Bamboo is a great option for stairs. It presents a stylish, elegant look, is durable against high traffic and pet claws, and is easy to maintain.
Custom bamboo stair treads by Ambient Bamboo Floors
But you already know that because you’re here to learn how to install bamboo flooring on stairs!
So, let’s get to it.
Like any DIY project, proper preparation can prevent mistakes and eliminate delays.
Before anything else, will you be installing ready-made treads or using bamboo flooring planks and stair noses to build your steps? Both will produce beautiful results.
The difference? There’s less measuring, cutting, and nailing with ready-to-install treads.
In either case, you need to prep the stairs by:
- Removing all existing floor covering and paint on each tread and riser
- Hammer down any raised nail or screw heads
- Take the opportunity to fix squeaks using wood screws
The last step of preparation is wipe downing and vacuuming the stairs. You don’t want to trap excess dirt and dust under your brand new bamboo!
Tools and Materials
- Power screwdriver
- Wood screws
- Table saw
- Pry bar
- Tape measure
- Safety glasses
- Wood glue
- Vacuum cleaner
- Bamboo treads/noses/planks
The most difficult part of installing bamboo flooring on stairs is the same as using any other material: measurement.
“Measure twice, cut once.” (Carpenter’s Rule #1)*
*This isn’t an official rule. But it’s still good advice.
Risers are the “back” of each step in a staircase. How you finish risers will change the look of the staircase. Common options are white paint or covering them with the same kind of flooring used on the treads, the part you step on.
If you want painted risers with bamboo flooring on stairs, do that before installing the bamboo. It’s also a good time to paint the skirt. (That’s the trim plate on the wall alongside the staircase.)
For bamboo risers, start the installation at the bottom of the staircase and work your way up.
Then, using a tread tool:
- Measure the width of the first existing riser
- Measure the height of the first existing riser
- Transfer the marks onto the bamboo plank
Cut the bamboo flooring to fit. Secure the new bamboo riser with the appropriate kind of glue and tack with finish nails.
Repeat the process for each riser.
After each tread has been cut to fit, there are two options for securing it to the stair frame:
If you want to glue the tread, apply a non-water-based adhesive and set the tread in place. It’s advisable to lay a weight on top while the adhesive sets.
To screw the tread in place, pre-drill holes in the tread then use wood screws to secure the tread. You can fill the holes with wood filler.
Bamboo Flooring and Nosing
You can also use planks of bamboo flooring on stairs like in the diagram below.
Strictly speaking, all you need are risers and treads to create a staircase. (And a banister for safety.)
But adding a strip of cove molding beneath the nosing, against the riser can be an attractive finishing touch. Use finishing nails to keep it in place.
Maintaining Bamboo Flooring on Stairs
Bamboo stairs are easy to maintain if you develop a few helpful habits:
- Don’t use a water or latex based adhesive to secure the treads, as these types of glues can cause cracks later in bamboo and hardwood
- Keep room humidity constant between 35%-55%
- Only use a soft cloth or microfibre mop to remove dust and dirt
- Never use a wet sponge or mop, never steam clean
- Clean up spilled liquids as quickly as possible
And because bamboo is highly scratch-resistant, you don’t have to worry about your pets damaging the stairs.