Need a Quote?

(207) 786-8737

Hardwood vs Carpet Stairs: Which is Best for You?

When building or remodeling a home, you’re faced with a lot of decisions; paint colors, materials, layouts, just to name a few, are all things you have to consider. It can be hard to make so many decisions at once, and even harder to truly realize how you’ll feel about those decisions when you’re finally living with them.

One of the biggest issues a lot of homeowners face, is what to do with their stairs. We’ve noticed many people have torn views on hardwood versus carpeted stairs, and we’re here to help.

Things To Think About

  • Safety
  • Cleaning and maintenance
  • Noise
  • Aesthetic

Carpeted Stairwells


It has long been argued that carpeted stairs are a much safer route. Sometimes clumsy adults, senior citizens, children, and pets are less likely to slip or slide down to the bottom on carpeted stairs.

Cleaning and maintenance

While vacuuming and cleaning carpeted stairs may be slightly more time consuming, there are plenty of vacuums with stair specific attachments. Using a cordless handheld vacuum or the brush or hose attachment makes it a bit easier.

Stains and wear and tear are also something to note when deciding what material of carpet and what color.


Carpeted stairs certainly have a noise suppression perk, especially if you’re not a household that takes their shoes off at the front door or have pets.


While carpeted stairs may not be the most ‘attractive,’ there are so many types of carpet made with different materials that there’s something for everyone and every type of home. At Fortin Construction, we can help you make the best decision for your dream home.


Hardwood Stairwells


While there are concerns about the safety of hardwood stairs, there are some precautions you can take:

  • Same tread depth and rise height for every stair
    • A good rule of thumb, or toe, is to make they’re wide enough for even the biggest footed person in your home.
  • Different colored treads (the horizontal parts of the stairs that you step on) and risers (the vertical section)
    • Many people get creative with this idea. From using wallpaper to painting each riser something fun like books or various shades of the same color, maintaining contrast between each stair helps people, and animals, know where to step.
  • Lots of lighting
    • Whether this is directly above the stairs, or a light under each tread, having the appropriate lighting will help people see the steps as they go up and down the stairs.
  • Handrails that run the entire length of the stairwell, including if the stairwell turns or twists
  • Use tread covers, even if it’s as simple as a thin strip to provide grip
  • Install a runner
    • While this may be considered too close to carpeting the stairs, runners can be the best of both worlds.
    • Pro-Tip: Make sure the runner is securely attached at the bottom of the riser, underneath the bullnose of the thread, and the top of the thread.
    • If you don’t want to install a full runner, you can always install carpet just on the treads.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Hardwood stairs can be much easier to clean on a regular basis. Use a Swiffer or similar product and do a quick wipe over each stair. It’s important, though, to keep in mind shoe scuffs, stains, and normal wear and tear will need to be maintained and cleaned. Also, don’t forget to clean under the bullnose of the tread, the risers, the handrails, the posts, and newels if used.


If you’re a household that removes shoes at the entrance, this may be less of an issue. However, if you keep your shoes on until you get to your upstairs bedroom or bathroom, your shoes, especially heels, will prove to be very noisy going up and down the stairs.

If you have pets, their little nails will make a scratching or ‘tip tapping’ sound.


It’s hard to dispute the stance that hardwood floors look beautiful in a home. With natural wood finishing, they do add a simple, clean, elegant look to any house. At Fortin Construction, we can help you decide the best wood for you.



At the end of the day, you have to decide which pros and cons are more important to you and your family. It may be hard to go the runner or carpet route when you’ve had your heart set on hardwood floors, but it’s up to you to decide what’s best for your family. 

Contact us today so we can get to work on making your dream home a reality, and check out our staircase gallery.

Web Design and Development by Farmore Marketing