Carpet vs hardwood stairs

Should it be carpet or wood that adorns your stairs?

It’s an important consideration – should it be carpet or wood that adorns your stairs? Whilst much may depend on personal preference and the style of your home, there are sound arguments for both options. But if you are currently weighing up the pros and cons of having a covered or uncovered staircase, the following may help you reach a decision.


Whether you opt for carpet or wood stairs, it is worth taking time before making a snap decision. Much will depend on the type of property, your lifestyle and, aesthetically, what will provide the best appearance in your home. If you wish to make the stairs more of a feature, then hardwood may win out, especially if your home is dominated by wood, in which case carpet may look out of place or even out of date. If your home is primarily carpeted, then the layout of the property will flow best if the stairs, too, are carpeted.

Safety First

The choice between wood and carpet will largely be determined by who will be using the stairs. Whilst wood exudes style, you have to factor in that the surface can be slippery. With young children or those of advancing years in situ, safety would suggest that carpet wins out. That said, if you are reluctant to completely cover your stairs, then nosing strips will provide improved traction and make a fall less likely.


Keeping wooden floors clean is generally much easier to do. From a hygiene perspective, they don’t collect dust or allergens in the same way carpets can,  and they aren’t liable to stains and smells – major considerations if you have pets. Carpets will also require regular vacuuming and you may need to steam clean or shampoo the area every few months. So, as far as maintenance and general cleanliness is concerned, wood wins out.

If you prefer carpet, however, then choose a short-pile rather than a deeper pile, as it will be easier to keep clean.

Wear and Tear

As well as being easier to maintain, hardwood stairs are also extremely durable by nature and will stand the test of time better than carpet. But they may be prone to scratching, especially with pets about. Carpet, meanwhile, is going to be more susceptible to wear and tear, especially with a pretty heavy footfall. If carpet is your preferred route, then give plenty of thought to colour choice. Darker shades won’t show up staining or dirt and a hard wearing texture will give you greater longevity.


Wood is always going to be noisier than carpet because it doesn’t absorb sound as effectively. You might also be aware of the odd creak or people walking up and down wooden stairs. Carpet nullifies noise – so if you prefer a calm and peaceful living environment, then some softness underfoot may be the better choice.


If there are already hardwood stairs in your home – and you want to preserve them – then you may wish to consider refinishing or treating the wood. This isn’t only relatively inexpensive, it could dramatically transform the appearance of the stairs and certainly, keep the wood looking healthier for longer.

But, if you are starting from scratch, hardwood will be considerably more expensive than carpet.  However, this outlay can balance out over time, given that carpet will need to be replaced every few years.


Whether you choose carpet or wood stairs, at JLA we have had years of experience, advising customers throughout West Sussex and further afield in making the right decision. Ultimately, it all comes down to individual choice but for further ideas, you can find inspiration here or we also recommend

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