Can You Put Vinyl Flooring on Stairs? (How-To)

Many homeowners choose vinyl for their floors due to its affordability and versatility. But can you use vinyl flooring on stairs?

You can put vinyl flooring on stairs but it’s best to use luxury vinyl tiles or luxury plank vinyl for stairs. This is because luxury vinyl flooring is stronger, easy to clean, and more durable than vinyl sheets and other types of regular vinyl.

Also, luxury vinyl is designed with underlayment and has a rigid core which makes the flooring capable of withstanding heavy traffic and stomping on your stairs without suffering early damage. You’ll need to glue the vinyl flooring to the stairs to prevent the planks from shifting out of place over time.

This post reveals all you need to know about installing a vinyl floor on stairs including a 5-step method to carry out the task. So, let’s dive in.

Does Vinyl Floor Stick To Stairs?

Vinyl flooring sticks to stairs properly because vinyl is a floating floor. Being a floating floor, vinyl will stick to any surface as long as the surface is strong and flat. Also, the use of glue on the stairs before laying the vinyl flooring makes the vinyl floor stick better to the stairs.

The only reason vinyl might not stick or stay on stairs is if the stairs have suffered dents or any type of damage that has caused the stairs to be uneven.

The vinyl floor just like the laminate floor is a floating floor. And, floating floors can be installed on just about any stable and flat surface including stairs. This means that vinyl flooring will stick to your stairs as long as the stairs are in good condition, flat, and strong.

You should also know that glue or vinyl adhesive is usually put on the stairs before laying the vinyl floor. The purpose of the glue is to make the laminate floor stick better to the stairs so it doesn’t move out of place while you walk over it.

Should You Install Vinyl on Stairs? (Pros/Cons)

Next, let’s check out the pros and cons of installing vinyl flooring over the stairs.

Pros of Installing Vinyl Flooring On Stairs

Here are the perks you’ll enjoy from putting a vinyl floor over your stairs:

1. Easy DIY installation

Vinyl flooring is super easy to install as the planks come with a tongue and groove locking system that you just have to click and lock properly for the floor to be formed.

Unlike other floors that have to be prepped before laying on your stairs, vinyl flooring comes ready to use and you can install a vinyl floor on your stairs by yourself.

2. Moisture Resistance

Vinyl flooring is also known to be moisture resistant. Luxury vinyl flooring especially is waterproof which means that your stairs will be protected from water damage.

3. Easy to Clean and Maintain

Vinyl flooring is usually designed with a plastic sheet on the top layer of the floor which makes it difficult for stains and dirt to stick to the vinyl floor.

This means that stains on your vinyl stairs can be easily wiped off and you won’t even have to do much cleaning since stains hardly stick to the floor.

4. Versatility

There is hardly any type of flooring out there that is as versatile as vinyl. Vinyl flooring comes in different designs, colors, and patterns that can mimic or match the flooring in your home.

You can go for tile vinyl, luxury vinyl, or sheet vinyl. Whatever color or pattern you need, you are sure to get it with a vinyl floor.

5. Vinyl is Not Slippery

Unlike carpet floors, vinyl flooring is not slippery as the floor has good traction. So, you don’t have to worry about slipping or falling on your stairs.

6. Durability

When looking for a floor to put on your stairs, durability is a top concern as stairs are known to see foot traffic, hard shoe soles, and stomping.

With a vinyl floor, you don’t need to worry about any of these because vinyl flooring especially luxury vinyl is strong and durable enough to withstand the impact on the stairs.

Cons of Installing Vinyl Flooring On Stairs

Here are some disadvantages to consider before putting vinyl flooring on your stairs:

1. Vinyl Flooring is Tough to Remove

Since vinyl flooring is usually glued to the stairs, removing it later will be difficult and can even ruin your stairs. So if you are looking for a temporary provision on your stairs, stay away from vinyl flooring.

2. Vinyl Flooring is Prone to Discoloration

Vinyl flooring though durable is not weather-resistant. So if the treads will be exposed to heat and UV rays from the sun, you don’t want vinyl over them. Putting vinyl over such stairs will cause the vinyl floor to fade and discolor.

