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Can You Put Peel and Stick Tile on Stairs? (How To)

If you’re looking for a quick DIY method of changing how your home looks that is affordable as well, renovating your stairs might be a good start. You can easily apply peel-and-stick tiles on your stairs to dress up your stairway and create a whole new atmosphere without spending a lot of money.

Putting peel-and-stick tiles on your stairs is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to completely change how it looks. It’s ideal if you want to change things up without breaking the bank.

confused man standing

These tiles are fairly easy to install and the project won’t take forever, but you need to take the right precautions. This means you have to prepare the surface of the stairs so your installation can last long and look good.

Should You Put Peel and Stick Tile on Stairs?

Wooden stairs

Putting peel-and-stick tiles on any surface seems like a cool idea that won’t require a lot of effort. But does that mean you should be putting these types of tiles on your stairs? 

There is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to put peel-and-stick tiles on your stairs. Even the oldest, most sophisticated stairway will still look good and stylish with the right peel-and-stick tiles.

You can modernize your stairway or keep its original appearance by choosing peel-and-stick tiles that fit the look you’re trying to achieve. You may have to shop around quite a bit before finding the perfect tiles for your unique stairway though.

As mentioned before, there are some preparatory steps to follow when installing these tiles, and we’ll discuss that in just a bit. First, let’s look at the tools you need for this kind of project.

What Tools Do You Need to Put Peel and Stick Tile on Stairs?

tools for stairs

Your peel-and-stick tiles project will only be as easy and successful as the tools you’re using allow. Sure, being careful not to mess up is important, but it’s also important to have the right tools closely as you work.

Using the right tools to install peel-and-stick tiles on your stairway will ensure a job well done and avoid frustrations and difficulties down the road. You’ll need tools such as a measuring tape, safety goggles, a metal ruler, and a utility knife.

You’ll also need chalk or pencil to make measurement marks.

What Preparations Do You Need to Put Peel and Stick Tile on Stairs?

Wooden stairs

Before you put peel-and-stick tiles on your stairs, you need to follow a few prep steps that will ensure a successful project. Neglecting to follow these steps may result in a poor installation and cause problems for you down the road.

You need to prepare the tiles before they’re installed, which means they need to acclimate to the room at least 48 hours ahead of time. You’ll also need to ensure that the stairs are completely level and clean.

It’s best to measure your stairs before heading to the shops to find the most attractive peel-and-stick tiles you can find. Most stairs have a riser height of 7 inches, give or take a little bit. The tread depth can be either 10 or 11 inches, and the nosing can add up to 1 1/4 inches. Keep these factors (and others that might be unique to your stairs) in mind before you buy anything.

You need to check how level the stairs are too, to ensure a good installation. And let the new peel-and-stick tiles acclimate by putting them in the room where the stairs are at least two days before starting the project.

How to Put Peel and Stick Tile on Stairs

confused man standing

Putting peel-and-stick tiles on your stairs won’t take days, and it won’t require a lot of effort, but it’s still a project that should be taken seriously. If you don’t approach this with the same professional attitude as any other home renovation project, you may regret it later.

You will find that putting peel-and-stick tiles on stairs is a lot easier than putting down a runner or new carpet, and it can change how your stairway looks. You’ll need to measure the stairs carefully and ensure your tiles are the correct size before starting the project.

Here’s a more detailed look at how to put peel-and-stick tiles on stairs. There may be quite a few steps involved, but it should be easier done than said.

Step One

Before you start your renovation project, you should measure your stairs carefully. According to the international code for stairs, the riser height needs to be 7 3/4 inches or less, and the tread depth has to be no less than 11 inches. It can be 10 inches with the nosing adding about 1 inch or more.

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Keep this in mind when you go shopping for your tiles, especially if you want to cover all of the stairway.

Step Two

The next step, which should also be taken care of before you start your project, is making sure the new tiles are given a chance to acclimate to the humidity and temperature in the room of the stairs. 

You should let the tiles spend about two days in the room so they can properly get acclimated and avoid any bumps and lumps after the installation.

Step Three

If there is carpet on your stairs, it now needs to be removed carefully and properly. Once you’ve pulled up the carpet, you may have to use a good adhesive remover to get rid of the glue that stays behind.

Step Four

Should there be any staple or nail holes left behind after the carpet removal, you can use a good wood filler to fill the holes. Let the filler dry completely and then sand it smooth to ensure you’ll have an even surface to work with when installing the peel-and-stick tiles.

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Step Five 

Once you’re done with steps one to four, you should give the stairs a proper cleaning. Vacuum or sweep the stairs and make sure you get rid of all and any debris and dust before you start installing your new tiles.

Step Six

Some stairs may be covered with ceramic tiles or vinyl, and if that’s the case for you, you have to use a leveling compound in order to fill the grout lines. If that’s not something you want to do, you can screw or glue down thin plywood so all the surfaces are even.

It’s crucial that you ensure that the stairs are clean, smooth, and dry before you start to put down the peel-and-stick tiles.

Step Seven

You can start the installation by putting the tiles on the risers. You can put the tiles on the risers only, and the stairway will still look really nice. Make sure the tiles fit neatly between the tread and the nose for a clean, professional appearance.

Step Eight

At this point, you may have to cut the tiles a little bit to make them fit perfectly. For this step, use a high-quality utility knife and a metal ruler. 

Next, measure the center of the stairway and mark it with chalk or pencil. You’ll have to center the first tile you put down on the riser that is at your eye level because that’s what people will notice first. 

Tape can be used to keep the tile in place while you determine the right position. Once you’re happy, you can remove the backing from the bottom corner, align the tile again, and then press it into the right place.

Now, peel the rest of the backing off at a diagonal while you gently but firmly press down. You should align the center tiles on the rest of your stair risers and install them in the same fashion.

Work your way across every riser, making sure to keep the bottoms and tops even. If necessary, trim the sides of the tiles so they can fit neatly against your walls.

Step Nine

You can now look at covering the treads with more tiles in the same pattern, or you can break up the decor by using tiles in a solid color that matches.

Step Ten

Before you put down the tiles on the treads, make sure they’re clean because any debris, no matter how small, can cause visible bumps. Cut and fit the tiles as necessary so they fit perfectly.

You can use a J-roller to make sure the tiles are placed correctly and then press on them gently, but firmly, to remove air pockets and bubbles.

Don’t walk on the stairway for the next three days after the installation to give the glue time to cure and ensure that the tiles are firmly installed.

Step Eleven

The last step involves finishing the steps’ edges. You can paint the edges so they don’t look odd in comparison with the rest of the stairway. Alternatively, you can install self-adhesive edging if you want to.

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