Laminate flooring is an excellent option for those who are on a budget and are considering it as a cheaper solution to hardwood flooring. It looks the same and almost even feels the same. Laminate tends to wear out a little quicker but other than that, if you don't want to spend thousands on hardwood, it is a great option. But all that said, should you consider installing laminate floors on stairs? Is it okay and what are some the downsides to doing this?
The finish for laminate is melamine and it can be a very slick finish so the main problem with laminate is that it is much more slippery than other flooring. On stairs, this could pose a big risk for a slip and fall and if you have a large staircase, this could be a very big problem. The risk is so big that most laminate manufacturers as well as distributors advise against it.
There are some solutions to this though. For instance, you could simply find a long runner and have the rug run straight down the center of the staircase which would provide enough traction that someone young or elderly won't slip. Any runner you decide to install should be made of either nylon or wool and you should also consider darker colors as they won't stain as badly over time. In addition to this, a felt pad will help to alleviate the shock that comes from constant foot traffic as well as help maintain the runner over time.
Another way to reduce the potential risk of slipping is to apply a higher grade laminate that is also known as an abrasive laminate. This will pretty much solve the problem and all you will need to do is match the color of your floors with the abrasive laminate (or visa versa).
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If you aren't a DIY guy, then you can contact your supplier and see if they have specially made wood planks that will also prevent the risk of falling. This is probably the best approach and since you will be having a professional install, you won't have to worry too much about it.
Of course, for you do-it-yourselfers, installing laminate floors is a fairly easy process. One of the things that you will really want to keep in mind is that you should be using glue rather than nails because if you install it improperly, you will increase the likelihood of having an unstable part.
So the bottom line is if you are looking for laminate flooring and thinking of installing it on a staircase, consider other options or understand the risks. It is not okay to install laminate flooring on stairs. But if you do, understand you have options.
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