Vinyl Flooring on Stairs: Pros and Cons

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vinyl flooring on stairs pros and cons

Are you looking for gorgeous, budget-friendly, and high-quality flooring for your house? Look no further because the present-day vinyl floors are a great option for many homeowners. They are not only cheaper than other flooring materials, but they are also very durable.

There are two main types, tile vinyl flooring which brings the ceramics tiles’ look, or sheet flooring. However, like most building materials, vinyl flooring has its strengths and weaknesses. Here is are pros and cons to consider when installing vinyl flooring on stairs:

Advantages of Vinyl Flooring

advantages and disadvantages of vinyl flooring on stairs

Easy To Install

Luxury vinyl flooring is DIY and user-friendly. Vinyl tiles and planks are getting easy to lay with the peel and stick process. Luxury vinyl planks don’t require to be nailed down while installing. the LVP has a click and lock system that allows them to be laid as a floating floor. However, in large spaces, you may also apply glue to have a better bond with the vinyl underlayment and subfloor.

Currently, peel and stick vinyl are available, which requires pressing firmly on the sub-floor. As long as the floor is level, you don’t require any special tools. Even a total beginner can pull it off. This makes it one of the easy-to-install flooring for your house.

Here is a step-by-step procedure on how to install vinyl flooring on stair steps.

How To Install Peel-and-Stick Vinyl Flooring Over Existing Flooring


The cost of vinyl planks cost ($1-$10) per square foot, which is quite cheap compared with hardwood ($10-$30) and ceramic floors($1-$35). In addition, vinyl is DIY friendly thus can forego the cost of hiring an expert($2-$6). This however is still cheaper compared to hardwood installation cost ($6-$20) and or ceramic installation $6-$14 per square foot.

Since you can install them by yourself, vinyl flooring saves on the cost of hiring experts ($2-$6 per square foot). The market price is also quite friendly comparing to the wooden or ceramic floors.

The vinyl plank alternatives; like wood and tiles will require additional carpet covering ($1-$20 and installation-$1-$5 per square foot) to add more décor to your space. However, vinyl comes with unique and stylish designs that blend in with your furniture. It is also cheap to clean and maintain with homemade remedies.

Attractive Designs

Vinyl is available in stone and hardwood designs that have captivating textures and patterns to select from. LVP is available in dark or warm colors (walnut or Weng) best used for making large areas feel cozier. The natural and lighter tones designs (light oak or beige) can really make small rooms or areas cozier.

These real ceramic tiles and hardwood finishing mimic, are blended with a variety of attractive colors to match the interiors of your home. All these designs and patterns provide a variety of choices to work with depending on your taste and fashion.


Vinyl is available in waterproof and stain-resistant and lasts long (10-20 years-some with a warranty of up to 15years). It is highly durable, if well taken care of to avoid any vinyl discoloration that otherwise could occur. It’s able to handle misuse due to the wear layer on the surface capable to resists scratches and stains.

Regular sweeping and weekly mopping with no need for harsh chemicals will keep your floor shine and luster. The water-resistant and waterproof ability inhibits the growth of molds, make it perfect for bathrooms and kitchens.

Water corrodes flooring surfaces over time, vinyl flooring is at no risk of being damaged by water spills or floods that get water under LVP as a result. For maximum durability, go for the sheet vinyl that has few seams when installing because it comes as one large piece. Seams can lead to moisture seeping through them hence deteriorating the life of the vinyl flooring.


Vinyl flooring has a soft feel to walk on with bare feet. The shock absorber nature makes it comfortable to walk on and stand on for a long time. Unlike ceramic tiles, it doesn’t get too cold during winter or too hot during summer.

Install the appropriate vinyl underlayment to help cushion your feet, increase comfort and dampen the sound when walking on the stairs floor. However, some vinyl comes with foam backing improving the impact sound transmission (LVT has an IIC score of 64 and the rigid core vinyl flooring a score of 68).

Disadvantages of Vinyl Flooring

pros and cons of vinyl flooring on stairs

Surface Liability

The vinyl flooring material is a soft cushion feel and tends to be prone to scratches and cuts. The damages are more likely on cheaper types than LVP, more so in the kitchen and high traffic areas. However, the good news is that the damaged vinyl plank or tile can be removed individually and replaced.

Use coasters or food pads under the feet of your furniture to protect vinyl plank flooring from heavy furniture dents.

Underlayment Issues

Vinyl requires a flat smooth subfloor, even if it doesn`t require any special prepping of the sub-floor. Subfloor imperfections like uneven subfloor surfaces or dirt particles will show on the vinyl. These noticeable bumps and bubbles on the surface of the vinyl make it look untidy.

For you to have a flawless vinyl surface floor, it requires you to get the flooring with attached underlay or opt to get appropriate vinyl flooring underlayment.

It’s hazardous

Vinyl flooring is made up of polyvinyl chloride combined with other compounds to achieve its characteristics. These compounds include; Plasticizers, stabilizers, pigments, and fillers. Vinyl is toxic and emits poisonous gases (Phthalates). The gas exposes both humans and pets to the risk of asthma, cancer, kidney, lung, and other health problems).

It also burns and decomposes to release toxic gases (Hydrogen chloride) that can kill fire victims or even firefighters. This effect is strong when the vinyl flooring is fresh. However, manufacturers are aware of this toxic effect and are now producing vinyl flooring with fewer PVC levels in them.

Hard to Remove

Vinyl flooring is glued down with strong adhesives. Once the adhesive bonds with the sub-floor, removing it becomes very hard. However, even when you removing it with scrapping tools and cleaners, it will still take a very long time.