3. You Need Underlayment for Vinyl

The vinyl floor needs to sit on an underlayment to perform well on the stairs. Though some types of vinyl, like luxury vinyl comes with underlayment, others don’t. It can be difficult to get underlayment for such vinyl given the small surface of the stairs.

4. Stair Fittings Can Be Expensive

Getting the right stair treads, nose fittings, and trims can be expensive.

Next, let’s check out the types of vinyl flooring to use on stairs.

Types of Vinyl Flooring To Use On Stairs

You should only use vinyl flooring that is strong, durable, and moisture-resistant on your stairs. This is because stairs are high-traffic areas in the home.

So, you need a vinyl floor that is strong enough to withstand the high traffic on your stairs without moving out of place.

Here are the types of vinyl floors that are strong enough for your stairs:

Luxury Vinyl Planks

Luxury plank vinyl is a very durable and strong vinyl flooring. This vinyl floor comes in planks that should be arranged using a tongue and groove locking mechanism to click and lock the planks in place on your stairs. Luxury vinyl planks also have a hardwood-like appearance that comes in different shades and colors to match your floor or home décor.

The best part of this vinyl floor that makes it ideal on your stairs is its structure. Luxury plank vinyl is made up of several layers of recycled materials and wood fibers that make the flooring capable of handling high traffic on your stairs.

Also, the luxury vinyl plank has plastic sheeting on the top layer of the floor that makes it waterproof so the stairs will be protected from water damage. This vinyl floor will be great on your stairs.

Luxury Tile Vinyl

Luxury tile vinyl has a similar makeup to luxury plank vinyl. The main difference is that luxury tile vinyl is designed to mirror the appearance of a tiled floor while luxury planks have a hardwood appearance.

So, luxury tile vinyl will be ideal on your stairs if your floor is tiled. Asides from the tiled appearance, luxury tile vinyl is also very strong and will withstand stomping and hard shoe soles on your stairs.

Luxury tile vinyl also comes with a built-in underlayment that makes the flooring waterproof and resistant to mold growth. The luxury tile vinyl is also easy to clean and maintain as it doesn’t accept stains and dirt like regular hardwood flooring.

Composite Vinyl

Composite vinyl flooring isn’t 100% vinyl because this vinyl flooring contains other substances like stone plastic and recycled wood. This vinyl flooring will serve well on your stairs because it is very strong and reinforced with different materials to withstand heavy traffic and weight.

Composite vinyl also has a rigid core and waterproof sheeting that prevents mold and moisture damage on your stairs. This is one of the few types of vinyl flooring that can also be used on outdoor stairs.

You should ensure to stay away from sheet vinyl on your stairs as sheet vinyl is too thin and flexible to be used on stairs. For stairs, you need a rigid and strong floor like the ones listed above. Next, let’s find out how to install vinyl flooring on stairs.

How To Install Vinyl Flooring on Stairs?

To install vinyl flooring on stairs, you’ll need the following tools and supplies:

  • Wood caulk
  • Rubber mallet
  • Measuring tape
  • A jigsaw
  • Vinyl floor adhesive
  • Chisel
  • Sandpaper
  • Measuring tape
  • Vinyl flooring preferably luxury vinyl planks
  • Underlayment (if the vinyl plank wasn’t designed with underlayment)

Here is a 5-step guide to installing vinyl flooring over your stairs:

1. Prep The Stairs

Prep The Stairs

The first step is to prep the stairs for the vinyl flooring. Start by removing trims and baseboards around the stairs. You can use a chisel for this.

After, sand the treads (the part of the stairs that you step on). The purpose of sanding is to make the treads level and to remove bumps and stubborn stains. After sanding, remove dust and wipe the stairs.

2. Take Your Measurement

Take Your Measurement

The next step is to measure the length and width of the stairs with a measuring tape. This step is very important as it determines what the finish will look like. Ensure to pay attention to the edges and corners of the treads.

3. Trim The Vinyl Planks

Trim The Vinyl Planks

When you have your measurement, you have to trim the vinyl planks to fit the measurements of the stairs. For this, you’ll need a jigsaw.

