I can't find anything on the internet to help me with this and my husband and I can't agree.

We are installing both new flooring (bamboo) and replacing our carpeted stairs with hardwood. My husband says we should cut the flooring just short of the base of the stairs and leave a small gap away from the bottom riser that we'll cover with a piece of trim in case anyone ever wants to replace the flooring in the future.

I think the flooring should go all the way underneath the new riser so there is a clean joining of the floor and the stairs. If the floors do get replaced in the future it seems the boards would slide out easily enough.

The picture shows our new flooring cut just short of where the new stairs will be installed (those are the old stairs that were covered with carpet). Thanks for your input.

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  • Is this new bamboo floor a floating floor? Generally a floating floor is to be installed with a 1/4 to 3/8 inch gap around its periphery to allow for expansion and prevent buckling of the flooring.
    – Michael Karas
    Jul 10, 2019 at 16:36
  • Having trim to cover that gap would be very common. This really comes down to taste - not sure I would say that either is right or wrong.
    – JPhi1618
    Jul 10, 2019 at 16:49
  • "it seems the boards would slide out easily enough" Not necessarily, if the boards are click together they need to tilt UP in order to be disconnected from each other or if they are nailed or glued down they will need to be pried UP. If the riser is in place over them then tilting or prying them up is not an option.
    – Alaska Man
    Jul 10, 2019 at 17:58
  • i think your husband is correct in that i see no advantage to going all the way under the riser, and several disadvantages.
    – dandavis
    Jul 10, 2019 at 21:07

2 Answers 2


Remember, the maximum difference between risers is 3/8” from smallest to largest by Code. (See ICC R311.5.3.1)


The ideal is to have the riser on top. With trim, simple is often best. However, base shoe is a common solution there, or an L-molding matching your flooring.

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