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How to end laminate floor at the top of stairs

Updated February 21, 2017

The look and durability of laminate flooring can transform any home, and many homeowners have discovered that installing the flooring can often be done with determination and patience and without the help of a professional installer. If you decide to lay floor on your stairs to match the rest of the floors, you will need to glue down the planks, even if the rest of your installation didn't require glue. Once you've installed the rest of the stairs, cover the top tread and install a transition to finish the flooring at the top of the stairs.

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  1. Mark the line at which you want the laminate flooring to end and your other flooring to begin with a chalk snap line. This will create a guide for ending the floor at the top of the stairs.

  2. Line up the laminate floor's transition track along the chalk line you just created. This is part of installation kits; the track will hold the transition piece in place. Install this before any of the flooring on the top stair.

  3. Nail the transition strip into place with thin finishing nails directly to the subfloor. Make sure the strip is completely flat and straight along the guideline. Put in a nail every 12 to 16 inches for best hold.

  4. Measure the width a stair nose. Measure back from the front of the stair that distance and snap a chalk line across the whole stair. This lets you know where the nose will end and the tread will begin.

  5. Glue down the tread pieces. Spread glue across the entire area between the new chalk line and the transition strip; try not to get any glue on the strip itself.

  6. Set the top tread pieces, as well as any other pieces you need to cover the area that reaches to the transition strip, firmly into the wood glue. Press down and apply even pressure across all the pieces to ensure they bond to the glue.

  7. Check the level of each glued piece to ensure that it sits flat against the floor. If necessary, use a rubber mallet to tap the pieces more firmly into the glue until they sit completely flat. Continue until you have glued all laminate flooring pieces.

  8. Attach the stair nose to the top stair. Spread construction adhesive across the area that you left open when you installed the tread. Firmly press the nose piece into place; wipe away any excess adhesive from the joint with a damp sponge. Make sure the bottom part of the nose is pressed firmly against the riser below.

  9. Check the level of the nose and tap the piece down if necessary until it is completely flat against the stair.

  10. Move back to the transition strip. Set the laminate flooring transition piece over the strip so the tongue of the piece fits into the groove of the strip.

  11. Lay a towel over top of the strip. Gently pound the transition piece into the strip to ensure a firm hold. This marks the end of the laminate floor.

  12. Tip

    You must install the riser on the next-to-last stair before installing the laminate on the top stair. In general, you will already have the stair nose and tread pieces cut, because you will install these pieces on each stair. Some flooring manufacturers may also require you to nail the floor down and may require you to seal the laminate when installation is complete. Follow all specific product instructions.

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Things You'll Need

  • Chalk snap line
  • Transition track or strip
  • Hammer
  • Finishing nails
  • Measuring tape
  • Wood glue
  • Trowel
  • Laminate tread pieces
  • Level
  • Rubber mallet
  • Stair nose pieces
  • Construction adhesive
  • Sponge
  • Laminate transition piece
  • Towel

About the Author

Samantha Volz

Samantha Volz has been involved in journalistic and informative writing for over eight years. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with a minor in European history. In college she was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and completed a professional internship with the "Williamsport Sun-Gazette," serving as a full-time reporter. She resides in Horsham, Pennsylvania.

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