Best Flooring Types for Stairs in 2022

The right type of stair flooring can make or break your home’s appearance. Whether you’re building a new home or remodeling the one you have, there are several factors to consider when choosing the best flooring for stairs.

Staircase size, location, and purpose all factor into flooring choices. Noise, safety, and personal style are other considerations that will help narrow down your choices. Each type of stair flooring has its benefits and drawbacks.

Find out when and where each type of flooring works best and see our recommendations for each category.

1. Carpet

Carpet is a great flooring material for stairs. It comes in a ton of textures, patterns, and colors and buffers noise better than any other kind of flooring. This is a huge consideration for a staircase located near bedrooms, offices, or other areas of your home where keeping quiet is a priority.

Wool carpet looks beautiful but is not the best choice for a busy staircase. Synthetic carpets are much more durable and resist soil and stains better than natural carpet fibers.

The right kind of carpeting also helps prevent staircase slips and falls by providing traction for those traveling up and down. Printed carpet helps camouflage pet hair and dust while turning the staircase into a beautiful focal point. Look for nylon carpet that has built-in stain protection for the greatest durability on high-traffic stairs.

 

Best Buy

1. Stainmaster PetProtect Natural Essence Pattern Carpet

Stainmaster PetProtect Natural Essence Pattern Carpet

 

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Stainmaster’s PetProtect Natural Essence Pattern Carpet is a nylon fiber carpet with outstanding soil and stain resistance. It’s specially made for extra durability and each of the nine neutral colors is made from multiple color fibers to help hide pet hair and stains.

Its low pile and textured surface are ideal for stair installation and will also help ensure safe footage. Although it has a low pile, it’s still soft underfoot and its texture is subtle enough to coordinate with any style of home decor.

2. Hardwood

Hardwood flooring is a classic type of floor covering that has never gone out of style. Although many materials imitate the look of hardwood flooring, there is no substitute for the rich finish and underfoot feeling of genuine hardwood surfaces.

There are hundreds of hardwood flooring options, including solid wood, engineered wood, and sustainable bamboo. Hardwood floors come in a range of colors ranging from pale birch to deep ebony. Hardwood planks can also be painted in any color—an easier option than stripping and staining worn wooden stairs.

Properly finished, hardwood stairs can last for decades, but you may need to install no-slip treads to keep them from being too slippery under sock-covered feet.

 

2. Bruce Plano Oak Gunstock Solid Hardwood Flooring

Bruce Plano Oak Gunstock Solid Hardwood Flooring

 

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Bruce’s Plano Oak Gunstock Solid Hardwood Flooring is ¾ inch thick and each hardwood plank is five inches wide. Random wood plank lengths range between 12 and 84 inches long—a unique feature that adds a bit of whimsy. This hardwood flooring highlights the beauty of natural wood by keeping knots, small holes, mineral streaks, and minor milling imperfections. This provides a comfortable, lived-in feeling without being overly rustic.

In addition to the warm brown gunstock finish, it comes in grey, natural, mocha, and three additional shades of brown. It can be stripped and refinished up to three times, so it is designed for longevity at an affordable price point. This makes it a good surface choice for a busy stairway.

3. Laminate

Laminate stair flooring is a budget-friendly alternative to real wood. It comes in a variety of other styles as well. Because you can purchase textured laminate flooring that provides more traction than wood floors, it makes a great alternative to carpeted stairs.

Laminate flooring is durable and easy to keep clean. It also resists moisture, dents, and dings much more readily than wood. Most laminate flooring is easy to install and replace when necessary. This gives it a clear budget advantage over wood or tile—not only because the product itself is cheaper, but because you can save a lot of money by installing it yourself.

 

3. American Concepts Liberty Oak Laminate Flooring

American Concepts Liberty Oak Laminate Flooring

 

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If you want an affordable laminate flooring that looks like a classic oak wood floor, check out American Concepts Liberty Oak Laminate Flooring. Each laminate floor plank is eight inches wide by 51 inches long. The thickness is just seven millimeters, which means you may be able to install it on top of your existing flooring.

It has a slip-resistant surface—ideal for staircase use. It also offers excellent UV, scratch, stain, mildew, and fade resistance which means that it’s suitable for all kinds of interiors. It will hold up through the demands of a busy family.

The medium brown color has a heavily variegated finish that looks like a natural hardwood floor peppered with attractive organic flaws. If you prefer a more solid-colored floor, choose the Smith honey oak finish instead.

4. Pre-made Stair Treads

Pre-made stair treads are the easy solution for a DIYer who needs to refresh the look of an existing hardwood staircase. Not only are they suitable for a worn wooden stairway, but they’re also ideal for resurfacing a stairway covered in carpeting that only has bare lumber wood underneath.

Pre-finished stair treads are made from edge-glued wood—not laminate or veneered material—so they provide the look of hardwood without the difficulty of creating hardwood stairs yourself. Wood stair treads are available at home improvement centers and flooring stores. Some pre-made stair treads come with attached facing that covers risers in a matching finish.

