Flooring Ideas for Stairs

Updated July 19, 2017

Winding, curved, spiral, L-shaped or straight, stairways are an integral part of homes and commercial buildings. Stairways are an extension of the rooms and entrance ways they lead to and from and should coexist with the decoration style of these areas. Traffic use, safety, maintenance and cleaning requirements are also important when you decide which flooring materials to install to cover stairs.


Hardwood, especially oak, is a very durable flooring material for a staircase. Maple and yellow birch, though softer, also make durable flooring ideas for stairs. Hardwoods can be stained in various wood tones. Hardwood is easy to clean with vacuuming and washing with plain water. These floors will need refinishing eventually, but hardwood can hold up for years between refinishes.

Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tiles are very easy to clean and are one of the most durable stair coverings. Ceramic tiles come in an array of styles, patterns and colours. You can install tiles over wood or concrete using epoxy glue for durability and strength. Textured, non-skid tiles are the safest choice for stairs.


Laminate flooring is one of the less expensive flooring materials for stairs. Laminates are installed over a subfloor and come in many patterns and colours. Laminates are best used for straight run stairs and are simple to clean. However, laminates do not provide durability in high-traffic areas and can be very slippery. You can install non-skid stripes at the front of stairs to help with safety issues.


Carpeted stairs can prevent creaking stair noise and provide warmth underfoot. Continuing carpet from an adjoining room up or down a stairway can allow for consistency in decor. Carpeting can be difficult to keep clean depending on foot traffic. Installing a clear plastic runner can prevent soil and wear and tear on carpeted stairs. Carpet options may include installing a carpet runner over hardwood stairs or using self-stick carpet stair sections.


You can apply epoxy paint to either wood or concrete stairs. Paint is both economical and durable and can be changed readily. After drying for two days, paint can provide a long-lasting stair covering. Mix silica sand into the paint to make painted stairs skid-resistant. Maintain painted stairs by vacuuming and wiping down with a mild detergent.

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About the Author

Cheryl Krueger is a retired Ohio elementary school teacher who enjoys raising pygmy goats and miniature donkeys. After concluding a 31-year teaching career, Krueger is now looking forward to freelance writing. She holds a bachelor's degree in education from Bowling Green State University and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from Ashland University. She has written for eHow and