Oak Flooring for Your Staircase
Many people choose oak floors for their homes for the obvious natural beauty that they create, along with the stunning appearance and high levels of durability they provide, but it can also be the preferred choice in order to provide aesthetic continuity throughout an interior.
This is proven when oak flooring is selected to revitalise a staircase, whilst matching in with the surrounding floor area and landing area above.
When doing this, although a simple process if done right, is often easier said than done. Ensuring that the accurate measurements are taken for the required flooring amounts and sizes, whilst sourcing the necessary auxiliary products- is key for a successful installation. In order to make this process easier for you, we have created the following guide.
Choosing suitable oak flooring (or other covering) for staircase treads:
Prior to selecting a specific oak flooring solution for your staircase, it is worth considering whether this flooring type is ideally suited for not only your staircase but also the requirements of your household. This is due to the fact, that whilst oak flooring offers the best looking, most durable and easy to clean flooring solution available, in some cases it may be better to opt for carpet. Cases where carpet may offer a better solution include households with young children, pets and elderly or infirm members. This is because carpet may offer higher levels of safety due to the fact that it is a much less slippery surface than most oak flooring. Safety is a core consideration that should be taken on-board prior to making your final decision on any staircase covering.
Once you are positive that oak flooring is your desired solution for giving your stairwell new life, it is time to decide the specific oak flooring type you require. This involves deciding whether engineered oak flooring or solid oak flooring will better meet your requirements. Both of these oak flooring types are more than capable of achieving a truly stunning, practical and durable surface for your staircase; however engineered oak does provide better stability than solid oak, although it will require a stair nosing to finish off the leading edge of each tread.
Something else to consider is that engineered oak flooring is usually available in longer lengths than solid oak, so can cover the whole of the stair treads in one length, without the need for joints. If solid oak is preferred, please supply us a cutting list for what you require and we can machine the lengths ourselves to avoid the need for joints.
When you have decided upon the specific flooring type that you will use on your stairwell, it is time to consider the aesthetics that you require from your oak flooring on your staircase. This involves considering what type, colour and appearance of flooring finish will best work in unison to achieve your desired aesthetics within your interior. Usually an unfinished engineered oak is the preferred choice, along with a matching oak stair nosing for each tread, which can be either in the shape of a bullnose to replace the existing stair treads, or as an L-return shape to cover and fit over the existing treads. This is probably because the unfinished engineered oak will match better with the unfinished oak stair nosings when finished after installation is complete.
Even if prefinished oak flooring is used, because of the natural variances within oak from the way it grows, as long as the nosing is finished in a similar fashion, all will look beautiful and well-matched when complete.
Unless you are a qualified joiner or carpenter, measuring for what you need to cover an existing staircase can be daunting but it is actually quite simple, and we are always here to help. Obviously if you are employing someone to do the work for you, they should be measuring and giving you a list of requirements to order.
Normally, the treads of a standard width staircase will be ordered and supplied as 1.0 metre lengths, which are then cut to size on site, so by telling us how many treads you have and the exact depth of each, that will usually be sufficient. If your stairs are not standard and measure more than 950mm in width, please make sure you tell us the exact width.
If you have a special shaped tread somewhere within your staircase, we will need to see a drawing or diagram with accurate sizes before anything is machined, in order to avoid costly mistakes.
If you try to calculate what you need and then convert it yourself to a number of full cartons, it can become confusing, so because we are the experts in all to do with oak flooring, just tell us and we’ll do the rest for you.
The usual application of oak flooring onto a staircase involves simply fitting oak flooring planks over the existing treads and risers between them, so the exact depth of each tread is required, so that we can work out for you the best size of oak stair nosing to finish off each tread. Again, it’s worth mentioning that this is always better done by someone who knows how to do this type of work, so the person doing the work should be the person who measures up.
To cover the sides of a staircase, which are called the ‘strings’, can be a very difficult and costly task that requires some carpentry skills, so not a normal and straightforward DIY project and usually requires the services of a carpenter or joiner. If you are considering doing this, when the list of materials and work required is considered, it may well be easier and cheaper to simply remove the stairs and replace them with some made of oak?
Other Products That Are Required:
After you have selected the specific oak flooring solution for your staircase, how it is going to be fitted, and everything is measured up accurately, there are a number of auxiliary products that may be required in order to ensure a seamless and attractive finished appearance. These products include:
- Stair Tread Nosings & Profiles: These should be measured accurately when the tread width and depth are being measured, providing the correct and exact size required. They are almost always machined to order to a specific size, although ‘standard’ sizes are sometimes available to fit before the actual oak flooring stair tread cover is cut to size. These are always better fixed to the tread first, and then the oak flooring can fit tightly up against it, after being cut to the exact depth necessary for doing this.
- Skirting, Architrave & Other Trims: These items are often used to good effect on staircases as a finishing touch, utilised to provide unity and visual conformity throughout the staircase. Therefore it is imperative that you select the right style for your interior. We understand that skirting not only performs a practical function, it can also be utilised to enhance the aesthetics of your staircase. Based on this, we provide a number of shape options for both skirting boards and architrave, available in various depths.
- Adhesives: Depending on your chosen method of installation, you may need some flexible or rigid adhesive for gluing the new oak flooring to the old staircase, or just some wood adhesive for gluing things like trims etc.
- Finishes, Oils & Lacquers: Once your oak flooring has been fitted and fixed in place to cover your staircase, you need to select a suitable finish to either match up the stair nosings to your prefinished flooring, or to finish the whole area of new treads and risers (if unfinished oak has been used throughout) These products perform two functions, firstly to increase the already substantial aesthetics of your new oak-covered staircase, and secondly to increase the durability of your staircase. When a suitable finishing product is being considered, it is also well worth considering the ease of maintaining its appearance thereafter, because some finishes are easier to maintain than others. This is an especially important consideration for a staircase because they are areas which typically attract high levels of traffic and footfall. Obviously when selecting an oil or lacquer finish for your staircase, it is well worth considering one that has a minimal environmental impact.