Installing Vinyl Flooring On Stairs (Can You Do it & How To)

Vinyl is a great choice for your floors due to its affordability and versatility. But, can you use vinyl flooring on stairs?

You can install vinyl flooring on stairs, but you must use luxury vinyl tiles or planks for stairs. That’s because the luxury vinyl floor is stronger, easier to clean, and more durable than vinyl sheets. 

Also, luxury vinyl flooring (LVP) is designed with underlayment and has a rigid core, making the floor capable of withstanding heavy foot traffic. However, you must glue the vinyl flooring to the stair to prevent planks from shifting out of place.

Vinyl Floors Stick To Stairs

Vinyl flooring sticks to stairs because it’s a floating floor. Being a floating floor, vinyl will stick to any strong and flat surface. However, you must use glue to help vinyl flooring stick on stairs better. 

If the stairs are damaged or have dents or an uneven surface, vinyl flooring won’t stick. That’s because vinyl flooring doesn’t stick to uneven surfaces. Also, an uneven surface won’t allow the vinyl flooring lock mechanisms to click. 

If the stairs are riddled with bumps, you must remove the imperfections before installing vinyl flooring. For wood floors, sand the surface and remove the bumps and imperfections. If the stairs have holes or cracks, apply a wood filler to repair or fill the holes before installing vinyl flooring. 

Pros/Cons of Installing Vinyl on Stairs

Here are the pros and cons of installing vinyl flooring over the stairs.

Pros

  1. Easy DIY installation – Vinyl flooring is easy to install because the planks (or tiles) come with a “tongue and groove locking system” that click and lock the planks with each other. Unlike other floors, vinyl flooring is ready to use, and you can install it yourself.
  2. Moisture-resistant – Vinyl flooring is moisture-resistant. For instance, luxury vinyl flooring is waterproof, meaning your stairs will be protected from water damage. 
  3. Easy To Clean – Vinyl floors come with a plastic sheet top layer, meaning dirt and stains don’t stick to the floor. So, you don’t have to do much cleaning for vinyl stairs.
  4. Versatility – Vinyl flooring comes in different designs, colors, and patterns that match different types of floors. You can choose tile vinyl, luxury vinyl, or sheet vinyl. 
  5. Durability – Vinyl floors, especially luxury vinyl, are durable and will withstand foot traffic and stomping on your stairs. 

Cons

  1. Hard To Remove – Since you will glue vinyl to stairs, removing it later will be difficult and can ruin the stair surface. So, if you are looking for a temporary floor for your stairs, don’t use vinyl. 
  2. Underlayment – You must install underlayment before installing lino on stairs. But, it’s hard to get underlayment because of the small surface of the stairs. However, some types of vinyl, such as luxury vinyl, come with underlayment. 
  3. Stair Fitting – It’s expensive to get the right stair treads, nose fittings, and trims. 

Types of Vinyl Flooring To Use On Stairs

You must use a lino on stairs that is strong, durable, and moisture-resistant. That’s because stairs are high foot traffic areas, and you need durable flooring to withstand it. 

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

Luxury Vinyl Planks

Luxury vinyl planks are durable, strong, and a great choice for vinyl stairs. They come in planks and stick using the “tongue and groove” locking mechanism. LVP has a hardwood-like appearance that comes in different shades and colors to match your floor or home decor.

Luxury vinyl planks are ideal for your stairs because of their structure. They are made of several layers of recycled materials and wood fibers, making the floor durable enough to handle high foot traffic on your stairs. 

Luxury vinyl planks have a plastic sheeting top layer that makes the floor waterproof. So, luxury vinyl planks will protect stairs from water damage or spills. 

Luxury Vinyl Tiles

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

Aside from the tiled appearance, luxury vinyl tile is strong and will withstand stomping and hard shoe soles on your stairs. It also comes with a built-in underlayment that makes the floor waterproof. The luxury vinyl tile is 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 stone plastic and recycled wood. This vinyl flooring will work well on your stairs because it is strong and reinforced with different materials to withstand heavy traffic and weight.

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

Note: Don’t use sheet vinyl on your stairs as the sheet vinyl is too thin and flexible to be used on stairs. If you use sheet vinyl on stairs, the vinyl will get damaged easily, and you will have to replace the floor often.

How To Install Vinyl Flooring on Stairs?

Here are the tools you need:

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

1. Prep The Stairs

Prep The Stairs

First, prep the stairs for vinyl flooring. Remove trims and baseboards around the stairs using a chisel. 

After, sand the treads (the part of the stairs you step on). Sanding will remove bumps and stubborn stains from the treads. After sanding, remove the dust and clean the stairs.

2. Take Your Measurement

Take Your Measurement

Measure the length and width of the stairs using a measuring tape. Pay attention to the edges and corners of the treads. Write down the dimensions so you can know the size of the vinyl planks 

3. Trim The Vinyl Planks

Trim The Vinyl Planks

Using the measurements (size) of your stains, trim the vinyl planks to fit the size of the stairs. 

4. Apply Vinyl Glue

Apply Vinyl Glue

Once you have the vinyl planks in the correct size, fix them over the stairs (without glue) to see if they fit. If the vinyl flooring fits on your stairs, remove the vinyl and apply glue over the stairs and on the back of the vinyl planks. 

If the vinyl planks don’t have underlayment, you must install one first. 

5. Install The Vinyl Flooring

Install The Planks

Once you apply glue on the stairs and planks, install the vinyl on the stairs. Install the planks from top to bottom. You can use a rubber mallet to tap the planks so they can stick better. 

After installing the planks, wait 48 hours until the vinyl planks acclimate. After 48 hours, install the trims and start using the stairs. 

Gluing Vinyl Floors on Stairs

You must glue vinyl flooring to the stairs because the stair treads aren’t wide enough to allow the planks to lock with each other. You will use one vinyl plank on one stair, so you must glue that vinyl. Glueing prevents vinyl planks from moving or falling out of place.

However, if the stairs are wide enough to allow 3 vinyl planks, you don’t have to glue them. That’s because you can use the lock mechanisms to lock multiple vinyl planks with each other. This prevents the vinyl from moving. 

You must use vinyl glue and allow the glue to dry for 24-48 hours before using the stairs. If you use the vinyl flooring too soon, the glue won’t dry properly, and the vinyl won’t stick. Also, the stairs must be fully dry before applying the glue.

Things To Know:

Durability

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

Strong vinyl flooring, such as luxury plank vinyl and 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 don’t last up to 10 years on stairs since they are not strong enough to handle the traffic on the stairs.

Cost

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

However, the cost of installing vinyl flooring for 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 yourself. Also, vinyl floors, like luxury vinyl, cost more than regular vinyl floors. So, the type of vinyl flooring you want to put over your stairs also determines the overall cost.

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, 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. This is because vinyl flooring will give you a better finish, more comfort, and better protection than carpets.

Final Words

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, vinyl flooring is 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