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Can You Put Vinyl Tiles On Stairs? (How To)

We often think about finishing off our floors with vinyl tile but what about doing stairs? Can you use vinyl tile for that part of the home?

You can install vinyl tiles on stairs but you have to glue them down. You could also use vinyl tile to finish off the look. As long as you install them properly, vinyl tiles can be a very beautiful part of the stairs and your home.

Vinyl flooring on the stairs

The fact that you have to glue vinyl tile down is confusing to a lot of people. After all, some of the most popular vinyl tiles snap together and they float over the subfloor rather than being attached to it.

It doesn’t matter what type of vinyl tile you are using, you can glue them to the floor. That is true of luxury vinyl tile, as well as composite vinyl tile and even tile that typically forms a floating floor.

When it is glued to the floor, it will be glued directly to the subfloor and not to any underlayment that may be used in the rest of the room. It will provide a very solid surface and it is usable and livable as well.

Can You Put Vinyl Tiles On Stairs? (How To)

Before we talk about some of the specifics of installing vinyl tile on stairs, it’s a good idea to familiarize ourselves with the different options that are available. Admittedly, we will probably be using the same vinyl tile that is used in the rest of the room either upstairs or downstairs, but there are times when we may want vinyl tile on the stairs and it isn’t in other parts of the home.

First of all, it might come as a surprise to you that there is a difference between luxury vinyl tile and vinyl tile. Generally speaking, luxury vinyl tile is thicker and it also has better visuals, so it is made to either look like stone or wood.

Vinyl tile may also have similar visuals but it is likely of lower quality. It also is thinner, so it will not have the luxury feel under your feet when it is installed in the room.

One thing to understand, however, is the fact that you are gluing the tile to the floor so the thickness is not going to make as much of a difference. You will not probably be able to tell the difference in the way lower-grade vinyl tile feels compared to luxury vinyl tile after it is installed on the stairs.

Other types of vinyl flooring can include luxury vinyl planks and sheet vinyl flooring. In any case, it can be used on the stairs, provided you glue it in place. Read about using vinyl planks on stairs.

We will take a look at some of the specifics about installing vinyl tile on stairs. We will also consider some of the reasons why it is a good idea and why you may want to consider another material for the installation.

Should You Put Vinyl Tiles On Stairs?

Vinyl flooring on the stairs

There is no problem with installing vinyl tile on the stairs. It can make a very good surface that can be used every day by even the busiest of families.

Then again, are there any reasons why you would not want to use vinyl tile on your stairs? This can make a difference in whether you should install it or not.

What are the pros of vinyl tile?

Durable – Undoubtedly, vinyl tile is one of the most durable floorings on the market. It can stand up to water, which is something that many other types of floor cannot claim. It also does not wear out quickly and can survive most spills, wear, and tear from a big family.

Beauty – When you install vinyl tile on the stairs, you are adding to the beauty of the home. It provides a faux look that can mimic stone or wood so closely that you might have a hard time telling the difference.

Comfort – Walking on vinyl tile is a lot more comfortable than walking on ceramic, porcelain, or even hardwood. It tends to have more of a padded feel because of the way it is layered.

Affordability – Compared to many other types of flooring, vinyl tile is very affordable. It is also easy to install.

What are some of the cons of installing vinyl tile on stairs?

Not Green – Many chemicals are used in the manufacturing and installation of vinyl floors. They will even continue to leak gases after they have been installed. This can be a problem in a concentrated area or where there is little ventilation, such as in the home.

Replacement – If you damage the vinyl tile or if the top layer wears, you will not be able to refinish it. The only option you have is to tear the old vinyl tile out and replace it.

Strength – Since you will be gluing the floor down, it will be solid but it will not be as strong as flooring that is either nailed or screwed down.

What Tools Do You Need To Put Vinyl Tiles On Stairs?

confused man standing

When you decide to install vinyl tile on stairs, you have to gather the necessary tools together. Fortunately, there are not many that are needed.

Tape Measures – A 12-foot tape measure would be ideal for measuring the individual tiles in case you have to cut them.

Carpenter Square – Any type of square will do, but you want to have something available that will easily mark a right angle.

Utility Knife – Although you can use a laminate cutter, it is just as easy to use a utility knife for this small job. Make sure that you keep a lot of blades handy because you will want to have a sharp blade at all times.

Stair Gauge – This is a very handy tool and if you use it, you will never be without it. It allows you to easily measure the stairs and then transfer that measurement to the vinyl tile.

You may need other tools as well, such as general Carpenters tools, a trowel, and a pencil. Make sure you have your toolbox handy so you can grab what you need.

What Preparations Do You Need To Install Vinyl Tiles On Stairs?

confused man standing

The real key to success with any job is preparation. This is also true of installing vinyl tiles on stairs. Here’s what you need to know:

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Subfloor – Vinyl tile is rather unforgiving when it comes to any imperfections in the subfloor. You want to work with the stairs carefully to get rid of those imperfections by sanding or filling holes.

Clean – If anything gets under the vinyl tile, it is going to show at some point or another. This is true of any gaps that may exist in the subfloor or even the smallest piece of dirt or a little pebble. It can ruin the look of the stairs.

Inspect – There may be some leftovers from an earlier installation of tile, carpet, or another type of floor. If there are any staples, nails, or screws that are protruding from the subfloor, it can ruin the vinyl tile installation.

Use a straight edge, such as a putty knife to scrape along the stairs and check for anything that catches the edge of the knife. No imperfection is too small to care for.

Nosing – This is not a necessary part of the process but it will make the installation a lot easier. If you have a nose on the stairs that sticks out over the top of the riser, you can remove it. The easiest way to do this is to add a board on the riser that is the same width as the nose.

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How To Install Vinyl Tiles On Stairs

confused woman standing

Now that you have prepared the area, it’s time to install the vinyl tile on the stairs.

Step 1: Measure – Get the measurements of the riser and tread on all of the stairs. Start from the top step and work your way down. Make sure you allow for the stair nosing.

Step 2: Cut – The riser tread and nosing should be done on the first stair at the top of the steps first. After cutting these pieces and dry fitting them in place, you will know if you are ready for the final installation.

Step 3: Inspect – Now is a good time to give everything one final visual inspection. Make sure that there is no imperfection in the subfloor that would show up in the vinyl tile

Step 4: Glue – Apply the glue to the subfloor and the back of the vinyl tile. You can use glue in a bucket or a caulking gun. It’s a good idea to use glue, even if you are using self-adhesive planks. Glue the tread in place, then the riser, and then the nosing.

Step 5: Repeat – Work your way down the stairs repeating for each stair until you reach the bottom.

Vinyl tiles work very well on stairs but you have to glue them down directly to the subfloor. You can use any type of vinyl tile on stairs when you work it this way, including luxury vinyl tile, peel and stick, and even tongue and groove tiles.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on October 2, 2022.

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