What flooring should I install on stairs in a house with all laminate?
January 1, 2014 4:42 PM   Subscribe

My traditional, two-story house currently has dark laminate on the first floor, carpeting on the stairs leading to the second floor, and carpet on the second floor (containing a hallway and three bedrooms). I'd like to get rid of the carpet and replace it with something else - likely laminate. How should I handle the stairs?

My current plan is to continue the dark laminate in the upstairs hallway, and likely on the stairs, to maintain flow from the first floor. Then the bedrooms would be done in a coordinating lighter color (likely laminate based on cost and durability). But I've heard that laminate is a poor choice for stairs - primarily because it's slippery and hard to install.

Any advice on what to do with the stairs in this situation? Is it possible to install a runner on laminate? Or is it better to install hardwood treads stained to match the laminate as best as possible? Or is there another solution? I figure this must be a fairly common issue.

In terms of priorities, I'm intent on getting rid of the carpet and I want the flooring to flow well throughout the house. I don't want to spend a fortune, but am willing to spend more to get a good outcome. I don't, however, want to rip out the laminate on the first floor to install hardwoods throughout - that'd be nice but beyond my budget.
posted by pitseleh to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
I would go with hardwood treads, for sure. If you're worried about match, then go for a different color that compliments what you have...maybe with more red or even darker than what's on the floor, so that it looks like a deliberate choice to change materials.
posted by xingcat at 4:45 PM on January 1, 2014

What's under the carpeting? Even if it's just pine, some dark filler, dark stain and verathane might make then look pretty good. Whatever you do, don't put laminate on the upright portion of the treads because it makes the steps narrower and can be a bit dangerous.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:48 PM on January 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hard-surface stairs can definitely be nasty-slippery, especially if you're a socks-in-house person.

As someone who's done a couple tumbles on both hardwood and marble steps, I'd definitely consider a runner carpet (well-)fastened to real hardwood treads, leaving a couple of pretty hardwood inches on each side. Then you get the look you want, and some of the grip you will need.
posted by rokusan at 5:58 PM on January 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

The only installed carpet (a berber) in our house is the stairs as most of us have had a small incidental tumble since the soft carpet has cushioned us from more serious damage. In the future I will consider a runner perhaps like this - make sure to scroll down to see the finished project with painted sides. DIY not necessary of course.
posted by RoadScholar at 4:42 PM on January 2, 2014

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