Should Stairs Have Carpets or Wood Flooring?

by Charlie
Should Stairs Have Carpets or Wood Flooring

If you’re doing up your home, your stairs might be one of the most important features. They are often in the entryway, meaning they might be one of the first things your visitors see, and they are something you’re going to use every day – so you probably want them to look beautiful. However, they also need to be as functional as possible.

That might lead you to start weighing up carpeted stairs vs wooden stairs, and wondering what the pros and cons of each are. There are quite a few, so it’s worth understanding these before you make any decisions. Remember, stair makeovers can be expensive, so you want to make the right choice straight away.

Should stairs have carpets or wood flooring? Hardwood stairs look very beautiful, and they will wear much better than carpets, but they can be expensive and they are quite noisy. They are also more slippery than carpeted stairs, and not as warm. Carpet can be cheaper, depending on your choice, but it requires vacuuming and it will not wear as well as wood.

Should You Have Wooden or Carpeted Stairs?

It can be difficult to choose between wooden stairs and carpeted stairs, but they offer quite different benefits and drawbacks. Many people prefer the appearance of wooden stairs, but they are much noisier, and carpet can look beautiful too. Carpet is also warmer underfoot – so either can be a great option.

If safety is your number one priority when it comes to your stairs, you should certainly consider carpet as the better option. Carpets provide a lot more friction and they are far less slippery than wood, which makes them much safer. Since stairs can be dangerous, this is probably one of the most significant things to consider.

Wooden stairs, especially if they are heavily varnished, are much more likely to be a slip hazard. If you’ve got young children, elderly people, or anybody disabled in your home, you’ll need to think about whether this is going to cause accidents. Although you can add anti-slip strips, these aren’t as safe as carpet overall, and they can ruin the appearance of the floor.

What are the Main Pros of Wood?

The biggest advantage of wood is that it wears very well, and hardwood stairs can last for decades, even with a lot of use. They wear much better than carpet, meaning that you won’t need to replace the stairs for far longer. This can make them less expensive overall, although they tend to be pricier upfront.

Another major advantage of wood is how beautiful it looks. If you already have wood in your home or you’re interested in a classic aesthetic that will last for many years, wooden stairs are unquestionably the way to go.

Furthermore, wooden stairs are easier to clean, because you can simply sweep them. You don’t have to vacuum them. It’s quick and easy to pick up the dust before it gets trodden around your home.

What are the Main Cons of Wood?

The main drawback of wood is the safety aspect. Wood is smoother than carpet, and therefore it has less friction, and you’re more likely to fall when walking on it. This is particularly true if it is heavily varnished – and wooden stairs often are to prevent the wood from getting worn.

The next major drawback is the cost. Although wood lasts longer, it costs massively more to buy, and could be twice as much as carpeting, or more. This is particularly true if your stairs wrap around a corner or are otherwise complicated.

Next, they are a lot nosier than carpeted stairs. The wood will echo under footsteps and there is nothing to absorb the sound.

If you’ve got little children or you’re sensitive to sound, carpet may be a better option, because it will nicely muffle the footfalls as people walk up and down. You should also think about this if anyone in your home will be asleep during the day.

What are the Main Pros of Carpet?

Carpet’s main advantage is that it is much safer than wood, offering traction under your feet when you are walking up and down the stairs. Stairs can be surprisingly dangerous, so it’s important to bear this in mind when choosing your stair material.

Another major benefit is the noise absorption. As mentioned above, wood is far noisier than carpet because it doesn’t absorb the sound. However, because carpet has underlay and is made of fabric, carpeted stairs are far quieter. You can increase the carpet thickness, too, if you want to further muffle the sound.

Furthermore, carpeting tends to be a lot cheaper to buy upfront – although this does depend on the carpet you buy. Some can be expensive, but overall, this tends to be a much cheaper option, so it’s ideal if you’re doing up your home on a budget.

What are the Main Cons of Carpet?

Carpet isn’t great when it comes to wear and tear, which stairs get a lot of. If your carpet starts to get worn out or to pull away from your stairs, it will quickly become less safe than wooden stairs, so be aware of this.

To maximize the safety of your stair carpet, you should avoid carpets that have loops, especially long loops. Loops may tangle on your shoes or feet and could lead to tripping. They may also cause the carpet to get pulled, which will lift it up and make it less safe. Opt for short pile carpets that have tight fibers that will wear well.

Another drawback of carpet is that it’s harder to clean than wooden flooring, and can be more of a challenge if you have pets. Carpets are also more likely to trap allergens.

Final Thoughts

Both carpet and wood can be ideal for stairs, but they both have pros and cons that you should be aware of when making your choice. Well-installed carpet can be safest for stairs, but wood will wear better and often looks better. You should choose according to the needs of your home and the people who live in it.

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