The Education Centre: Installing Flooring on Stairs

Many home owners are replacing their carpeted stairs with hardwood stairs, because hardwood looks elegant, and is easy to clean compared to carpet. Installing hardwood on stairs requires skill and patience, and many home owners prefer to hire professionals to do the job for them, but with the right instructions and determination, average homeowners can do a good job laying hardwood on their staircases too.

The tools required to install hardwood on stairs include pliers, hammer, belt sander, level, chalk line, construction gloves, circular saw, jigsaw and nails.

Preparing the Stairs for Installation

Before the hardwood is laid on the stairs, the carpet or the old flooring needs to be removed. Carpet is one of the most common types of flooring for stairs, and it can be easily removed by taking out the tack strip. After the carpet is removed, use the belt sander to clean the steps. Make sure that the steps are properly cleaned, because any remaining dirt or material can make the steps squeak after the hardwood flooring is installed.

Check to see that every step of the staircase is level. If there are steps that are not level, make them level by sanding them. The risers should be sanded and painted before the hardwood is installed, so that the paint will not drip on the new flooring.

Installation

Use chalk to make a line on each step to indicate how much nosing should be cut off. Then, take the circular saw and cut along the line. Make sure the saw is always parallel to the step. When the circular saw reaches a point where it cannot go any further, change to a jigsaw.

The installation of the hardwood flooring should begin at the bottom of the stairs. Cut a piece of hardwood according to the width of the first riser. Then, apply adhesive to the board and put it in place, with the tongue facing up. Hammer three nails along the bottom part of the board. Put some adhesive on the next board and place it on top. Tap the board so that the groove will be locked to the tongue. Repeat the same process for the rest of the steps.

Installing hardwood on stairs requires very precise cutting of hardwood boards. Make sure that the boards are cut to the exact sizes as needed. Be patient, and exercise extra caution when cutting the boards.

This guide is a basic introduction to installing hardwood on stairs and should not be used as comprehensive instructions. If you are inexperienced with flooring installation we recommend that you employ a skilled tradesman to carry out this project.