How to Lock Floors on Stairs

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Locking floors are usually made from laminate or engineered hardwood. The floorboards click together making them easy to install. This works very quickly on flat floors but when you install it on stairs, you can run into trouble. This type of flooring needs to be installed directly on the stairs without any underlayment. In some circumstances the planks won't click together easily because there isn't enough room to angle them into the locking mechanism. Always lay out the planks on the stairs after they are cut and before you glue them down to make sure you can easily lock them together.

Things You'll Need

  • Pliers
  • Measuring tape
  • Miter or circular saw
  • Stair nosing
  • Wood glue
  • Finishing nails
  • Hammer
  • Remove any carpet or vinyl from the stairs. Locking flooring can be fitted over low-pile carpet or vinyl on flat surfaces but on stairs it needs to be glued down on a hard surface. Pull out any nails or tacks and clean the surface so it is smooth.

  • Measure the stairs carefully. Measure how wide the stair nosing is and subtract that from the first measurement. You'll need enough flooring to cover the remaining space.

  • Cut the planks to fit the remaining space. They should be equal in width. Use the full width of one plank and cut a second plank lengthwise to fit the space at the back of the stair.

  • Set the stair nosing onto the edge of the stair. Fit the plank into the stair nosing's groove and lay it flat. Connect the last piece of plank into the small space left and lay it down. If you cannot get the pieces to fit together, cut the locking mechanism off the planks and stair nosing. Use a circular or miter saw with a fine-tooth blade to cut the pieces.

  • Apply a serpentine bead of wood glue to the back of the stair nosing and fit it over the lip of the stair. Hammer the stair nosing in place with finishing nails.

  • Apply serpentine wood glue to the backs of the planks and a bead of glue along the locking mechanism. Slide the plank into position and drop it down. Fit the smaller piece behind the full plank in the same manner.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remove any foam backing on the flooring planks if they come with built-in underlayment.
  • Allow flooring to acclimate to the room temperature for 48 hours before installing it.

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