The Pros and Cons of Wood Stairs Explained


Choosing between wood and carpet stairs can be one of the toughest decisions when building a new home or renovating an existing one. Some people will prefer carpeted stairs while others will prefer wooden stairs. So, beyond personal preference, what are the pros and cons of wooden stairs? 

Wood stairs are much easier to clean, collect fewer allergens, and offer more design flexibility. However, they can also be loud, slippery, and uncomfortable to the feet.

If you’re thinking about installing wooden stairs in your future home, you should know their advantages and disadvantages. Keep reading to learn more about what to expect if you decide to go for wood stairs in your home.  

The Pros of Wood Stairs

Wood stairs have a lot of benefits, particularly in terms of cleanliness and durability. Here are some reasons why you should consider installing wooden stairs in your home.

Wood Stairs Are Easier To Keep Clean

Because of their smooth surface, wooden stairs are much easier to clean than carpeted stairs. Instead of having to vacuum, you can easily sweep and mop the stairs to clean up any mess or debris. 

You can even apply a wood floor polish to make them look brand new in minutes. I recommend the Weiman Wood Floor Polish and RestorerOpens in a new tab., available on Amazon.com. This ready-to-use formula can also help protect the lifespan of your floors. Additionally, this polish uses micro-filling technology to help get rid of any tiny scratches that may be ruining the aesthetic of your floors. 

Beyond being super easy to clean, wood stairs are also harder to get dirty. If you’ve ever spilled a drink on a carpeted floor, you’ll understand. Simply spilling water on a carpet can be a headache, and good luck getting rid of stains if you spill red wine. With wooden stairs, all you need to do is grab a piece of cloth, and your stairs will soon be as good as new. 

Stock Photo of wooden stairs

Wood Stairs Will Collect Fewer Allergens

Carpeted stairs can cause carpet allergies. Because carpets store dust mites, pollen, and other known allergens more easily than smooth surface floors, they are a bad idea for many people. 

People who suffer from carpet allergies can experience: 

  • Frequent sneezing and coughing.
  • Itchy or watery eyes.
  • Scratchy throat.
  • Runny nose.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Hives.
  • Irritated or red skin.
  • Worsened asthma symptoms.

The effects of carpet allergies on people are so severe that scientific studies recommend people avoid carpet flooringOpens in a new tab. to prevent complications from allergies. 

They can be a major problem for people with asthma, as carpet stairs can worsen your symptoms. If you or someone in your family has asthma, you should get wooden stairs instead as they’re easier to keep allergen-freeOpens in a new tab..

Even if carpet allergies don’t affect you or anyone in your family, you can rest easier knowing that your stairs will be free of dust mites if you install wood stairs. Additionally, it is possible to develop allergies later in life, and wooden stairs mean that you won’t have to worry about tearing out the carpet and replacing the stairs completely later down the road.

More Versatility Is Available With Wood

Wooden stairs offer a lot more design flexibility compared to carpet stairs. Not only are there many types of wood and wood finishes available so that your stairs can match the rest of your decor, wood stairs can also do a lot of additional things that carpet stairs cannot. 

For example, floating wood staircases can be a great way to give your home a futuristic look. If you’re building a new home or doing extensive renovations, installing a floating wood stair system could take your house to the next level. 

Additionally, new technology has made the design, production, and installation of these high-quality wood stairs very quick and easy. This has significantly reduced the price of these stairs, allowing them to be accessible to people of all budgets. 

Check out the following YouTube video to see how fast and affordable installing floating wood stairs can be: 

The Cons of Wood Stairs

Beyond all their benefits, wood stairs do have some disadvantages that you should also keep in mind and think about before you commit to these stairs. Let’s take a look at some of them:

Wood Stairs Can Be Slippery

As smooth surface floors, wood stairs can be much more slippery than carpet stairs. If you tend to walk around the house wearing socks or slippers, you’ll have to be careful when going up and down the stairs.

This is not normally a problem for adults, but you should be particularly aware of this if you have small children in the house. Not only are children less coordinated, but they also tend to run around the house. A slip and fall down the stairs could be extremely dangerous for a child. 

A way to minimize your chances of slipping is to wear non-slip slippers or socks inside the house. We recommend the Zaples Baby Non-Slip Grip Ankle SocksOpens in a new tab. for your children and the Pembrook Non-Slip Grip Yoga SocksOpens in a new tab. for adults, both available on Amazon.com. 

