Covering stairs on the cheap

3 Replies

What do you do to cheaply cover stairs?  I have a townhouse that is college housing.  I've put a durable laminate in the downstairs, and am planning on doing to same upstairs when the carpet is too worn to be reused.  My question is on the stairs.  The treads that match the flooring are very expensive, and it'd cost me $1000-$1500 to use those.  The laminate by contrast is well under $3/ft. I have considered just having carpet reinstalled on the stairs, the price on that would be in the $400 range.  I've also considered removing the carpet and putting a durable paint on them.  Again, this is college housing, so I won't have high-end expectations from tenants, but I also don't want it to look ridiculous.  What have you done to cheaply cover steps?

Just use the Laminate plank itself but GLUE it to the tread. Then use a metal overlap stairnose for both durability and slip resistance. I also recommend using a stair nosing caulk at the nosing to fill in any gaping and make the nose less likely to break due to wear. You could also do a rubber nosing but since this is college housing I think the metal would be better. I would paint the riser a dark coordinating color. You could glue the laminate to the riser but since STAIR TREAD may be wiser not to. Good Luck.

I second the laminate idea. This is what we did in my primary almost 4 years ago and it is holding up great. Our handyman did have to use basically a whole tube of glue and finishing nails to glue the laminate to the treads. It looks great, has held up over time, and was cheap.

However, since its a rental, I might be inclined to go with carpet on stairs. Laminate tends to get slippery and can be a liability on stairs.

I would go the carpet route.. but get a good commercial grade carpet in a neutral color installed.  That way it can take the wear/tear and can also be easily cleaned 

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