How to Install Vinyl on Stairs With Nosing

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how to install vinyl on stairs with nosing

If you have a set of stairs that you use on a regular basis, you will want to protect it. 

One of the best ways to do this is to install vinyl plank flooring on the stair treads. Not only will it protect the tread of the stairs, it will also make them safer. 

To enhance the look as well as the safety, install nosing on the stairs as well. 

This helps protect the edge of the stairs if they get a lot of traffic. It will also give the stairs better grip and prevent tripping as people are walking up. 

In this article, we have laid out everything you need to know about installing vinyl with nosing. 

By following all the steps, you can be sure that your vinyl flooring lasts and that you will be safe. 

Installing Vinyl on Stairs With Nosing: Basic Idea

Installing vinyl on stairs is a fairly simple process. The steps include: 

  • Decide on vinyl for the riser 
  • Measure the tread 
  • Cut the tread planks
  • Install the tread 
  • Install the nosing 
By paying careful attention to the steps laid out above, you can be sure your install will last. This is important since the stairs are one of the most high-traffic areas in the house.

Why Use Nosing?

When you are covering the tread on your stairs, nosing is an important aspect. 

Your stairs have two parts, the tread and the riser. The tread is the horizontal area and the riser is the vertical area. 

Nosing is a rounded molding piece that fits over the front of the stair tread. It helps protect the edge of the stair and also adds better grip to the stairs themselves. 

Sometimes, stairs are built with nosing already incorporated into the carpentry. 

If your stairs are simply square, you will have to install a piece of nosing. The best time to do this is while you are covering them with vinyl anyway. 

Decide on Riser Finish

decide on riser finish

Before you install vinyl plank flooring on your stairs, you will have to decide on the riser finish. 

Not everyone chooses to include the riser of the stairs when covering them with a material. Since you don’t actually step on the riser, it is not as important that it be covered.

In fact, you can use this as an opportunity to make a style choice. You can paint the stairs a contrasting or complementary color that can enhance the look. 

Depending on the color of the vinyl you are using, you can use the riser color as an accent. 

You can cover the riser with vinyl as well if you like. For the purposes of this article, we are only going to be laying out the steps for covering the tread. 

Measure Tread Blocks

Before you begin, you will want to accurately measure the tread of the stairs. 

This will allow you to cut your vinyl planks to size and get them flush with the treads themselves. 

It is very important that you measure as accurately as possible. It is recommended that you use a metal ruler instead of a tape measure. 

Make a note that your stairs may not be perfectly square. Use a carpenter’s square to make sure.

Leave room in your measurements for your pieces of nosing. Write down your measurements and move on to cutting the vinyl. 

Cut the Vinyl

Get your pieces of vinyl and mark them off with the measurements you made. 

Vinyl plank flooring can be cut in a variety of ways. One of the best ways is with a table saw. 

If you don’t have a table saw, a circular saw can be used to great effect. However, be sure to clamp the flooring down so it holds still while cutting. 

If you don’t want to use any power tools, you can use a handsaw. Hacksaw style saws are your best bet since they are accurate and easy to work with. 

Install the Tread Vinyl

install the tread vinyl
Once you have your pieces cut, you can begin laying them down. 

Start with the first piece of plank flooring closest to the edge. Leave room for your piece of nosing to be installed. 

Work your way back and glue the pieces of vinyl down with adhesive

Some vinyl flooring can be floated in its installation. This is not recommended for stairs since they get a lot of traffic and a floating installation will not be solid. 

Install the Tread Nosing 

After you have installed the vinyl on each stair, you can install the nosing. 

Depending on the type of nosing you use, you can either secure it with adhesive or screws. 

If you are using a piece of metal nosing, secure it down with screws in the provided holes. If the nosing is vinyl, you can secure it with the same adhesive you used for the planks. 

Frequently Asked Questions

faq how to install vinyl on stairs with nosing

  • Can vinyl planks bend?

Vinyl planks can bend quite easily. This is what makes them so easy to work with and clean

The fact that vinyl planks can bend is also why you should install them with adhesive instead of floating them. 

  • What underlayment to use for vinyl planks?

If your vinyl flooring is less than 4mm, you do not need an underlayment. 

This is especially true if you are using it on stairs. An underlayment will make it stick up too much and the stairs will be unsafe. 

  • Is it better to glue or float vinyl plank flooring?

You should always glue vinyl plank floors on stairs. 

If you are installing vinyl in a bedroom or living room, you can float it. However, you should make sure it is properly measured and cut. 


By taking the time to make sure your measurements are accurate, you can end up with a very professional look. The nosing helps give the stairs a finished feel that will last a long time. 

By coordinating colors and textures, you can make your stairs fashionable as well as functional. 

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Michael J. O’Connor is a writer and marketing specialist from the Bay Area of California. A graduate of Sonoma State’s Creative Writing program, he spent many years as a contractor and carpet layer, learning the ins and outs of flooring and general contracting. When he’s not typing away at his desk, he enjoys hiking with his dogs, woodworking and collecting rare books. See full biography here.

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