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Choosing Staircase Flooring

staircase flooring graphic overlaid over staircase room scene photo

When redoing the flooring in your home, your staircase might not be top of mind but with all of the traffic that this part of your home receives, you should place a focus on it. But determining what type of flooring to add to your stairs can be difficult: do you focus more on functionality and safety or on appearance? Should you just use the same flooring as you have in the rest of the home? We’ve gathered some helpful tips to help you balance durability, safety, and aesthetics when choosing the right flooring for your stairway.

Tip #1: Prioritize safety

Bare hardwood floors can give your home a sleek and modern look but wood flooring can also be dangerous because not only is it slippery, but it provides no cushion if someone were to fall. If you have children, seniors, pets, or sleepwalkers in your home, you may want to steer clear of a hardwood staircase. If you decide that you can’t live without hardwood stairs, you can add stair treads which are non-slip pads that you install on each floor that provide more safety. 

bare hardwood floor stairs in modern entryway

Installing carpet on a staircase won’t necessarily eliminate falls but it certainly helps to add traction and a softer landing spot if a fall does occur. You may also consider a carpet runner over your hardwood floors in tones that match the wood. Either way, we recommend going with a low-pile carpet, which makes for less of a tripping hazard, and investing in high-quality carpet pad to extend the carpet’s lifespan. 

Tip #2: Consider cleaning

Hardwood flooring tends to collect less dust and allergens than other types of flooring which makes it a good, low-quality option on a staircase. Cleaning hardwood and other types of flooring will mostly involve sweeping or mopping each stair. 

Low-pile carpet is not only safer but it’s also easier to clean than high-pile alternatives. Since carpet tends to hold allergens, dust, and dirt, a high-quality vacuum will be essential for carpet stairs. Vacuuming stair carpets may not be an easy task, but it’s a minor trade-off for the comfort, safety, and appeal of a carpeted staircase

Tip #3: Consider visual continuity

When choosing your stair covering, it’s important to consider the flooring you have in other rooms because you want to promote visual continuity by keeping everything seamless. Doing so can greatly impact how the look of your home flows between the different spaces. 

For this reason, many people choose to carpet their stairs if they already have carpeting throughout the rest of the house. By contrast, a home that is hardwood everywhere but has a carpeted staircase may look out of place and outdated. If you do have hardwood in most of the spaces of your home, consider using a runner on the staircase rather than fully carpeting them. This allows you to reduce the wear on the hardwood but also adds that level of safety, comfort, noise-canceling qualities that come along with carpet. 

Tip #4: Prioritize the view from the first floor

The view from the bottom of the staircase (vs the top) is the view that most guests are going to see and will, therefore, have the greatest visual impact. Because of this, you should focus on maintaining continuity among the existing flooring on the first floor. 

While these tips are certainly a great start, finding flooring for a stairway can be an overwhelming process. The good news is that Floor Trader is here to help! With decades of experience, we’ve helped thousands of homeowners choose the best flooring no matter their needs. So whether you settle on carpet, hardwood, or have no idea what to choose, our seasoned experts can help! Give us a call or stop by one of our showrooms today!