I’m installing laminate flooring on my stairs. One thing that has me unsure is the underlayment. Do you need underlayment with laminate flooring on stairs?
– Elaine K.
Great question! Underlayment is usually such a crucial part of laminate flooring installations, but when it comes to your staircase, you can leave your underlayment behind.
When you install laminate flooring on your stairs, you must glue the planks to the thread and riser. You cannot use the click and lock installation method for this type of install. If your flooring has underlayment attached, you will need to remove it before installing on stairs.
What About Moisture?
One common concern is moisture. Underlayment is used to prevent moisture damage, such as warping or buckling. On stairs, this usually does not pose a big risk.
Stairs are most often wood based. That means that moisture has already proven to not be a threat. If for any reason you’re concerned about moisture, such as stairs above a crawl space, you might want to reconsider using laminate flooring all together for the stairs. Choose another type of flooring that is more moisture resistant.
What About Temperature?
Temperature fluctuations are another important considerations. Since laminate flooring is made of wood, it expands and contrasts depending on the temperature. When using a stair nose, the laminate is able to expand on stairs.
If your staircase is located in a spot where temperature changes are pronounced, you might want to consider using a different flooring material. This will prevent them from damage during expanding and contracting
Most laminate flooring installations are simple because of the modern click to lock method. However, when it comes to stairs, you need to use a different approach to accommodate the unique installation style.
Hi Gary, thanks for the question. The biggest concern with leaving the underlayment on is that the plank is not glued with stability. The underlayment is glued to the plank, so you’re adhering the step to a glued on material, which could come loose over time. You can choose to do either one, but that is the reasoning behind detaching the underlayment. Hope that helps!
I am installing Provenza Rigid Core ESPC w/Underlayment Pad Attached with a flush mount matching stair nose on a run of stairs. With the underlayment attached to the tread the installation would be perfect flush to the stair nose. If i strip the backing I no longer have a flush nose to tread but rather a step equal to the thickness of the padding (~2-3 mm). Is possible the padding does not require strip? I know some cork backings do not require a strip. Am I stuck coming up with a shim to make up the difference of the underlayment? Provenza has been no help and simply said it must be floating which is not acceptable for a stair installation.
Thank you, Gary
Hello Tom – I am sorry, but ordinances are beyond the scope of our flooring knowledge. I would recommend contacting your city or state to find out if this would be against any ordinances. You should also make sure to check your flooring manufacturer to make sure that you do not void your flooring warranty by gluing the rubber underlayment to your flooring. Good luck on your installation!
Can I be more specific: Is it AGAINST ANY ORDINANCE to have solid 12mm rubber soundproofing glued between the wooden stair treads and the bamboo hardwood flooring? I would also nail the treads once on top of the rubber.
I can’t find regulations that said you cannot have that in between. I just read that you don’t need it on treads…
Hi Tom – You should not glue your underlayment to your floor if you are gluing the flooring down to the subfloor. You should not be using underlayment on stair threads either. Please read our blog article: Installing Underlayment With Laminate Flooring on Stairs. If you have any further questions, I would recommend contacting the manufacturer of your flooring or the California Board for suggestions. We are a retailer of flooring in Ohio, so we are not knowledgeable of California’s codes and regulations. Good luck on your installation!
In California I am required to put down soundproofing underlayment for my click lock bamboo hardwood flooring on the second floor unit. It installs similar to floating laminate wood. The soundproofing adds 12mm (0.472in) to the final landing/top step which is the front room that the bamboo was installed.
California code does not allow the variation between risers to be more than 3/8 inch (0.375 in). If I glue the bamboo on top of the wood base for each tread, I will have exceeded the limit allowed by code.
The only way I see this happening is if I glue the rubber soundproofing to the threads and glue the bamboo for the threads on the rubber soundproofing. Unless you have another recommendation? Thanks in advance.
Hi Maria – great question! If you do not want to remove the tile, I would suggest filling in any grout lines that may be present to create as smooth and even of a surface as possible. When you install laminate flooring on your stairs, you must glue the planks to the thread and riser. You cannot use the click and lock installation method for this type of install. Because you are gluing the planks directly to the stairs, you cannot use an underlayment.
Here’s where my biggest concern comes into play – moisture. Underlayment is used to prevent moisture damage, such as warping or buckling. On stairs, this usually does not pose a big risk because most stairs are wood. Since you say you have ceramic tile currently on your stairs, I am wondering if you have a concrete base to your stairs. If this is the case, you might want to reconsider using laminate flooring all together for the stairs. I would recommend choosing a vinyl flooring instead if you are worried about this being an issue.
If you have any more questions, please feel free to call us at 1-800-520-0961 and one of our sales representatives will be glad to help you!
My stairs has ceramic tile and I would like to install laminate flooring.
Since I do not want to remove the tile, what would you recommend to use in order to install the laminate flooring?