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April 12, 2021
Without any shadow of a doubt, the product that we get the most questions about is our SPC flooring. It makes sense - it’s a bigger scale project, with more necessary considerations, and is most likely to be somewhat daunting for a first-timer. We’re always so excited to hear from someone who’s gearing up to tackle an SPC installation with their own two hands and we want to give you as much information, help and moral support as we possibly can!
We had the opportunity over the course of our office renovation to create some content to walk you through the installation process, so you can look forward to those videos becoming available in the near future. In the meantime, we thought we’d address one specific installation question: how to go about installing SPC on stairs. It’s a somewhat different process than the main installation, with a bit more detail to tackle, but definitely manageable - read on for our list of steps and helpful tips!
STEP ONE: GET YOUR MEASUREMENTS
Stairs have three components: the tread, which is the surface you actually step on; the riser, the vertical part of the stair; and the nosing, which is the edge. You’ll need enough flooring to cover the tread and the riser, as well as stairnoses (flush or overlapping, more on that later) for the edges of the stairs. It can seem like an ordeal to calculate the square footage of stairs, but it’s really just a series of basic calculations - it’ll take some care and attention to detail, so grab your tape measure, a notebook (or the notes app of your choice) and a calculator and let’s get to it!
Let’s start by calculating the square footage for the treads. Take your tape measure and place it at the base of your stairs, and measure the width of that first stair: this will be your length measurement. Next, measure the tread from the front edge to the edge of the first rise: that’s your width measurement. Count your stairs and multiply the number of stairs by the length to get your total length measurement. Multiply that total length by the width to get the square footage you need for your stair treads.
Place your tape measure at the base of one of your stair risers and measure the distance from the base to the top of the riser. Multiply this by the total number of risers to get your total stair height. Multiply this by the length measurement measurement from your treads calculation (the original one, not the total) to get the square footage you need for your stair risers.
Combine the riser and tread measurements to get your total square footage.
Your total length measurement does double duty here - it’s also the measurement for the total length of stairnosings required.
You’ve got two options when it comes to nosings - flush, where the edge of the nosing sits cleanly against the edge of the plank, and overlapping, where the edge of the nosing overlaps the edge of the plank. The choice is really up to personal preference, as well as the depth of the stair.
STEP 2: REMOVE OLD FLOORING + SMOOTH IT OUT
Time to tear up the old flooring. Whether it’s laminate, hardwood, vinyl, carpet - it’s got to go! If you’re removing carpet, use pliers to pull it up, and be sure you get the tackstrip, too. You might need a pry bar for that. Staples can either be pulled up with pliers, hammered back into place, or removed with a scraper. If you’re removing other flooring, a pry bar will likely be your best friend. If your laminate is super, super stuck, you can cut your losses and just make sure it is absolutely smooth, sanding it and any sticking-out parts down to flat. Sanding down old paint and adhesive is an absolute must - and you should also take this change to repair any loose steps!
Take a lot of care with this part. Having a smooth, clear subfloor is absolutely necessary for a good, solid stair installation - just as it is with a floor install! And be sure to protect yourself, as the nails and staples can be very sharp. Gloves are a must, and, if you’re sanding, grab some goggles and a mask!
STEP 3: SAY GOOD BYE TO THE OVERHANG
The overhang is that bit of tread that juts out over the riser. For a new stair installation, this overhang needs to be removed. You’ve got two options here - you can choose to fill it in with plywood, or to trim it off. To cut it off, you can use a jigsaw or reciprocating saw, and then chisel to trim and, of course, sand it down. If you’d like to fill it in with plywood, use that riser measurement to get your plywood measurement, glue it in with vinyl plank adhesive, and then secure with nails. Either option will work, but trimming the overhang is the simpler way to go.
STEP 4: CUT FLOORING TO SIZE
You’ll need to trim your planks down to fit the stairs. Trimming the length is easy-peasy; the element where you’ve got some options is the width. Depending on the stair depth, you can choose to either go with using one full width plank and one thinner plank, or two trimmed planks of equal depth: it really depends on which look you prefer, and how much cutting you’re willing to do. You’ll also need to trim your stairnoses at this time. Be meticulous with your measurements and take your time!
Once your planks are trimmed to your specifications, secure them together: apply some vinyl plank adhesive to the click and lock portion and then click the planks together. This will ensure that the plank is solid and easy to secure to the stair. You’ll need to do this for both the treads and the risers.
STEP 5: TIME TO INSTALL!
You can choose to start at the top or the bottom, depending on the configuration of your home, but you should definitely plan not to use your stairs for at least 12 hours - the adhesive will need to cure!
Let’s start with the tread. Apply lines of adhesive about six inches apart to the subfloor of the tread, avoiding the nosing edge. Take your secured stair tread and place firmly onto the adhesive, wiping off any adhesive that squeezes onto the plank with a damp cloth.
Risers next; the process is about the same as the treads, with the potential addition of nails at the top of the plank (which will be concealed by the stairnose) for extra security.
Last, the stairnoses. You’ll need vinyl plank adhesive for that and potentially nails at the very edge of the nosing for extra security. Make sure the edges are just where you want them, and that everything sits tight together.
And then - let the adhesive cure! Be sure to read the package of theadhesive you’re working with and respect that settling period.
There you have it - newly SPC-d stairs, executed by none other than little ol’ you. It’s definitely a manageable process when you can see all the steps laid out for you. It’s made even more manageable by a piece called a “stair tread” - this component combines the plank and the nosing into ONE PIECE. We’re beyond excited to be adding stair treads in all our SPC colors in the very near future - stay tuned for more information about that in the coming weeks.What do you think? Does it sound like something you can tackle on your own? Is there any part of the process that you need more details on? Let us know if the comments, or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll be more than happy to help.
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