Stairway Makeover – Swapping Carpet for Laminate
So excited to share the last installment of the new flooring posts, and I maybe saved the best transformation for last! Our carpeted stairs were really looking grungy, possibly because my children regularly enjoy riding down them in their sleeping bags?
In making the decision to replace all the flooring upstairs, we realized we would have to do the staircase too or there would be a weird floating carpeted staircase stuck in between the wood flooring upstairs and down.
The first step was obviously removing all the gross carpet, and 30 million staples later… we were ready to go.
There are different ways to attach laminate flooring to stairs depending on what type of laminate flooring you are using. BuildDirect was awesome enough to partner with us on this project and provided all the materials. Our particular brand of flooring was the Lamton White Dogwood from BuildDirect. We ordered the overlap stair nosing that coordinates with our flooring. It is meant to replace the existing edge of your staircase.
So the next step was to cut off our existing overhang on each stair. Here’s where my uncle and his envious collection of power tools took over. He used a sawzall to cut off the edge of each stair so it was flush with the riser. This was probably the hardest part of the project. You can see in the above photo the lip he cut off.
Next, we measured and cut the flooring and snapped it together like we did with the rest of the flooring to cover each step. Except, instead of having the flooring “float” like the rest of the floating floor, we nailed it down with fine finishing nails (using a nail gun). For the edges of each step, we glued the new trim pieces down and used finishing nails to make sure they stay put. We continued this all the way down the stairs and done!
You will notice there is a little lip from each edge of the laminate floor snapping into the trim piece. I thought this was really going to bother me at first but once we put the runner on I don’t even notice it anymore.
Once we got the carpet removed, we realized the plywood beneath wasn’t going to be smooth enough to paint the risers white like I wanted, so my uncle cut new plywood pieces and we glued them to the fronts of all the risers. Then I covered them with 1 coat of primer and 2 coats of paint in my fancy painting outfit. I’m actually shocked these jeans haven’t just disintegrated by now…
Ok, on to the runner… Well, my kids are 8 and 4, and we don’t want anyone to go slip sliding down these stairs and breaking their neck, so a runner was a must for us. I ordered 3 of these 8 ft rugs from Wayfair in this tan and black stripe. I honestly would have loved to do a light blue and white stripe, but my mom pointed out how impractical this was with my kids in the house. So, I went with a more dirt friendly rug. Someday I will probably switch it out to something lighter, but this was such an easy DIY it won’t be a big deal. I know, are you shocked practicality won over style this time? :)
I followed this tutorial from Young House Love, which was really helpful. I used a little thicker rug pad than they did for a little more cushioning. I also used my uncle’s heavy duty staple gun with really long skinny staples. When I got to the end, I just cut the excess off and folded the edge over and stapled. I had to use 3 rugs to cover our whole stairs and it was a little tricky connecting the seams on each rug, but mainly because I was doing this part alone (the Mr. was on a business trip – he claims he was bummed he missed all the fun, but am not sure he was being sincere). I think an extra set of hands would be super helpful for that part.
I can’t believe how much this has changed the feel in our home. Our staircase is right in our entry way and the first thing you see when you walk in the front door. I love that it is actually a focal point now instead of a boring beige staircase.
I’m really happy with how well the new laminate coordinates with our wood flooring downstairs.
Oh and the hall upstairs looks great too! My DIY Library ladder is running even smoother with the new flooring underneath!
Like what you see? BuildDirect is running their Spring into Action Sale starting today!
You can save up to 50% off on wood flooring, tile, decking, carpeting, siding and more. This is the largest sale in their history, so be sure to stop by and check out all the amazing deals, the sale runs through April 8 and you can see all the details here!
You can read more about our awesome experience with BuildDirect here and here.
This is just lovely! I’ve always hated carpet stairs. They get so dirty and they can be an eyesore for the home. I absolutely love the update. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much Kenda!
Would you please tell me where you got your handrails from?
I’m interested in getting some like those.
You have a beautiful home!
Thank You for sharing your home with us!
Hi Cathy, our builder built them for us – thanks!
We did the Woven Herron Stripe on ours!!
oh love it!
I love it, and what a great job breaking it down to inform people. I love the idea of the runners and I am on my way to order. But a question, do I access way fair from your site for you to get credit or put your name somewhere when I order?
Love your site a lot!
I don’t have an affiliate link for wayfair but thanks for wanting me to credit you are so sweet :)
Love how this all turned out! I can’t believe how much better the stairs look and I didn’t think they looked bad before. Great dying job!
Thanks Jamie, they weren’t too bad before but now they are so fun.
Kelly, the stairs look so pretty. I love stripes, so I have them in every room. The rugs look like burlap, which I really like. I bet your husband was pleased to see what a great job you did. Looking forward to seeing your next project.
He was definitely happy he didn’t need to help ha :)
You did an amazing job! I LOVE the new look!
So sharp – love the stripes!! I’m curious about the runner…. how will you clean it? You can vacuum every day dirt, but what if the dog throws up on it? I would love a runner like this, but my pets would wreck it within the first week. I also love your laminate. Nice work.
Hey Kim, so it vacuums up very nice and I’ve also used carpet cleaner to spot clean it in one spot. Our stairs are really steep so no one really hangs out on them, our dog is generally going as fast as possible up or down them bc it freaks him out ha.
Awesome job on your stairs! The runner looks amazing and I love the laminate that you chose.
It looks amazing! We have laminate flooring in our entire house, and I LOVE it. It’s so easy to care for. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a staircase done in laminate, but it really looks great. If we ever move to a house with stairs, I would definitely do it! I wanted to also let you know that your blog has been looking a little weird lately. It’s almost like the mobile version is what is showing on my desktop browser. If that sounds odd to you, let me know, and I can email you some screenshots if it would be helpful. :)
Hey Jenny thanks for the heads up, not sure what could be going on. I’ve checked it on a couple different computers and it looks ok to me, hopefully it was just a glitch!
What a difference! I never even thought about laminate for stairs – what a great idea! I’m in love with your choice of rug!! I think it’s a great color to hide dirt, and the stripes give it so much character. Easy to switch out if you ever what a change. Love your new stairs, congrats!
Thanks so much Jennifer, we are loving the change too!
Wow super cute!! I love stripes and they make your staircase look amazing!! I have many Dash and Albert rugs and they are incredibly durable.
You must be exhausted you’ve been working on all this since Xmas!! Summer is right around the corner!!
Yes please summertime hurry up!
Kelly, I simply loved it! Of course, for those who never did it, it might not be so easy… :(
The idea of the rugs is really great. I just have to convince my husband that the tapes to avoi sliding are really ugly (even if they are transparents…)
:) Thanks for sharing!
ps Sorry for my bad English… all the way from Rio/Brazil!
Thanks so much Marcia :)
Love the way this stairway looks now! And I’m totally going to be adding a rug runner to my parents wood basement steps – I worry about them slipping on them.
It’s beautiful. I would love to get rid of the carpeting on our stairs too. I love the runner you chose, it’s looks amazing with the wood floors.
That looks great! Even though the original carpet was light, the rug somehow makes it look even brighter. I love it!
Just lovely. You did a wonderful job….and laying that runner all on your own! How brave you are!
Looks fantastic and your lines are straight. I can’t believe what a difference it makes. Great job!! BTW — did you spill paint on your jeans? And if we had stairs I would definitely switch!! Have a great day.
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