Stop for a moment  and think about how many times you and your family go up and down the stairs every day. From stomping teens to scooting toddlers to energetic pets, stairs are one of the most overlooked thoroughfares in the home. And in many homes, they’re also a focal point, near entryways and much-used living spaces, so we want them to be both functional and attractive.

So what’s the best floor covering for your stairs? Some of the most important things to think about are how you use your stairs, flooring materials both upstairs and downstairs, along with factors like appearance, durability, ease of cleaning, safety and noise level. The good news is there are more high-quality materials for stairs than ever, and there’s a perfect fit for every household. Here’s a quick look at some of the options to help you make this important choice.

Hardwood Stairs

If you’re a hardwood fan and have hardwood floors upstairs and down, there’s a good chance you’re going to choose hardwood for your stairs. As most of us know, hardwood looks fantastic and is easy to clean on both floors and stairs. However, it can be slippery so consider runners or non-slip treads, especially if there are seniors or children in the picture. Hardwood also tends to be noisier than some other options, and creaks and loud footfalls can be part of the deal. Hardwood is incredibly durable and can last for decades but does tend to be one of the pricier options for stairways.

Runners and Treads for Hardwood

There are some attractive and low-cost options make your hardwood stairs more slip resistant. A runner is a piece of carpet that gives you a soft surface and more traction but doesn’t cover the full stair, so your beautiful hardwood shines through. We love runners and have tons of styles and colors to choose from. We install a thin pad underneath to add cushioning and help absorb noise.

Another option is non-slip treads, also available in a range of styles and colors. Treads cover part of the step for safety while leaving your beautiful wood or tile risers (the back part of the stair) uncovered.

Carpeting on Stairs

There are lots of upsides to carpeting on stairs. It’s budget-friendly, soft and comfortable on your feet and the quietest option around. It’s one of the safest materials available and offers traction and a softer surface in case of falls. However, carpeted stairs do see a lot of wear and tear and can be challenging to clean. Having carpet in a high-traffic stairway means plenty of dirt and stains. You’ll need to have a good vacuum on hand and be ready to do a more intensive carpet cleaning when necessary. You should also be ready to replace carpeting regularly on your stairs.

For the best look and most durable material, we recommend a dense, low pile carpet. Wool is a great material that can reduce allergens and make for easier cleaning, so it often makes a great choice for stairways.

Laminate Flooring on Stairs

Inexpensive and easy to clean, laminate flooring is increasingly popular on stairs. It’s fairly durable--not as long-lasting as hardwood but much less expensive. It’s easy to install for professionals, allowing us to offer clients a great look at a low cost. As with any laminate flooring, just be sure to clean up liquids right away to avoid damage.

Luxury Vinyl Tiles on Stairs

Another emerging option for stairs that some of us may not think of is luxury vinyl tiles. Wood-look vinyl tiles in a range of colors are absolutely everywhere these days, and with good reason. They’re resilient, easy to clean and come in stair-sized planks for easy installation.  Wood look treads with white risers is an especially hot look. 

Stairs and Seniors

Falls are one of the most common injuries in seniors. Making just a few small changes can help boost safety for seniors in your life. Installing safety treads on hardwood floors is an inexpensive step that can make a huge difference. Also, add railings on staircases that don’t have them to help make moving up and down stairs easier. Our team can help you find great options to help increase safety in your home in a cost-effective way that preserves the stylish look you’ve worked hard to achieve.

Stunning, Safe Stairs from Loudoun Valley Floors

When you think about it, stairs are one of the most important, high-traffic surfaces in your home. From the moment we head down for that first cup of coffee to heading upstairs for the night, we travel up and down the stairs countless times every day. Loudoun Valley Floors can help you choose just the right material for your family that will look and feel great while keeping safety and durability in mind.