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Live With Hardwood Floors?

January 16, 2012

Lord willing, in a few months we’ll begin our renovation project to add Joy’s elevator.  My learning curve on this house is steep because I don’t have the luxury of living here for years and getting to know it before we start changing things. So I’m hoping you can offer me your experience with hardwood floors and stairs.

This is a view from our foyer as the stairs currently look.

The stairs begin on white tile, which I’m not thinking of changing since the tile goes with the white woodwork in this part of the house.

Much of the woodwork on the main floor, except the floors, is stained cherry. But upstairs, all the woodwork is white. I think that’s why they chose white and cherry for stairs; the stairway pulls the trim in the house together.

The stairs land in an upstairs hallway that is currently floored in the same 20-year old Berber you see on the stairs. However Joy’s room and the upstairs hallway will both be getting maple hardwood flooring to match the flooring in the rest of the  house –which are aged natural color.

So what do I do with the stairs when we put hardwood in the upstairs hallway? Do I re-carpet them even though they start on tile and will end on hardwood? Or do I leave them bare? (It looks like the cherry-stained board on each step is stained all the way across and the risers are painted white under the carpet.)

Food for thought: the carpet in the room visible to the right of the stairs will be coming up –maybe soon, maybe later –to make it accessible to Joy in her wheelchair. It is also slated for maple flooring. When that happens I”ll have white tile and white, cherry and maple woodwork all going on at the front of the house.

The existing maple floors need refinishing, we could think about staining the new hardwood and existing floors some color other than the current natural.

Those of us who use stairs will continue to use these to go up and down; upstairs, the elevator will be in Joy’s room.

Aside the from the kitchen floor which needs refinishing, the rest of the woodwork in the house is in beautiful shape because until recently, no children lived here. So there’s no good reason to refinish more than the floor.

That’s all I can think to supply. Do you like your carpets (or uncarpeted) stairs the way they are? Given the chance would you change something? Any advice? Thanks!

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Karla (Mom2MissK) permalink
    January 16, 2012 8:53 pm

    We have had both carpeted and uncarpeted stairs… And I have to say that I prefer carpet. For one, once you go hard wood on the steps, they show tons of dirt. The rest of the house was fine (we actually had no carpet at all in the old house), but I was constantly sweeping the steps because of all the dust.

    Second, it is really tough to be quiet on hardwood steps – even when they are new. I’m a light sleeper and was constantly being awakened by things like the hubs going downstaris in the night to get water.

    On the plus side for hard wood, I think carpeting on the steps tends to wear out faster due to the traffic, so it would save you there… But that is a small savings if you’re annoyed by having to sweep all the time or being awakened during the night!

    Good luck with your decision 🙂

  2. Liz (idgienater) permalink
    January 16, 2012 11:51 pm

    Carpeted steps are definitely more quiet and hardwood steps can be quite slippery if you don’t use socks or slippers with grips. Have fun!

  3. January 17, 2012 9:29 am

    Unfortunatly they will have nailed carpet strips into the hardwood stairs so there will be ‘tracks’ of holes in each tread which would need to be filled before staining if you decided on bare strairs and though they might tell yuo otherwise those holes will never look or wear the same as the rest of the tread. I prefer sweeping to vacuming stairs so I chose hardwood in our house – but it does increase the ‘echo’ effect to the second floor. Good when I need to yell for kids, bad when I’m trying to sneak down early in the am.

  4. January 17, 2012 6:51 pm

    Wow! Am I glad I asked! I had not even thought of noise and that would get me for sure. Carpet it is! Now you have me rethinking putting hardwood in the upstairs hallway. It would be a great surface for wheeling, but also would add noise….and it is already an echo-chamber of a house. Thank you all!

  5. Melody permalink
    January 25, 2012 4:29 pm

    I am super late to this but wanted to share – I grew up with wood stairs and have carpet now in our current home. I much prefer the carpet and with kids mainly for safety reasons. Back in 2007 when I went to my moms for the summer those wood steps made me a nervous wreck with the boys. They are very easy to slip on and they do have lots of dust as well as the noise level. I have fallen on her steps with Evan on my hip and it hurt! I would keep the carpet and get a good little hand held vacuum for cleaning them. Carson loves to vacuum the steps with ours. 🙂

  6. January 25, 2012 5:22 pm

    Thanks, Mel! When I told her I was thinking of leaving the stairs bare, Mercy asked, “Then where will I use my little vacuum?!” I think she and Carson really need to meet :).

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