Indoor Stair Flooring Options

Updated July 19, 2017

Whether your stairs are strictly for getting from one place to another or you want them to be a showpiece that cascades down onto the main floor, stairs are an important and functional part of your home. You need to cover them with something durable, beautiful and safe.


Wood is the gold standard for stairs. It is rather expensive and a little slippery, but it is beautiful and very durable. There is wide variety of wood types suitable for stairs, including oak, pine, cherry, mahogany and maple.


Carpet is another old standby for stairs. It is hard to slip on and easy to clean with a vacuum. Cheaper carpet does tend to wear or pull up over time, and carpet needs to be professionally cleaned at times to keep it looking good. However, it is an inexpensive and safe solution for a stairway.


Bamboo flooring is slightly softer than some woods, but it is known as a sustainable grass that grows much more quickly than wood. Bamboo has a look between wood and laminate. It tends to be about the same price as a cheaper wood floors. It is quite slippery to walk on, so not ideal for stairways, especially in a home with children or elderly residents.

Stone and Tile

Stone and tile stairs are challenging to design because of the many cuts required for installation in a staircase. For this reason, tiles should be installed by professionals and tend to be expensive. Stone and tile stairs are very hard and some types can be slippery, but they look gorgeous and give a cathedral-like appearance to a space.


Laminate looks similar to wood, but it is actually a processed wood product with wood laminated onto the top. Laminate can be easily glued in place on a stairway and is durable. It has the classic appearance of wood but does look lower in quality to the skilled eye.

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About the Author

Anise Hunter began writing in 2005, focusing on the environment, gardening, education and parenting. She has published in print and online for "Green Teacher," Justmeans and Neutral Existence. Hunter has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Resource Management in environmental science from Simon Fraser University.