Hardwood Stairs: An Introduction To Endless Possibilities

So you are finally picked out your favorite floor from the showroom. Its probably taken a lot of thinking over all the different colors and wood types you can use. But wait, what is that you are missing? It is something you use every day without even realizing it is a part of your flooring. That’s right, it’s your stair treads and risers. Looking at them you are probably thinking, how are those done? it looks so complicated. Putting in wood stairs to with your flooring doesn’t have to be a scary experience. Here we will walk you through some of the things to think about before installing your wood stairs.

Stairs have a few key pieces to the installation process. These are treads, risers, stair noses. Treads are the horizontal steps that show the biggest area on your stairs. Risers are the vertical backings to your steps. 


Stair Treads

Tread with ReturnFor steps, the most common material used is treads. A tread is a full plank of wood with a rounded edge on the front. When considering treads, also consider if your stairs are open or enclosed. Open staircases require a tread with return. The tread with return means there is are rounded edges on the side as well as the front. 





Stair Risers

Mahogany Treads White RisersRisers are similar in construction to treads however these are installed on the vertical section of your stairs. There is a trend which involves using mismatched treads and risers.

White primed poplar board which you paint any color to match your woodwork is an excellent option to save some cost while allowing the treads to pop. This way you can have a unique two-tone style. Since risers are not stepped on, they do not see as much traffic as the treads and therefore a softer wood will still last a long time.



Stair Nose

Landing AreaThis is technically a transition molding, however, it is also a critical piece which goes into most stair projects. When you install hardwood flooring and wish to transition downstairs the last plank which is rounded is called a stair nose. This curved molding also known as bullnose is basically a narrower tread with a groove on the end.

On the landing area, a stair nose is used along with the hardwood flooring to form a square platform for changing directions.



Overall Cost

Stair Nose + FloorThe overall cost of a full stair project is approximately $4,000 – $6,000 depending on the materials selected. This figure includes material and labor. A simple way to calculate the approximate cost for a stair project is to pretend you are installing 400 sqft of extra flooring. If you have a 1000 sqft project, now you have a 1400 sqft project. While this seems like a hefty sum the stairs are one of the most labor intensive and difficult parts of a flooring project. Each angle needs to be measured meticulously and fit to perfection. It requires a skilled installer and sometimes even a stair specialist for custom work.

While it is not advised to cut cost on hiring an experienced installer, there are some great options for savings. For risers, you have the option of doing a white primed poplar which is more affordable than most hardwoods, especially exotics. Some installers are capable of using stair nose plus flooring on every step instead of full treads. If you choose to go with this method, please make sure to use long planks whenever possible to reduce the number of seams on your staircase.

You can think of your stairs step by step. Check with your installer to see if they are able to get creative. Stairs are a perfect way of self-expression and an excellent way to customize your project.

Having your stairs dressed up in wood to go along with your nice hardwood floors is a beautiful investment to your home. Not only does it leaves a lasting impression it also raises the value of your home. If done right, wood stairs will last centuries. So don’t let those stairs keep you from stepping into your next project!

Since 2003, Unique Wood Floors has served the Minneapolis / St. Paul area and supplied material to professionals and homeowners throughout North America. Contact our company online or by phone. We look forward to working with you on your next project!