Carpet stair treads are another option for refreshing tired staircase surfaces. Carpet treads are rectangular carpet mats that cover the center of each step’s surface. Other styles fold over the stair nosing and look more like carpet than individual mats.

 

4. Oak Valley Designs Carpet Stair Treads

 

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Oak Valley Designs Carpet Stair Treads Bayside Charm are 27 inch-wide carpeting panels with a bullnose edge suitable for hardwood or painted staircases. While they are considerably more expensive than basic carpet tiles or mats, their tailored look is worth the price. In addition, you can purchase matching landing mats. Colors include various shades of beige and grey, and each one has adhesive on the back to keep it in place.

These carpet treads are an excellent option for someone who wants the look of a stair runner but not the expense. The feeling underfoot is like that of a low pile carpet with a little padding underneath. Pet owners appreciate how they help aging dogs navigate stairs without slipping or falling—and they’re easy to replace if one gets soiled or stained.

5. Stair Runner

A stair runner is an economical type of carpet designed just for stairs. Sold on rolls of a certain width, a carpet stair runner is installed in one solid waterfall down the staircase, bent around each stair nose, and nailed in place. If your stairs are beginning to show signs of wear and tear, a carpet runner is an easy way to refresh them.

Because your original wood floors finish will still show on each side of the runner, it’s a great compromise between carpeted and hardwood stairs. You can still see the beautiful hardwood flooring, but gain the safety of carpet.

You can find this type of stair carpet in solid colors or highly detailed prints that come with matching area rugs for your landings. Most are made of synthetic carpet fiber that has been engineered for extra durability and soil resistance.

 

5. TrafficMaster Derbent Grey Stair Runner

TrafficMaster Derbent Grey Stair Runner

 

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TrafficMaster Derbent Grey Stair Runner is an attractive, affordable, and durable way to add carpet to your staircase. It has a monochromatic scrollwork pattern that gives it an appearance somewhere between a Berber carpet and an area rug. It’s great for those who like traditional decor, but aren’t fans of overly busy rug patterns on a staircase.

The Derbent stair runner is 26” wide and has an affordable, mid-range price point. Because your final cost is calculated by the linear foot, there is very little waste at the time of installation. It is easily spot-cleaned and regular vacuuming helps keep it looking new.

6. Tile

Tile flooring is a durable, waterproof flooring material that is common in beach cottages, Mediterranean architecture, and luxury homes. Because of its moisture resistance, tile is ideal for basement stairs and other areas where excess dampness might present a problem.

Natural stone tiles are the most expensive, but their natural textures make them a better choice than smoother tile when it comes to stair surfaces. Glass, porcelain, or ceramic tile mosaics are a beautiful way to enhance stair risers.

Slippery-surfaced tiles are an obvious no-go for stair treads. For safety reasons, be sure to choose a textured tile that provides some degree of traction. A professional tile installer will know not to use wall tiles for flooring, but it would be easy for a DIYer to purchase the wrong type. Step tile must also be thinner than 3/8 of an inch to not affect riser height.

 

6. Della Torre Belmont Multicolor Glazed Porcelain Stone Look Floor and Wall Tile

Della Torre Belmont Multicolor Glazed Porcelain Stone Look Floor and Wall Tile

 

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This 12-inch by 24-inch Della Torre Belmont Multicolor Glazed Porcelain Stone Look Tile is perfect for foyer or basement stairs, floors, and walls. It looks like real slate, but at a fraction of the cost. Its rectangular design breaks away from traditional square tile shapes and the multicolor finish works well with cool or warm colors.

Purchase the matching bullnose trim tile for finishing the edge on each of your tile steps. Don’t let the idea of installing tile yourself intimidate you. Basic tilework is a relatively easy DIY project, and while stairs present their own challenges, you can save a great deal of money by learning basic tile laying and grouting skills.

7. Vinyl

If you already have vinyl flooring, you can install vinyl plank or tiles on your stairs.  However, your treads must be completely level for vinyl plank or vinyl tile to install properly. Like classic tile, vinyl tile is another good choice for a basement or kitchen staircase where moisture can be an issue.

Luxury vinyl is considerably thicker and more durable than traditional sheet vinyl flooring. Luxury vinyl plank flooring comes in a wood-plank shape and closely mimics real hardwood colors and textures. Luxury vinyl tile looks like textured stone, ceramic, or concrete tile.

 

7. FloorPops Medina Grey Peel & Stick Floor Tile

 

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FloorPops is a popular brand of peel and stick vinyl tiles. Not only are they easy for nearly anyone to install, but they also come in all the latest trendy designs. Each Medina Peel & Stick Floor Tile Grey is a 12 x 12 inch square with an intricate ironwork design. Equally compatible with chic farmhouse, bohemian, or even gothic decor, the Medina pattern is available in light grey or black, paired with white.

These peel and stick floor tiles are perfect for anyone looking for an easy, affordable way to update their flooring. Each box of FloorPops includes enough tile to cover 10 square feet. Just know that the adhesive is permanent; therefore, it may not be a good choice if you’re renting your home or apartment.