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We all know that hardwood flooring is stylish, durable, and easy to maintain but it often isn’t considered when we look at what flooring to add to staircases.  This is mainly because it is sometimes seen as hard work to install but that isn’t really the case.  The trick is knowing what to do and how to install hardwood flooring on staircases in the simplest way possible.

What you need to install hardwood flooring

Before you start adding the hardwood flooring to your staircase, there are a few things you need to do first.

The top of the list is to remove the old flooring and also to tidy up after it.  That means removing any nails, gripper rods or tack strips that might be on the floorboards as these can cause an uneven surface.  You may need to use a sander to clean things up, ensuring that all debris and dirt are removed as much as possible, otherwise this can lead to squeaking boards after the hardwood is installed.

You will also want to check that the steps are level.  Over time, with use, stairs can sag a little or become uneven.  It is important to get them as level as possible before adding any kind of flooring but most especially for things like hardwood or laminate flooring.

If you want to sand and paint the risers, you should do this before you add the flooring.  That way there’s no worries about paint getting into your new flooring boards and you can clear away all the sawdust before you start.

How to install hardwood flooring on staircases

To start with, you will need a few tools to do the job:

  • Pliers
  • Hammer
  • Belt sander (unless you’ve already done this part)
  • Spirit level
  • Chalk line
  • Protective gloves
  • Circular or another saw
  • Nails or recommended fittings

Use the chalk to make a line on each step to indicate how much needs to be removed then use a circular or other saw to make the cut.  Make sure the saw is parallel to the step and use a jigsaw if you need more detailed cuts.

Start installing from the bottom of the stairs with the first board cut to the width of the first riser.  Add the adhesive to the board and put it in place with the tongue facing upwards.  Hammer three nails along the bottom of the board then add more adhesive to the next board and place it on the top.  Give it a little tap to lock the tongue and groove together.

Keep repeating as you go up the stairs, making sure that you cut each board to the exact size of the stair – because this can vary slightly.  Don’t assume every step in the staircase is the same size, especially with older houses.

Grab some expert help

Installing hardwood flooring isn’t too much of a challenge if you have some basic skills in DIY and the right equipment.  But if you are unsure, you can always have a professional flooring installer handle the task for you and ensure you get a faultless hardwood floor staircase.