Is laminate good for stairs

Renovating old steps: laying laminate on stairs

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Every few years, do-it-yourselfers all over Germany repaint or wallpaper their walls. Even floor coverings are regularly replaced. Only the stairs are left out during these renovations. Slippery steps are a real safety risk. By laying new laminate on stairs, do-it-yourselfers can easily remedy this risk on their own.

If the stairs are worn out or just don't look so good, a new surface, possibly combined with a few small repairs, can give them a new shine. An inexpensive option is to clad the old steps with laminate panels. The covering is hard-wearing and easy to care for, and can be easily laid by experienced do-it-yourselfers.

Select laminate

In principle, every laminate floor is also suitable for renovating stairs. The panels must be cut to size. In addition, you need stair rails or facing strips for the end of the step edges.

Complete systems are an alternative: They contain prefabricated elements for steps and risers as well as the necessary accessories such as strips, panels and assembly aids. If the standard dimensions of the step elements do not fit, they can also be cut accordingly.

Laminate has to acclimate itself before laying so that it does not warp later. Panels or step elements should therefore be stored 48 hours before starting the installation work at a room temperature of at least 15 degrees Celsius and a maximum of 60 percent humidity.

Preparations for the stair renovation

Laminate can only be laid on stairs without problems if the substrate is firm and stable. In principle, stairs made of wood, stone, natural stone, concrete, reinforced concrete, screed and metal are suitable. Laminate can also be laid on tiled stairs, provided the structure is not too high. It is important to ensure that the tiles still adhere well and that no cavities have formed under the covering.

Before starting the laying work, the stairs should be cleaned thoroughly. Some are laying the new laminate directly on top of the old carpeting. In this case, the impact sound insulation is guaranteed, but it is certainly not the ideal solution. Instead, old coverings such as carpets or linoleum and adhesive residue should be removed. Any unevenness can be leveled out with a little filler. If you want, you can also repaint the banisters and stair stringers.

Step by step: laying laminate on stairs

There are basically different ways to renovate an old staircase with laminate. Many do-it-yourselfers use prefabricated step elements with a front edge and cut them to size. The systems of the various manufacturers often differ in detail.

And this is the best way to proceed stair renovators:

1. Measure and cut

The step is measured with a folding rule or angle template and the dimensions are transferred to the new stair laminate directly or using a cardboard template. Plan a distance of about one millimeter to the side wall. This means that there is no friction later and the laminate does not creak.

When renovating a spiral staircase with different step shapes, a stair spider or stair gauge is helpful as a measuring tool. With this radial measuring instrument, the step shape can easily be transferred to the laminate.

To determine the height of the riser, measure the distance between a sample of the new step and the lower edge of the step above at three points. When sawing the steps and risers, make sure that the decorative side always points upwards and the front edge of the step always points towards the saw blade. This will not damage the decor.

Especially with old stairs, the dimensions vary from step to step. It is better to measure and number each step again.

Excursus: stair stringer

If the stair stringers are to be covered with a cover, proceed as follows:

  1. On the side of the cheek, the old step edge is cut with a jigsaw up to the old riser and then chiseled out. This results in an angle of 90 degrees in the transition area from step to riser.
  2. Cardboard squares are made, which are placed in an overlapping angle at the angle of the step and riser and glued together with adhesive tape. This creates a cheek template that is transferred to a cheek panel and cut out.
  3. The cheek veneer is provided with assembly adhesive and fitted.

2. Prepare the old stages

There is a simple trick to ensure that the adhesive adheres better later: remove the old stair varnish by drilling.

Sometimes it is necessary to cut back the old step edge by one and a half to two centimeters so that the new step does not protrude over the stringer.

In the case of well-worn steps, a stabilization profile is also attached to the front edge of the steps and fixed with screws on both sides. The profile should be at least one millimeter away from the stringer on the side. This prevents the profile from rubbing against the cheek and squeaking when the stairs are loaded.

In order to reduce the creaking that is common with old wooden stairs, the old steps and risers can be screwed together in 3 to 5 places before covering, depending on the step width. A side screw connection of the steps to the cheek brings further improvement.

3. Assembling the step

Now the step can be installed. To do this, apply assembly adhesive parallel to the direction of travel and allow for pre-drilled adhesion holes. An additional strand of adhesive is attached to the inside of the front edge of the step element in order to secure the bond in the front edge area. Finally, do-it-yourselfers glue in the step, align it appropriately and press it down well.

4. Assembling the riser

After the step, the riser is now also provided with glue and glued in place.
As protection from below, suitable angle strips are provided with adhesive and glued between the riser and the leading edge of the stairs.

According to this principle, the laminate can be laid on the stairs step by step - from top to bottom.

5. Step surface and joints

The individual laminate panels can be laid on the tread with a simple click.
Finally, all seams should be sealed. Many manufacturers offer joint silicone in a matching color for the decor.

Before, afterwards

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Ingrid Lorbach


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