When you’re installing laminate flooring in a home with stairs, Quick•Step has the tools that not only make laminate stair installation quick and easy … they make it beautiful! The key is the Incizo 5-in-1 molding profile and its easy-to-use cutting tool. This single piece of molding can be used for all your transition needs, making the most complicated laminate stair installations a breeze.
If you want to see it in action, you can watch an instructional video here, featuring stair installation on boxed stairs and open-ended stairs.
Here’s what you’ll need to install laminate flooring on your stairs.
- Laminate flooring
- The coordinating Incizo 5-in-1 molding
- The appropriate aluminum sub profile – which comes in thicknesses that are floor specific
- 2mm shims
- Polyurethane Construction Adhesive
- 100% Clear Silicone
- Blue Tape for securing the stair nose during curing.
- Traditional overlap stair nose for finishing the top step.
- Finishing putty to cover any exposed screws
You’ll also need some standard construction tools, like a rubber mallet, drill, screwdriver, tape measure, circular saw or chop saw, and a table saw. Always use proper safety equipment when working with power tools, including eye and ear protection and the appropriately rated dust mask.
Starting at the top or bottom of your stairs is a matter of personal preference, but a good rule of thumb is to begin the basement stair at the bottom step, and the second floor at the top. For our tutorial, we will explain installing laminate on both the tread and the riser for boxed stairs, and we’ll start the installation from the bottom. NOTE: If you are planning to paint your stair risers, remember to do so prior to installing the laminate on the tread.
Attach the plank to the front of the riser.
- Be sure to measure the width of the riser at the top and the bottom, since stair measurements can vary greatly.
- When cutting the planks use either a polycarbide diamond-tipped blade or a 36-40 tooth 10” carbine-tipped blade for best results.
- Dry-fit the plank to the base riser before adhering the plank to the stair.
- Apply the construction adhesive in an “s” pattern to the back of the plank.
- To prevent the riser from slipping, apply two 18-gauge brad nails to the top corners of the plank, they will be hidden by the stairnose.
Attach the aluminum sub-profile, the piece that accepts the Incizo 5-in-1 molding, to the tread.
- Take the interior measurements of the stair, and mark and cut the aluminum sub-profile to the correct width. NOTE: Don’t forget to wear protective eyewear and gloves when working with cutting tools and handling the cut edge of the sub-profile.
- Drill and countersink holes every 5” a part on the sub-profile. – we recommend using a 9/64” bit for drilling.
- Generously apply the adhesive in a straight line along the inner corner of the sub-profile and in an “s” pattern along the back of the inside as well. Affix the sub-profile to the tread.
- Secure the sub-profile to the tread with #6 x 1” – 1 ¼” wood screws in each of the holes to ensure stability.
Attach the plank(s) to the tread.
- Place 2mm shims to the tread about 5-6” apart, perpendicular to the profile. These shims help raise the plank to the same height as the sub-profile, and help contain the adhesive, eliminating squeeze-out.With decorated side up, transfer your measurement from the tongue edge (not including the tongue). Make a mark.
- Measure the length and width of the interior of the tread. Measure the length of the stair at the front and the back to account for stairs that are out of square.
- Cut the tongue off the short side of the plank then transfer the measurement to the board and cut to length. NOTE: When cutting laminate flooring, always cut with the face side up to minimize chipping.
- Dry-fit the board to the aluminum sub-profile that you attached earlier. It is important to fit the tongue of the plank into the locator ridge of the sub-profile. Make sure the plank fits along the tread but is not too snug.
- With the first plank still on the stair affixed to the locator ridge, add two (2) of the 2mm shims to the back of the tread and measure from the front of the plank to the shims – this will allow for a 3/16” gap at the back at the back of the step that will be used to secure the floor later.
- Transfer the width measurement to the second tread plank and rip the plank length-wise with the table saw, cutting away the groove and leaving the tongue. Then cut the plank to length in the same manner as you did earlier.
- Remove the first planks from the stair, click the ripped piece into the full plank and test fit.
- If the planks fit correctly, remove them from the stair and apply adhesive to the aluminum sub-profile and in between the 2mm shims on the tread in an “s” pattern, be sure to avoid placing adhesive on top of the shims. Use a putty knife to spread the glue on the sub-profile.
- Install the planks on the tread.
Cut and fit the 5-in-1 molding. Attach to the tread.
- Take a measurement and transfer it to the Incizo molding. Cut to fit the length of the stair, and test-fit.
- Apply adhesive to both v-grooves of the molding, then add silicon to the square tongue channel of the molding. Use your finger to evenly spread the silicon in the channel.
- Lightly tap the 5-in-1 into place with the heel of your hand. Once in place, use a tapping block to firmly secure it.
- Clean away any silicon that may have squeezed out and apply blue tape to the nosing to hold in place until everything has fully dried.
Attach the riser to the second step.
- With the tread and stairnose from the previous step in place, measure the riser at the top and the bottom as done previously, transfer the measurements to plank.
- Rip the plank with a table saw, cutting away the tongue and leaving the groove intact.
- Mark and cut the width using the same process used previously.
- Test-fit to make sure the plank fits the riser and the groove fits into the 3/16” gap left on the tread in Step 3.
- Use the same “s” pattern to add adhesive to the back of the plank.
- Slide the lower extended groove into the gap and press the plank to the riser.
- For added security, place 18-guage brad nails to the top corners of the plank.
Continue this process for the remainder of the installation. For best results we recommend limiting traffic on stairs until 24 hours after your installation.
And that’s it!
If you have moderate DIY experience and the right tools, tackling a laminate stair installation is definitely something you can do. Not only will it match your existing floor, it will look amazing!
Check out this instructional video to see a visual tutorial of laminate stair installation, as well as how to apply a traditional overlap stairnose molding and how to install laminate on open-ended stairs.