Hardwood or Carpet Stairs?

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If you’re putting new floors in your Calgary home and you have a stairway, you might have a dilemma on your hands. Should you put carpet or hardwood on the stairs? Sometimes the choice isn’t obvious. If you have carpet upstairs and hardwood on the main floor you can go with either. Read the following pros and cons list to find out which floor best suits your staircase.


Unless you’re particularly fond of carpet, chances are you’ll like the look of hardwood-clad stairs more than carpet-clad. Hardwood on stairs looks minimal, clean and crisp. If you have a modern home with open riser stairs, hardwood will look slick. If on the other hand your staircase is closed into a corridor, hardwood helps the space feel a bit bigger and cleaner.


Many parents feel that carpet stairs are safer than hardwood. They feel that kids and seniors are less likely to slip. But we have also heard the opposite: many industry professionals say that studies have been done which record an equal amount of falls occurring on carpet staircases as hardwood staircases. There’s definitely some grey area, but generally speaking, carpet fibres do provide more friction than hardwood. Since carpet is padded and is, therefore, softer than hardwood, it will at least provide some cushion in case of small missteps or tumbles. But when it comes to the likelihood of falls, it’s our understanding that hardwood and carpet are equal.


Hardwood is by nature a more durable material than carpet. Generally speaking, a mid-range quality carpet will last 7-10 years, while hardwood lasts several decades. Hardwood-clad stairs will definitely stand the test of time longer than carpet. Most carpet manufacturers don’t warranty carpet installed on stairs because it can wear out quite quickly.

If you do choose to go with carpet for other reasons, make sure to choose a more durable-wearing carpet since staircases are often high traffic areas.


Hardwood is easier to clean than carpet. It is a hard surface floor and unlike carpet, what you see is what you get. Carpet accumulates debris in its fibres over time and must be vacuumed thoroughly. To clean hardwood stairs, all you need to do is grab a specialty hardwood mop and cleaner like the Torlys Cleaning Kit which we sell at Floorscapes, and simply wipe down the hardwood.

Carpeted stairs can be a bit tricky to clean, but if you have a good vacuum with both a powerhead and a brush attachment, you can get most of the debris build-up. Clean the stair treads with the powerhead and the carpeted risers with the brush attachment.


Less high on the list of priorities, but definitely still a factor is noise. Carpet is a great sound insulator, so it will absorb the sound of footsteps while hardwood will amplify it. This can be especially handy if you have energetic kids or a partner that treads on the stomping side of stepping.


If you have any more questions about selecting hardwood or carpet for your stairs, send us an email or give us a call. Better yet, if you live in Calgary and you’re in the flooring market, stop by our showroom at 525 58th Aveue SE. The Floorscapes team has as much experience as we do passion: combined, we have over 150 years in the world of Calgary flooring. We offer our knowledge, our expertise and our aesthetic sensibility in order to help you create a space that you will love.

Written by guest author Eric Osborne.