Environmental Impact

Vinyl is made of non-biodegradable material and can sit on the compost for years without decay. In addition, vinyl has an inconsistent level of various substances which makes it hard to recycle. On the other hand, when burned it produces noxious fumes (Dioxin and Phthalates) harmful to the environment.

How to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring on Stairs (Step by Step)

To install vinyl plank flooring on stairs, prepare the room, acclimate the planks, then measure and cut them. Ensure both the riser and the tread on each step flush without the planks overlapping. Glue down the planks to the subfloor and allow them to cure for 24 hours before walking on them.

Here’s a step by step procedure for installing vinyl on stairs:

1. Prepare the subfloor

Vinyl flooring needs to be installed on a smooth subfloor. Any bumps or holes beneath it will cause imperfections to the entire floor. Make sure you fix the bumps and holes on the subfloor before laying the vinyl planks. Fill in any cracks, fasten any loose screws to prevent squeaking sounds in your flooring.

You may require to sand and refinish your subfloor in some scenarios before installing the vinyl planks. Sanding and refinishing make your floor smooth and ready for the vinyl cover to be glued down.

2. Accliminate the vinyl planks

Acclimate vinyl for at least 48 hours before laying it down. Acclimation help prevents plank swelling and shrinking beyond expected levels, which may lead to buckling and unsightly gaps in the floor. Follow the acclimation procedure to avoid any future problems like expansion and contraction of vinyl planks

3. Plan out the flooring project

Plan the layout of the room flooring depending on the type of vinyl; planks, tiles, or sheet which you plan to install on your stair. You can draw the layout as a planning tool as you decide the best place to start.

It’s good to consider the pattern you intend to stagger vinyl floor that fits your taste and preference. This step plays an important role if you aren’t watchful the project may end up being an undertaking in futility.

4. Measure and cut the planks pieces

Measure the tread and riser to the required sizes. It’s good to cut the planks to their respective sizes. To avoid wastage, double-check the measurements before cutting the tread and riser.

In case you cut large sizes it will require you to trim the planks again that end up being wasted.

5. Glue down the planks on to the subfloor

Starting from the top step stair, lay the treads and risers on their respective stairs. In case of peel and stick vinyl, press and smoothen it completely to prevent bubbling and lifting on your planks stair flooring.

Is The Vinyl Floor Suitable For Stairs?

The vinyl floor is suitable for stairs since it gives a harmonious and complete décor to many homes. The vinyl flooring is also great for the stairs because of the small size and ease of installation. But if you need to cover the corners of the stairs, use a sheet of vinyl since it spreads out widely and at once.

Moreover, you can go for stair treads made of vinyl; either way, a correct layout will give you a flawless finish.

Can Luxury Vinyl Be Installed On The Stairs?

The luxury vinyl flooring, even though expensive, it is the best option to be used on the staircase. Because of its many layers, the luxury vinyl creates a better-looking and performing floor, including the stairs. Its thickness is what gives it a more solid hardwood or ceramic feel. The luxury vinyl is also best for your stairs since it comes with just ceramic and wooden looks. These designs are ideal for those who don’t want to add a lot of flair to the stairs. A plain look is always a good idea.

Do stairs and floor have to match?

This depends on the look you want to get from your floor and stairs. In most cases, you can just coordinate the floors and stairs, not necessarily match. You can use the same type of vinyl and finish for both the floors and the stairs, or match just the first two sets of stairs. However, there’s nothing wrong with mixing things up to get the look you desire.

Are Vinyl plank stairs slippery?

Unlike engineered wood flooring and cork, vinyl gets slippery. Vinyl flooring is slippery and even gets worse when old with liquid spills, moisture, wax, grease, dust, floor polish, and soap.

However, you can non-slip vinyl flooring or get rid of it through cleaning. Sweep daily to get rid of debris, dirt, and particles on your flooring. As a precaution, wipe dry any liquid spills as soon as they occur and use a degreasing agent on your kitchen and bathroom floor. In addition, get an antislip mat or and add anti-slip coating or non-slip spray for vinyl plank floors.

How to transition vinyl plank flooring on stairs

Generally, you might be having other types o flooring in your rooms and hallways. This may require you to make a flawless transition from one flooring to another or height to another. A transition strip is good when transitioning different floors at the same height. However, for different heights and stairs, a stair nose is the best solution. Stair nose and transition strip eliminated the hazards of tipping.

Transition depending mostly on the areas you are transitioning; door-stairs-exterior-interior-hallway and types of flooring; to carpet-laminate-wood or even tile.

Best vinyl bullnose for stairs

Carpet vs vinyl on stairs, Which is better?

Vinyl flooring is durable-water and stain-resistant flooring. It’s easy to clean and maintain but a slippery stair surface and requires some installation skills and knowledge to stagger it. In many homes, stairs are usually covered with hardwood or carpeting instead.

Where the stair covering and vinyl meet will require a transition. It’s no different from the seams between different types of flooring throughout the rest of the home. Installing the solution takes perhaps 20 or 30 minutes.


Vinyl flooring has become a favorite to modern homeowners, and veterans alike. This is thanks to its simplicity, affordability, and versatility. It is ideal for spaces that require secure cleaning routines and water-proof. Some models may emit some harmful smells, so check customer reviews and consult professionals before purchasing one. Some of them may also be easily damaged, so take good care, especially when dealing with furniture, or when you have vinyl flooring in your kitchen. Either way, this is a cheaper and efficient way to give your house the coveted hardwood and ceramic tile look.

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Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

1 thought on “Vinyl Flooring on Stairs: Pros and Cons”

  1. Great article about using adhesive vinyl flooring on stairs. I have one question; what is the work around the at end edge of the stairs? Can I use a heat gun to make the downward turn without splitting the vinyl or is there a better way in your bag of knowledge?


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