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Old 10-15-2019, 04:38 PM   #1
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What to install over linoleum on stairs?


I just bought a house that has carpeted stairs going from the kitchen to the finished basement. The carpet is old and grungy and I asked my flooring contractor what we can replace it with. He pulled up the carpet and said that under it is linoleum with metal nosing (probably dating from the original construction in the late 1950s). He says that the only option is to replace the carpet with new carpet.

I haven't pressed him on this, but before I do, I'd like some opinions on what are good non-carpet flooring options for these stairs. After poking around online, I realized that one thing the contractor may be worried about is that the "linoleum" is really asbestos tile, which he wouldn't want to touch. I don't have a problem with installing something on top of it, as long as it doesn't disturb the potential asbestos. As I understand it, there are stick-on options such as vinyl that could go right on top - but would one have to remove and replace the metal nosing? Would that disturb the "linoleum"?

At any rate, if he installs carpet, presumably he'd have to install new tack strip (right?), which means hammering nails through the linoleum anyway (right?). Wouldn't that pose an asbestos risk?
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Old 10-15-2019, 04:44 PM   #2
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Re: What to install over linoleum on stairs?


Are there complete stair treads and risers, or are there construction type 2x treads? If the latter, I would just carpet back over it. If you have genuine 1" thick treads with nosings, then they may be salvageable. Your installer has seen it, we haven't.
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Old 10-15-2019, 04:49 PM   #3
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Re: What to install over linoleum on stairs?


I'm not sure what the difference is (or what a 2x tread is). I'll take a picture and post it.
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Old 10-15-2019, 04:49 PM   #4
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Re: What to install over linoleum on stairs?


If you take the tile and smash it down to dust and then spend a week or years breathing the dust it might create a problem for you in later life. If you go from carpet to carpet the old tack strips will be re used.
You could cove it and yes the nose is likely just screwed in place and could be re and re with little problem.
You might just do hard wood instead. but that could take the risers out of code.

For removal the plywood and the lino could be removed as one. If built in the fifties you would not expects screws or glue to be used.
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Old 10-15-2019, 04:53 PM   #5
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Re: What to install over linoleum on stairs?


Ha, yes, I'm aware that the dangers of asbestos are overblown. But the hype around it (not to mention regulations) is precisely why I would imagine that a contractor wouldn't want to touch it, even to hammer nails through it. And if, as you say, he can re-use the existing tack strips, he wouldn't have to.
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Old 10-15-2019, 07:45 PM   #6
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What to install over linoleum on stairs?


Have you thought about carpet tiles? I glued these on my basement stairs.
What to install over linoleum on stairs?-img_2495.jpg


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Old 10-16-2019, 11:33 AM   #7
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Re: What to install over linoleum on stairs?


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Have you thought about carpet tiles?
Looks nice! But what's the advantage over just installing regular carpet? Especially since the tack strips are already in place.
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Old 10-16-2019, 11:53 AM   #8
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Re: What to install over linoleum on stairs?


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Looks nice! But what's the advantage over just installing regular carpet? Especially since the tack strips are already in place.


It was just a thought. I did this as I removed old carpet and underlay in basement due to musty odour. I removed the tack strips on these steps. BTW I installed carpet tiles in basement and it made a big difference. Itís been 3 years now.


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Old 10-16-2019, 02:51 PM   #9
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Re: What to install over linoleum on stairs?


So if I understand correctly from the photo, you installed the metal nosing on top of the carpet tiles? Was there metal nosing before that you removed and either re-installed or replaced?

This looks like a pretty simple DIY project. And like I said, it looks great. I'm tempted to go that route, but first I'll see what my contractor wants to charge for just replacing the carpet. His prices are pretty reasonable, and he suggested just using Home Depot cut-and-carry carpet.
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Old 10-16-2019, 03:11 PM   #10
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What to install over linoleum on stairs?


Stairs were carpeted before without a separate nosing. Thereís no carpet on the nose hence the need for the steel nosing installed over top.


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Old 10-21-2019, 01:51 PM   #11
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Re: What to install over linoleum on stairs?


Asbestos exposure is as dangerous as wood sanding dust exposure, ie longterm it's a bad idea, but personally I have no problem removing it on my OWN projects. A contractor has to have a no policy both legally and personally because of longterm exposure.

If you're worried, you can wrap the area in plastic, even dampen it and put plastic over it to hold it in, and wear a good filter and goggles.

IF you want to remove it of course. It does leave a pretty flat surface for putting something over top of it.
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Old 10-21-2019, 06:08 PM   #12
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Re: What to install over linoleum on stairs?


@snic , got those pictures developed, yet?
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Old 10-21-2019, 11:06 PM   #13
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Re: What to install over linoleum on stairs?


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IF you want to remove it of course. It does leave a pretty flat surface for putting something over top of it.
I was thinking the same thing. Even if I have to remove and replace the metal nosing, it's not going to result in much asbestos exposure. If any at all.

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@snic , got those pictures developed, yet?
Naw, they're still at the drug store. Got to get that high quality Kodachrome!

Actually what with organizing the move, I haven't had time - which is one reason why I think I'm just going to let the contractor install some Home Depot carpet just before move-in. It'll wear out in a few years, and then I'll figure out what to do with it as a DIY project. The carpet tiles look really good - I'll start with that idea.
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