Laying Vinyl Floor on Some Stairs

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Stairs are often a focal point in the entryway of a home or office building. As such, they should be decorated to complement the surroundings, while being practical and functional. Vinyl has long been a favorite way to cover floors that are subject to heavy traffic from outside -- kitchens, mudrooms, delivery areas and the like -- so using it on interior entryway stairs is not unusual.

Tools and Preparation

  • If the vinyl needs to be sized, the judicious use of a heat gun will make the material easier to cut; have a box cutter and a supply of fresh blades at hand. A tape measure and a framing square complete the basic toolkit. Vinyl must be laid on flat surfaces. It is reasonable to assume the wood of stair treads is flat, so an underlayment -- such as leveling compound -- should be unnecessary. Sand the stair treads by hand, paying particular attention to noticing staples or nails left over from the previous stair covering; if any exist, remove them as they are found.

Vinyl

  • Vinyl floor covering is typically sold in rolls; the smallest roll is almost certain to be far larger than required by a staircase project in a residential home. Adhesive-backed vinyl tile is an easier, cleaner and more convenient alternative. When choosing, the primary concern must be safety: The vinyl is to be used on a staircase so it must not be slippery, and it must not become slippery when wet. Read the manufacturer’s cautionary notices and advisements, and purchase accordingly.

Stair Tread Covers

  • An alternative to the potentially difficult task of locating textured, non-slippery roll vinyl or vinyl tiles is to use proprietary stair tread covers. These have patterns of small ribs cast into the surface; the ribs are molded from side to side across the treads, so they give good traction when traveling both up and down. Vinyl stair tread covers are available in a wide variety of colors and patterns from specialist suppliers, so can be sourced to work with most preexisting decor styles.

Doing the Job

  • Most manufacturers provide specific instructions on their packaging; use the recommended glue, cutting methods and installation sequences. Working on floors can be hard work; wear pads to protect your knees. Stairs tend to be a bottleneck area in both residential and commercial buildings; be aware of the minimum wait time that must be observed before the new floor covering can tolerate foot traffic, and confirm that everyone who could be affected has this information.

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