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How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring on Stairs

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By Donovan Carrington

Vinyl plank flooring is a popular and practical choice for homeowners who want to enhance the look and durability of their stairs. With its easy installation process and wide range of styles, vinyl plank flooring provides a cost-effective solution for upgrading your staircase. This article will guide you through installing vinyl plank flooring on stairs, ensuring a successful and professional-looking result.

What is vinyl plank flooring?

Vinyl plank flooring is a type of resilient flooring that mimics the appearance of natural hardwood or stone. It is made of multiple layers, including a durable wear layer, a realistic printed design layer, and a backing layer that provides stability and moisture resistance. Vinyl plank flooring offers various benefits, such as water resistance, easy maintenance, and affordability.

Why choose vinyl plank flooring for stairs?

Vinyl plank flooring is an excellent choice for stairs due to its durability and resistance to wear and tear. Unlike traditional hardwood flooring, vinyl planks are less prone to scratches, dents, and stains. They also provide better traction, making stairs safer, especially in high-traffic areas. Additionally, vinyl plank flooring comes in a wide range of colors and patterns, allowing you to achieve the desired aesthetic for your stairs.

Assessing the Stairs

Before diving into the installation process, it is essential to assess the stairs and ensure they are suitable for vinyl plank flooring. Here are the necessary steps:

Measuring the stairs

Start by measuring the dimensions of each step, including the width, length, and height. Accurate measurements will help you determine the amount of vinyl plank flooring needed and ensure a precise installation.

Checking the condition of the stairs

Inspect the stairs for any signs of damage or wear. Look for loose or broken steps, squeaky boards, or uneven surfaces. Addressing these issues before installing the vinyl plank flooring ensures a stable and long-lasting result.

Preparing the stairs for installation

Clear the stairs of any obstacles or existing flooring materials. If carpeting or other coverings exist, remove them carefully, cleaning the stairs thoroughly afterward. It’s important to have a clean and smooth surface for the vinyl plank flooring to adhere to.

Gather Materials and Tools

Before starting the installation process, gather all the necessary materials and tools. Here’s a list of items you will need:

  • Vinyl plank flooring: Choose a style and color that suits your taste and complements your home decor. Make sure to purchase enough to cover all the steps.
  • Underlayment: Depending on the type of stairs and the manufacturer’s recommendations, you may need underlayment to provide additional cushioning and noise reduction.
  • Adhesive: Select a high-quality adhesive specifically designed for vinyl plank flooring installation. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application.
  • Tapping block: A tapping block helps ensure the planks are securely fitted together without causing any damage during installation.
  • Utility knife: You’ll need a sharp utility knife to cut the vinyl planks to the appropriate size.
  • Measuring tape: Accurate measurements are crucial for a precise installation, so have a measuring tape on hand.
  • Safety equipment: To protect yourself during the installation process, wear safety goggles, gloves, and a dust mask if necessary.
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Prepare the Stairs

To ensure a successful installation, proper preparation of the stairs is essential. Follow these steps:

Remove any existing carpet or flooring

If your stairs have carpeting or other floor coverings, carefully remove them, ensuring not to damage the underlying surface. Use pliers or a utility knife to detach any staples or adhesive residue.

Clean the stairs thoroughly

After removing the existing flooring, clean the stairs thoroughly. Sweep or vacuum away any dust, dirt, or debris. Use a mild cleaning solution and a cloth to wipe down the stairs, removing any stains or sticky residue. Allow the stairs to dry completely before proceeding.

Repair any damaged areas

Inspect the stairs for any damaged or rotten wood. Replace or repair any broken or weakened steps, ensuring the stairs are structurally sound. Sand down rough or uneven areas to create a smooth surface for the vinyl plank flooring.

Sand or level uneven surfaces

If you have uneven surfaces on the stairs, such as protruding nails or ridges, sand them down to create a flat and level base. This step is crucial for a seamless and professional-looking installation.

Measure and Cut Vinyl Planks

Proper measurements and accurate cutting of the vinyl planks are essential for a precise and snug fit on the stairs. Follow these steps:

Measure the length and width of each step

Using a measuring tape, measure the length and width of each step individually. Take accurate measurements, accounting for any overhang or nosing if present. Write down these measurements for reference during the cutting process.

Mark and cut the vinyl planks accordingly

Using the measurements you recorded, transfer the dimensions onto the vinyl planks. Use a pencil or a marker to mark the cutting lines. Double-check the measurements to ensure accuracy and avoid any wastage.

Double-check measurements for accuracy

Before making any cuts, double-check your measurements one last time. Ensure that the dimensions are correct and match the size of each step. This attention to detail will save you from potential errors during the installation.

