Installing Laminate or Hardwood on Stairs Preparation



STEP - 1

When installing laminate or hardwood on stairs preparation is going to be the first chore. Chances are your existing stairs are covered with carpet. Here I am going to describe how to remove the carpet and fix creaky stairs, leveling high spots, and removing staples.


Removing Carpet on Stairs

Removing the carpet so laminate flooring can be installed on these stairs

I would recommend that you wear gloves when removing the carpet. A lot of times carpet installers will staple the carpet, and these staples can be very sharp, believe me on this.

I usually start at the top so as you remove the carpet your able to pull down rather than up. You need to determine here if you are going to leave the carpet on the last riser at the top of the stairs. Example: The hallway upstairs has carpet and it flows down the stairs. If you are going to install hardwood or laminate in this hallway you will not leave the carpet on the last riser. If you leave the carpet in the hallway and you want the last riser to be wood you will need a stair nose at the top and finish the carpet off up to the stair nose.



Stair nose at the top stair Mohawk laminate

In this photo is an example of the top riser with laminate on it. Here the hallway is going to have laminate. If the hallway was carpeted I would finish the carpet off up to the stair nose with tack strip.



Tools needed for laminate or hardwood on stairs prepartion: Hammer, Pry bar, Utility knife or carpet knife,(blades remain sharper longer) Nail pullers or pliers for pulling staples. And of course Gloves

One of the best ways to pull the carpet off, is to use a pair of pliers and just grab the carpet in a corner and pull to get it started. Sometimes the carpet will be continuous lengths or it may be individual pieces per stair. you may have to cut the carpet into smaller pieces if they get too long.

Some carpet installers will use tack strip when installing carpet on stairs others will just staple the carpet.

Some carpet installers are trigger happy and love putting loads of staples in the carpet so even when wearing gloves be careful you can still get some nasty scratches on your arms.

Laminate or hardwood on stairs preparation also involves other tasks


Using a small scraper to remove the staples so I can install laminate flooring on these stairs

Remove padding-After taking the carpet off, the padding is usually stapled down. I just rip the pad off and then go back and take all the staples out. I like to pull the staples rather then just bang them down. I like to use a small scraper with a dull blade to get the staples out also. The stairs can end up having a lot of over spray and paint on them during construction. This needs to be scraped off also in order to glue the laminate flooring to them. Bang any nails flush if sticking up.

Removing tack strip with pry bar from stairs

Tack strip- I use a pry bar and hammer to remove the tack strip, not too difficult to do.

High spots- Unfinished stair treads are usually made of either 2 X 10's or 2 X 12's or plywood. The thicker 2 inch boards can twist or warp. Inspect each tread for unevenness because when installing laminate or hardwood on stairs the stairs need to be as flat as possible, so the installed flooring will sit flat on the stair. After the stairs are cleaned off, check for any areas that might be sticking up. If the wood is splintered or uneven, use a wood chisel to cut the high spots down. Or if its too bad a belt sander will work. If the tread is too warped you may be able to replace it providing its not under the stringer or sheet rock on the wall.

Creaky stairs- You probably know which stairs make the creaking sound. Now is the time to fix this. Check for loose or squeaky treads. Check the risers also. If needed put some screws in these areas. Make sure the screws are long enough to get a good hold, and not sticking up. ( I wouldn't use nails here they tend to loosen up over time).

STEP - 2 Cutting stair nose overhang off or fill in the space 



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If you want an estimate you can contact me if your in my area. My service area includes the greater Tampa Bay Area, Florida,33542 also other areas in Hillsborough County Fl, Pasco County Fl, and Polk County Fl.

Phone number 813-713-1535

Ask for Anthony.

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