Take a minute to think about the number of times you and your family tromp up and down your stairs every day. From active toddlers to stomping teens to playful pets, they’re one of the busiest parts of your home. In many households, stairs face the main entrance, so it’s important to choose a flooring option that’s both functional and attractive.
7 Most Popular Flooring Ideas for Stairs
What flooring is ideal for your stairs? Aside from looks, comfort, durability and noise level, you must also consider safety. Since stairways are notorious for slip-and-fall accidents, choosing an anti-slip material is key.
Thanks to advances in technology, there are many high-quality flooring materials that can be used for stairs. However, not all are suitable for every household. Your choice will depend upon your needs, preferences, lifestyle and budget.
Here’s a quick look at some of the options to help you make an informed choice.
Do you love hardwood’s classic look and natural elegance? It’s incredibly durable, easy to clean and, unlike carpets, doesn’t trap dirt or allergens.
Engineered hardwood is, meanwhile, a great flooring alternative to solid hardwood, with added resistance to moisture, dents and scratches.
However, neither are slip-resistant, so you might consider using carpets or non-slip treads to avoid injury.
Wood also tends to be noisier than some other flooring options. This too can be fixed (to some extent) with carpet runners.
Carpeting is a popular flooring option for stairs because it’s soft, comfortable and quiet. It also provides traction and is one of the safest flooring choices in case of slip-and-fall accidents.
However, carpets experience a lot of wear and tear and can be difficult to clean and maintain. Stairs being a high-traffic area accumulate a lot of dirt and allergens; this means that you’ll need to vacuum frequently. You may also need to replace the carpets after a year or two.
For better looks and durability, choose dense, low-pile carpet. Wool, for example, is a great flooring material that reduces allergens and makes for easy cleaning.
For those who want stairway flooring that looks like wood but without the sticker shock, laminate is a good choice. It’s more versatile, is easier to maintain than wood, and won’t show wear the same way as carpets or hardwood. Thanks to modern 3D printing technology, you can also choose almost any look, including that of wood, ceramic, stone and glazed tiles.
However, installing laminate on a staircase has its challenges. The width of standard stair treads (the part you put your foot on) is 11 inches, whereas the width of most laminate-flooring planks is a little over seven. This means, you’ll have to join two planks together to cover the entire tread surface, which is tricky. Only an experienced flooring installer will know how to do this properly.
Another popular wood-like flooring option for stairs, bamboo is extremely sustainable and durable. Available in a wide range of colours, grains and designs, it’s quite versatile and suits almost any interior setting or decor.
To clean, all you need is a soft cloth or microfiber mop to remove dust and dirt. Avoid using a wet sponge or mop, and never steam clean. Wipe up spilled liquids immediately to avoid stains.
The best thing about cork is that it can be used it for both the stairways’ risers and treads. Like carpet, cork is slip-resistant, soft and comfortable underfoot. Like wood, it can be finished in a variety of paints and stains to suit any colour scheme or design style. It also has anti-microbial properties and resists both mould and mildew. Cork’s low maintenance and long-lasting qualities make it an excellent floor covering for both your stairs and landing.
Its innate beauty, extreme durability and high resistance to wear make stone a popular flooring choice for stairs. Granite, marble and limestone are some of the popular natural stone flooring materials that come in a wide variety of colours and textures. You can mix and match them for a unique and customized look.
Most stone staircase flooring also needs to be sealed every two years or so to protect it from spills and stains. Always use a runner to avoid dents, scratches and slip-and-fall accidents.
There are many benefits to using cork flooring on your staircase. Aside from being durable and gentle on feet, it has insulating properties that help keep the treads warm. Always use a sealant with cork flooring to protect it from moisture or water damage.
A well-built stairway is the perfect way to enhance your property. There are hundreds of flooring materials available, but only a few are suitable for stairs. While the ones outlined here have their pros and cons in terms of looks and functionality, the best option for your stairs will depend on your needs, lifestyle and existing decor.