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Carpet vs. Hardwood Stairs

As a first-time homeowner, planning the design, interior, and other aspects of your home is understandably mentally taxing and exasperating.

Choosing between a hardwood and carpeted staircase, for example, is not easy. There are several aspects that you need to consider and weigh. And that includes your budget, the overall interior design of the house, as well as the safety of your family. 

That being said, we are here to help you. This article covers the benefits, as well as the disadvantages, of both carpet and hardwood stairs. 

Let’s start.

Comparing Carpeted Stairs to Hardwood Stairs

Deciding which type of carpet flooring is better—carpeted or hardwood staircase, in this case—is partly objective, partly subjective. It is because all types of stair flooring provide a significant role function-wise as well as aesthetic-wise. 

Carpeted stairs, for example, can keep you and your family safe from slipping and falling off the stairs. It can serve as a noise reduction device as well while keeping your feet warm, especially during the winter season.

Hardwood stairs, on the other hand, is unapparelled in terms of elegance and beauty. It is known for its exceptional durability too, and value as a long-term investment.

But is that all?

The Perks of Carpeted Stairs

Opting carpet for your stairs has several advantages that you, your family, and even your guests can enjoy. Here’s how:

  • Serves as a non-slip device. Many homeowners—first-timer or not—usually opt for carpet for their stairs because of its functionality. It is particularly true for people who prioritize safety over aesthetics.

That said, a carpeted stair serves as a non-slip device and prevents falls.

In essence, the traction between the carpet and the skin lessens the chance of someone falling. Carpets naturally absorb (spilt) liquids too, which often is the reason why someone slips off. And if someone accidentally falls, the soft texture of the carpet provides a cushion and can help minimize injuries. 

As such, given its ability to prevent skidding, it is very useful for families with toddlers, elders, and even pets. 

  • It helps to reduce noise. Another great thing about a carpeted stair function-wise is that it is not as noisy as non-carpeted stairs. Essentially, carpets can reduce or even completely eliminate the sound the feet make when walking—be it on the stair or the floor. 

In some way, it could reduce creaks on the stair too! But don’t expect it to completely get rid of it. Having that said, it is best to opt for a carpeted stair if you have very active kids who like to run up and down the house.

  • Speedy installation. Another great thing about carpet (for stairs) is it is easy and quick to install, specifically for stairs with no landings. It takes about two to five minutes only for it to be completed if installed by professional carpet installers. So, if you are the one who installed it, it would probably take at least 30 minutes only.
  •  Offers warmth. Aside from your family’s safety, carpeted stairs feel great for the feet too thanks to the warmth it offers. Essentially, all types of carpets have the ability to retain heat in a room and make the space warmer. It is especially true on thick carpets.

In fact, a room without carpet was found to lose around 10% of the heat.  

Are There Disadvantages?

While there are numerous benefits carpeted stairs can provide, it also has a few drawbacks. 

For example, carpets for stairs are not easy to. Everyone knows that carpets, in general, are not easy to clean. But carpets on stairs are much harder to wash as it takes higher foot traffic compared to other areas of the house. 

Aside from that, carpets are quite expensive too. Installing a carpet for a stair of 12 flights, for instance, will cost you around $800. It also reduces the stair treads’ depth—something to be concerned about if you have kids or elders in the household—particularly for thicker than the standard type of stair carpets.

Generally, stair steps are 10 inches deep (by code) minimum. And by adding a carpet, the depth is reduced by half an inch. As a result, it makes it prone to trip hazards since your feet have less room to rest on. 

The Perks of Hardwood Stairs

Hardwood stairs have been a staple—and even a symbol of elegance and wealth—in many households across the globe. Still, it does not mean it is the best option for you and your family.

Having said that, here are a few perks that wooden stairs offer:

  •  A convenient refinishing option. Stairs, especially those that are not built with quality and durable wood, eventually wear down. It is specifically true in stair treads, which often withstand heavy impacts and receive dents and scratches.

But the good thing is that, if you opt to stay with a wooden staircase rather than placing a carpet, replacing the damaged stair steps is a piece of cake. Refinishing it is easy as well as you can just simply sand the stair treads, apply paint or lacquer.

  • Durability. In terms of durability, a hardwood stair is the best option. It is particularly true when it is built with high-quality staircases that are kiln-dried and polished to a high standard.

Such types of wooden stairs are long-lasting and can withstand even heavy foot traffic.

  • Environmentally friendly. While carpet provides numerous benefits, do you know that it releases harmful chemicals that placing it on your stairs can negatively affect our respiratory system, our eyes, and even our nervous system.

In essence, the adhesive used in fixing the carpet on the stair contains dangerous volatile organic chemicals such as toluene and benzene.

As such, aside from their top-tier durability, hardwood stairs are also eco-friendly.

  •  Aesthetic value. Lastly, hardwood stairs have high aesthetic value. With that, opting for a wooden staircase is a better option if you are planning to sell your house eventually. Everybody loves an elegant interior, and a wooden staircase can serve as a centerpiece as well.

In return, this could help you sell your house at a great value. 

Are There Disadvantages?

Hardwood stairs do have a few disadvantages as well. It is, for example, prone trip hazard since wooden stairs are typically slippery. It is particularly true when wet due to, say, spilt drinks. 

Moreover, hardwood stairs do not offer the same warmth carpets do. And treading up and down could be noisy as well, especially if the stair has creaky sounds. 

Conclusion

Choosing between carpeted and hardwood stairs is a decision that should be based on the homeowner’s preferences. If you prioritize functionality, then installing a carpet would be the best option. However, if you prefer aesthetics—and if you are planning to sell your house eventually—then a wooden stair would be an excellent choice.

All in all, it comes down to what you need and wants for yourself and your family. 

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