Clamp the vinyl plank to the floor and use the jigsaw to cut the edges into size. If the treads on your stairs are narrow, you’ll need to trim the locks on the vinyl planks too since you won’t be connecting the planks.

4. Apply Vinyl Glue

Apply Vinyl Glue

After trimming the planks, fix them on the treads without glue. This is to see if the planks will fit on the treads. If the planks fit, apply vinyl floor adhesive on the back of the planks. If the planks don’t have an underlay, you’ll have to get one on the treads to make the planks sit properly.

5. Install The Planks

Install The Planks

After applying the adhesive, you can start placing the planks on the treads. It’s advised to do this from top to bottom so you don’t rest or step on the planks. You can use a rubber mallet to tap the planks so they can stick well to the stairs.

After installing the planks, ensure to leave them for at least 48 hours to acclimate on the stairs. After 48 hours, you can install the trims back in place. You can also put mats on the vinyl planks to protect them after installation.

Should You Glue Vinyl Flooring on Stairs?

You need to glue vinyl flooring to the stairs because the treads (the part you step on) on your stairway are not wide enough to allow you to lock multiple planks in place. So, you’ll need to glue each plank to the tread to prevent the vinyl planks from shifting and falling out of place. The vinyl glue helps the planks to stick better to the stairs.

Ordinarily, you don’t need always need to glue vinyl planks to the floor because the floor is usually wide enough to allow you to connect and lock several planks together using the tongue and groove locking mechanism.

So even if you don’t glue the planks to the floor, the locks will still keep them fixed in place. But on your stairs, it’s a different case because each tread on the stairway is not wide enough to accommodate several vinyl planks.

On your stairs, a vinyl plank can cover each tread meaning that the locks on the planks will not help the planks stay on the stairs. So, you’ll need to glue each plank to a tread on the stairs to allow the vinyl floor to stick.

If the treads were wide enough, then you could just use the locking mechanism of the vinyl to keep the planks in place. But, since the treads are narrow and will only accommodate one or two planks, you need to glue the vinyl flooring on the stairs.

FAQs About Installing Vinyl on Stairs

How Long Does Vinyl Flooring Last on Stairs?

Vinyl flooring usually lasts between 10 years and 25 years on stairs depending on the quality, type, and structure of the vinyl floor.

Strong vinyl flooring like luxury plank vinyl and luxury vinyl tile can last over 20 years on stairs. These types of vinyl floors are stronger and more durable than regular vinyl sheets.

On the other hand, regular vinyl floors and sheets usually do not last up to 10 years on stairs since they are not strong enough to handle the traffic on the stairs.

How Much Does It Cost To Install Vinyl Planks on Stairs?

The average cost of installing vinyl planks on stairs ranges between $300 and about $2000. This covers the cost of materials needed, labor, and the cost of the vinyl planks.

You should know that the cost of installing a vinyl floor on your stairs depends on the condition of the stairs, the type of vinyl flooring, and the need or not to pay for labor.

If you want to pay a professional to install a vinyl floor on your stairs, the cost will be more than installing the floor by yourself. Also, vinyl floors like luxury vinyl cost more than regular vinyl floors. So, the type of vinyl flooring that you want to put over your stairs determines the overall cost too.

Carpet vs Vinyl For Stairs

Carpet flooring is not as durable as a vinyl floor on your stairs. On average, the vinyl floor will last at least 15 years on the stairs especially if you use luxury vinyl while the carpet will not last up to 5 years.

Asides from the durability, vinyl flooring is also stronger and more capable of withstanding traffic and weight than carpet on your stairs.

It’s generally advised to go for luxury vinyl flooring on stairs than carpets. Vinyl flooring will give you a better finish, more comfort, and better protection than carpets.

Final Words

In summary, you can install a vinyl floor on your stairs because vinyl floors are durable, strong, and capable of withstanding traffic and weight on the stairs. Also, vinyl flooring is easy to install, clean, and maintain making it user-friendly and ideal for stairs.

However, you should remember that vinyl flooring is usually tough to remove especially if the flooring is glued to the stairs. So, this shouldn’t be used as a temporary provision on your stairs. Finally, ensure to use luxury vinyl on your stairs as these are stronger than sheet vinyl.

Leave a Comment