The Zaples socks are available in a range of colors, allowing you to coordinate them with your little one’s outfit, and the pull tabs behind the ankles make putting them on and taking them off your child very easy. The Pembrook yoga socks are available in 6 colors, unisex, and designed to be as long-lasting as possible.

Wood Stairs Can Be Loud

Loudness is another disadvantage of wood stairs. Although not quite as dangerous as slipping, noisiness can also be a significant nuisance inside the house. 

Loud noises can be particularly troublesome if you or someone you live with works from home. Constant loud noise from your staircase may be distracting and even unprofessional if you happen to be in an important meeting, and it’s worse if your walls are properly soundproofed.  

Wood Stairs Are Not as Comfortable

While wood stairs can be very pretty to look at, they are not exactly comfortable. Many people choose to look past the many benefits of wooden stairs simply because they aren’t the coziest to walk on. 

Wood stairs can be cold, hard, and unpleasant underfoot. If you tend to walk around the house barefoot, walking up and down carpeted stairs can be a much more pleasant experience than walking on wooden stairs. 

This is especially true in the winter when temperatures drop, as wood can feel strikingly cold to exposed skin. A quick solution is getting a pair of wool slippers, like these Acorn Women’s Moc SlippersOpens in a new tab. from Amazon.com. These slippers are available in a range of colors and designs and can also be worn to keep your feet warm in cold temperatures.

How To Make Wood Stairs Safer

Safety is the biggest disadvantage of wood stairs for most people. This is especially true for families with babies and small children, as a simple slip and fall can be catastrophic. Luckily, there are many ways to make your wood stairs safer. 

Install Anti-Slip Strips

When you hear about anti-slip strips, you probably think of industrial-looking strips that shouldn’t belong in a home. Luckily, there are more visually-appealing alternatives available for homes. 

You can install transparent anti-slip strips on your wood stairs that’ll help prevent any accidents. Since they’re transparent and adhere to the wood surface, they’re pretty hard to spot from a distance, so they won’t ruin how your staircase looks.

The best part is, these are a temporary fix and can be removed whenever necessary. Anti-slip strips are a great solution for families with small children, as you can remove them once your children are old enough. 

We recommend the Stair Treads Non-Slip Strips for IndoorsOpens in a new tab. (available on Amazon.com). It offers a great balance of safety and visual appeal and is extremely long-lasting, so you don’t have to worry about it peeling off within a few months. 

Use Stair Runners or Carpet Treads

Stair runners are long carpets that run from the top of the stairs all the way down to the base of the stairs. These carpets don’t cover the full width of your stairs, so your wood staircase will still be visible. 

Adding a stair runner to your wood staircase can add grip to your steps, making it easier to walk up and down the stairs without slipping. Additionally, they can add a lot of personality to your home by introducing a pop of color or design elements.

If you’re not sure about adding a stair runner, you can also look into adding carpet treads. They’re much more affordable than stair runners and accomplish the same practical purpose of adding friction to prevent slips. 

You can get the Stair Carpet Treads Non-SlipOpens in a new tab. from Amazon.com for a quick and easy way to make your wood stairs safer. The warm brown color works with most design aesthetics. It’s extremely easy to install, and there’s no glue needed, so there’s no additional mess involved. 

Spray Stairs With An Anti-Slip Spray

If you really don’t want to alter the look of your wood stairs at all but are still concerned about safety, then you should look into using an anti-slip spray. I recommend the KrylonOpens in a new tab. Opens in a new tab.Non-Skid AerosolOpens in a new tab. from Amazon.com – it will add grip to your stairs without changing the way they look. 

All you need to do is spray your stairs with a non-slip spray to decrease the likelihood of slipping when walking up or down the stairs.

Final Thoughts

There are many advantages and disadvantages that come with having wood stairs in your home. Wood stairs are easier to clean, collect fewer allergens, and offer more design flexibility. However, they’re also slippery, loud, and uncomfortable. 

You should consider whether the pros outweigh the cons for your family before committing to wood stairs.

Luckily, there are many ways to deal with the cons of wood stairs. Using anti-slip strips, stair runners, or stair spray can minimize the risk of slipping down the stairs. Likewise, using non-slip slippers can keep your feet warm and cozy while also preventing any accidents.  

Sources

John McCormick

I have been woodworking since being introduced to the hobby in High School. I enjoy woodworking as a hobby and would like to share some of what I have learned with the world. I have recently built a CNC router system and I have enjoyed learning this new dimension of the hobby.

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