How to Install Hardwood Flooring in a Staircase

Posted by Adam Zielinski
on June 6, 2023

Installing hardwood flooring in a staircase can add beauty and durability to your home, but it can also be a challenging DIY project. In this article, we’ll take you step-by-step through the process of installing hardwood flooring on a staircase, from measuring and preparing new flooring for the stairs to cutting and finishing the wood like an experienced installer. Whether you’re looking to upgrade an outdated staircase or simply add a touch of elegance to your home with white oak or red oak hardwood stairs, our guide will provide you with the knowledge and skills on how to install hardwood flooring in a staircase. So, let’s get started!

Step 1: Measure the Staircase

The first step in installing hardwood on stairs is to measure the staircase. It’s important to measure each stair tread and riser accurately to ensure you have enough flooring for the best flooring project.

Start by measuring the width and length of each stair tread and riser using a tape measure. Then, calculate the total square footage of your staircase by multiplying the width and length of each stair tread.

Finally, add up the square footage of each stair to get the total amount of flooring you’ll need for installing hardwood on stairs. Taking accurate measurements at the beginning of the project will save you time and money in the long run.

Bright Spiral Staircase With Polished Wood

Step 2: Remove the Old Hardwood Floors

Before installing new hardwood on stairs, it’s important to remove any old flooring that may be in place, along with the existing nosing. This could include carpeted stairs with a tack strip, vinyl, or even existing hardwood planks.

Removing old flooring and existing nosing on stairs that will ensure a clean, level surface for your new hardwood floors to be installed on. Begin by using a pry bar or pliers to remove any moldings or trim around the stairs.

Then, use a utility knife or flooring scraper to remove the old flooring material. Be sure to remove all nails, staples, or other debris from the stairs to create a smooth surface. Once the old flooring is removed, vacuum and clean the stairs to prepare for the installation process.

Step 3: Install the Stair Nose on the Stair Treads

The next step in installing hardwood flooring on stairs is to install the stair nose on each stair tread. The stair nose is a molding that goes on the edge of the hardwood stair tread or wooden shims to create a finished look and protect the hardwood flooring from wear and tear over time.

Start by measuring the length of each stair tread and cut the stair nose to fit. Apply wood glue to the back of the stair nose and press it firmly onto the front of the stair tread. Use finishing nails to secure the stair nose in place, making sure to countersink the nails so they are flush with the surface.

Repeat this process for each stair tread, ensuring that each stair nose is installed at the same height for a consistent look and stair runner.

Red Oak Boards Being Glued Together For Staircase Tread

Step 4: Install the Riser and Tread Piece

With the stair nose installed, you can begin installing the actual hardwood flooring on stairs. Starting at the bottom of the wooden staircase itself, measure and cut the first riser and tread pieces to size, using a saw to make precise cuts.

Apply a thin layer of construction adhesive to the back of each piece and press it firmly onto the stair, making sure it’s flush with the stair nose with no excess adhesive. Use finishing nails to secure rounded edges of the pieces in place, making sure to nail at an angle to avoid hitting the edge of the piece above.

Repeat this process for each riser and tread piece, working your way up the staircase until you reach the top. Double-check your measurements and cuts as you go to ensure a precise fit.

Step 5: Cut and Trim the Hardwood

After installing the hardwood flooring on each stair, you’ll likely need to cut and trim the wood to fit the unique dimensions of your staircase. This may involve cutting the flooring to fit around corners or edges, or trimming the flooring to fit precisely against the stair riser.

Start by measuring the space where the hardwood needs to be cut or trimmed, then use a saw to make precise cuts. Use sandpaper to smooth any rough edges or corners. Make sure to use safety goggles and a dust mask when cutting and sanding the hardwood.

Repeat this process for each stair until all pieces fit snugly and securely on stair steps.

Handyman Building Staircase In A Natural Light

Step 6: Sand and Finish

With the best flooring installed and trimmed to fit your staircase, it’s time to sand and finish the wood. Sanding the hardwood will help create a smooth surface and remove any rough spots or imperfections.

Start by using a coarse grit sandpaper to remove any high spots or bumps, then move to a finer grit sandpaper to create a smooth finish. Once the sanding is complete, you can apply a stain or sealer to the hardwood to protect it from wear and tear over time.

Apply the stain or sealer evenly using a brush or roller, then allow it to dry completely before applying a second coat if necessary.

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Adam the owner of Supreme Flooring

Adam entered the hardwood flooring business in 1994 in Poland. He worked in a small family business supplying wood for the flooring manufacturers. In 1996 he became a salesman of innovative laminate flooring products working for Classen - a Germany based company. In 2002 he decided to enter the Canadian flooring business. Ever since his move to Canada, he has been working in Mississauga in the hardwood floor installation field.

Today, thanks to his extensive experience in hardwood, laminates and custom stairs makeovers his company offers its clients supreme quality of services.



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