. Avoid leaving any dirt or sand behind. Very important tips when laying laminate floors on top of concrete and when laying laminate floors on top of the wood.

On Top of Concrete

Typically you will find cracks on your concrete floors and that is normal. You can fill them with putty cement or seal them with caulking cement or liquid nails.

Make sure you have plastic completely covering the area. If the plastic needs to be cut in rolls make sure they overlap on the edges. If you don’t know yet, plastic works as a moisture barrier. It keeps moisture that comes out of concrete from penetrating your laminate floors. Later on, leading to mysterious bubbling or buckling between your wood floors.

Use good strong padding. Avoid buying those cheap styrofoam padding that comes with very thin plastic underneath already attached to it. Those are very weak and don’t give much resistance to your laminate floors.

Plastic and Padding

On Top of Wood

Many two-story homes have the upper flooring finished with plywood or concrete. When finished with concrete just follow the tips above. But when the floor is finished with plywood, avoid using plastic.

On wood floors, we don’t need plastic at all, just place your padding directly on top of your clean plywood surface. And it will be ready for your laminate flooring installation.

Laminate Flooring On Stairs

stairs with carpet

Laminate flooring on stairs requires much more attention when being worked on. It’s a task that many laminate flooring installers avoid doing. Leaving it only to some specific installers who are more experienced when it comes to dealing with stairs.

I personally have worked on many jobs that required me to install laminate flooring on stairs. This allows me to share some interesting tips and pictures to better illustrate the process of getting the job done.

Stair normally has carpet around them, so the first step we need to do is clear the carpet from the stair. Check the images to the left/above where we can see the carpet and the picture below where I already removed all the carpet.

carpet removed from stairs

When working with laminate flooring on stairs a lot of attention has to be given to the boards you cut for it. In the image above you can notice how some boards are already cut for it. A lot of the time the laminate planks need to be cut in different sizes. That will depend on how well the stairs were originally built. But you want to have your planks as close as possible to the sides so that later you can fill the gaps with a thin line of white caulking. Which allows the planks to blend in with the surroundings.

laminated stairs

In the image above, you can see how it would normally look when cutting your laminate flooring to fit your stairs. The space left between the planks is for the stair nose which is later on clued and nailed to the plywood. Holding the stair planks tightly close together.

The loft and stairs area is barely complete

Loft and stairs

Before initiating the process which will finish your stairs we need to have all our boards cut. We can leave to cut our stair noses right after, or we can measure it and cut it before as well. Make sure your laminate stair noses are nicely cut and are as close as possible to the sides.

Important Tips

Every laminate plan needs to have glue applied to it. In most cases, strong wood glue such as the one from liquid nails is one of the best.

Every plank will need an extra thin strip on both the step board and also on the face board. It is to reach the edge of the step far enough for the stair nose to wrap both edges together. After gluing each edge give a tiny nail using an air compressor on the edge of the strips. When nicely done the end and tip of the stair nose will be large enough to cover these nails. Allowing your steps to be much stronger and firm.

Give at least three nails on each stair nose, one in the middle and one on both edges. Make sure you also put liquid nail glue on your stair noses before you nail them down.

Finished Stairs

The image below shows the laminate wood installed on the stairs with all stair noses in place. If you take the time to do it and go slow you will realize that you need more patience than practice. Installing a laminate floor on stairs really requires a lot of patience. If you rush yourself through finishing your stairs job, you will eventually have it looking in a way that you could have avoided. If you only had given more time and dedication to it.

finished stairs

Closing Tips and Advice

When finishing your job throughout the house make sure the boards are well cut and under the trims around the door. I have repaired dozens of jobs where installers simply are too lazy to finish their cuts around the trims of the doors. Especially on hallways which are more difficult to work on and take more time. A good professional will leave no gaps behind to be filled with caulking. Unless human mistakes happen losing the wood plank is not an option and you need to go with it. But persistence will allow the job to look much better than it ever.

So if you get a cheap or expensive professional to do the job for you, make sure they get it done the first time. Not leaving any reason to come back to fix or replace anything. Unless future problems are related to the installation and you have a warranty that got you covered.

laminate floor finish

The above image also shows the T-Moldings which go between the doors. Those can easily be installed with the screws and a track that comes with them, or they can simply be glued. In the image below gluing was a better option for us, depending on the concrete surface, screwing the tracks to hold the moldings is not an option if the concrete is too weak or thin. When gluing your moldings, make sure you place something heavy enough to hold it down in place while it is drying, or self it won’t stay and will eventually dry with the edges sticking up.


laminate floor on stairs

I hope you have enjoyed the tips and information I shared, these were meant to give you an idea of the work that it may take to get a similar job done on your home. If you are hiring private contractors or a company, ask for references and ask to see previous jobs if possible. Talk about the warranty and how well are you covered.

When it comes to caring for your laminate floors and stairs a lot of work is required. I will create another hub to give good details and tips on caring for your laminate and hardwood floors. Leave your comments and suggestions, thank you for reading.

If you have any questions on Installing Laminate on Floors and Stairs & How to Install Old Laminating, Completing the Nosing guide, or things like that, shoot them in the comments below! Take care and happy remodeling!

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