Corkifying your Stair case
For many of our clients it becomes the obvious choice to use our cork floating stair planks for the floors; however, then we are confronted with what to do with the rest of the components surrounding the installation. The baseboard trim, the thresholds, the quarter round moulding, and the stairs…
Our goal is to help you select the right floor and make smart choices so that once you install your brand new cork floor, the rest of the house doesn’t look like it now needs replacing. Cork is a very diplomatic floor covering. You can have a room of 100 yr old Maple one one side of the space, with carpet on the other, and then a kitchen in cork plopped right in the middle of it. Some how, the cork just plays well with others. It is the perfect floor for these types of situations.
For most clients, it is not in the budget to replace all of the trim, so we need to find a cork which feels cozy next to the old trim. For the quarter round moulding, we typically grab a piece of the old trim and take it to the local paint store for a stain match. In this way,we are sort of hiding/not drawing attention to the base board area.
For the stairs, you have several options.
1. Cork the stairs-this involves using the actual cork planks, cutting them to size, and gluing them to your existing stair tread. You use an Oak stair nosing piece (1/2″ thick) to cap off the tip of each of your treads. This is a moderate degree of difficulty, as finessing the stair nosing pieces into place to have no height difference than the cork can take some time.
Another option is to glue the planks to the treads and use a conventional metal nosing piece (shaped in a 90 degree angle) to screw onto the nose. This is easier, but a little to industrial for some folks’ taste.
advantages: the stairs are quiet and are a perfect match for your floor–approx. cost $50
disadvantages: it takes some time to piece them together
2. Use Red Oak Stair treads- this involves removing the existing tread and replacing it with an entirely new piece of Oak (prefinished to match your cork). You use a piece of Oak on the riser as well.
advantages: Solid looking, sturdy single planks
disadvantages: May be slippery, can run upwards of $150 per tread
3. Carpet the stairs- a quick solution for some, but this will introduce chemical outgassing into your newly non-toxic space.
advantages: quick, cheap
disadvantages: short life span, toxic outgassing
In the end, it usually comes down to budget. Stairs are one of those things that can easily be lobbed off of the project until you get cashed up again. From our perspective, it is better to be a solid decision and take a little more time with it. Old and worn carpet has at least gassed out entirely and would likely be a “healthier” alternative than fresh, new carpet anyway. Hold out for the cork, and you won’t regret it.