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Install Vinyl Plank Flooring

After you have prepared the stairs and cut the vinyl planks to the appropriate size, installing the flooring is time. Follow these steps to install vinyl plank flooring on stairs:

Apply adhesive to the stair tread

Applying a thin and even adhesive layer to the stair tread using a trowel or a suitable adhesive applicator. Ensure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the recommended type and adhesive application. Spread the adhesive evenly, covering the entire surface of the tread.

Place the vinyl plank on the tread

Carefully place the cut vinyl plank onto the adhesive-covered tread. Align it with the front edge of the step and press it firmly into place. If applicable, Ensure the plank is flat and properly aligned with the neighboring planks or the nosing.

Use a tapping block to ensure proper adhesion

Use a tapping block to ensure a secure bond between the vinyl plank and the tread. Place the tapping block against the edge of the plank and gently tap it with a mallet or a hammer. This action helps to eliminate any air pockets and ensures proper adhesion.

Repeat the process for each step

Continue applying adhesive, placing the vinyl planks, and using the tapping block for each step. Take your time to ensure that the planks fit tightly together, leaving no gaps or unevenness. Make any necessary adjustments or cuts as you progress to accommodate variations in step dimensions.

Trim and Finish

Once you have installed the vinyl plank flooring on all the steps, it’s time to trim and finish the edges for a polished look. Follow these steps:

Trim excess vinyl plank at the edges

Using a utility knife or a vinyl plank cutter, carefully trim any excess material at the edges of the steps. Take precise measurements and make clean cuts to achieve a neat and uniform appearance. Ensure that the trim is flush with the edges of the stairs.

Install stair nosing for a finished look

Consider installing stair nosing to provide a professional look to the stairs. Stair nosing is a protective molding covering the steps’ front edge. It adds durability and enhances the overall aesthetic appeal of the stairs. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install the stair nosing securely.

Clean the stairs and remove any adhesive residue

After completing the installation and trimming process, thoroughly clean the stairs. Remove any adhesive residue or debris using a suitable adhesive remover or a recommended cleaning solution. Wipe down the stairs with a damp cloth to ensure they are free from any residue or marks.

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Maintenance and Care

Vinyl plank flooring on stairs requires regular maintenance to keep it looking its best and prolong its lifespan. Here are some maintenance tips:

  • Regularly sweep or vacuum the stairs to remove dust, dirt, and debris.
  • Use a damp mop or a recommended vinyl floor cleaner to clean the stairs periodically. Avoid excessive moisture or harsh chemicals that may damage the flooring.
  • Immediately clean up any spills or stains to prevent them from setting in.
  • Place doormats at the top and bottom of the stairs to minimize the tracking of dirt and grit onto the vinyl flooring.
  • Avoid dragging heavy objects or furniture across the stairs to prevent scratching or damaging the surface.
  • If you notice any minor scratches or damages, use a vinyl floor repair kit or consult a professional for guidance on repairing and restoring the flooring.


Installing vinyl plank flooring on stairs is a rewarding project that can transform the appearance and functionality of your staircase. You can achieve a beautiful and durable result by following the step-by-step process outlined in this article. Remember to take accurate measurements, prepare the stairs properly, and use the right tools and materials for a successful installation.

Now that you have the knowledge and guidance, you can confidently enhance your home’s interior with stylish and practical vinyl plank flooring on your stairs.


Can vinyl plank flooring be installed on curved stairs?

Vinyl plank flooring is generally not recommended for curved stairs. The rigid nature of vinyl planks makes it challenging to bend and conform to the curved shape of stairs. It is best suited for straight or slightly angled stairs.

Is it necessary to use underlayment?

Using underlayment is not always necessary for vinyl plank flooring on stairs. However, it can provide additional cushioning, sound absorption, and stability. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific vinyl plank flooring to determine if an underlayment is required.

Can I install vinyl plank flooring on concrete stairs?

Yes, you can install vinyl plank flooring on concrete stairs. Ensure the concrete surface is clean, level, and moisture-free. Use an appropriate adhesive designed for vinyl flooring installation on concrete and follow the recommended application process.

How long does it take to install vinyl plank flooring on stairs?

The installation time for vinyl plank flooring on stairs can vary depending on factors such as the number of steps, the complexity of the staircase, and individual proficiency. Generally, it may take several hours to a full day to complete the installation.

Can I install vinyl plank flooring on the stairs myself?

Yes, with proper preparation, tools, and guidance, you can install vinyl plank flooring on stairs yourself. Following the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines ensures a successful and professional-looking installation. However, if you are unsure or uncomfortable with the process, it is always recommended to seek professional assistance.

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Donovan Carrington


Donovan Carrington, a flooring expert with extensive experience of over 25 years, is the driving force behind Flooring Explorer. Initially working as a flooring installer, Donovan gained hands-on experience with different flooring materials such as hardwood, laminate, vinyl, and tile. His profound knowledge and expertise in flooring technologies and installation techniques have established him as a respected authority in the industry.