Hybrid Carpet/Hardwood Stairs

adh673August 31, 2010

I'm on decision overload and need some help.

I am remodeling my first floors (kitchen, bath, windows, floors, etc) and part of it is putting in new walnut wide plank random width floors. My front staircase is a "birdcage" style and not particulary interesting but it is central since the house is a center hall colonial.

We will be adding some molding to the staircase and putting in new king newel posts, balusters (white), banisters (walnut). I thought about changing the stair carpet to hardwoods but my husband liked the carpet and I wondered about noise levels with my kids thumping up and down. And then there is the cost, we were already over our plan so I decided to postpone on the stair treads.

Then I saw this:

And I thought- maybe having a hardwood bottom step would be nicer than the fuzzy carpet edges. But I wasnt sure if it would be good or not, but i priced it out. It's like $600 for a bottom walnut step. So now I'm wondering if its a good idea.

Then that sends me back to whether I should just get the treads and do it all. The treads are about 70 each plus labor and i have no idea what labor is.

Can someone help me? Here are some bad angles of the current stairs but you can sort of get the general idea.

We COULD put the money into it but not sure if the value is there to do it, esp. with everything else that is in play.


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I like the first picture you posted, but would probably make the entire bottom step walnut. Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 6:55PM
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We did this last winter, removed the carpet and replaced the pine treads with oak. Looks lovely, but I will offer one caution: it is SLIPPERY. If you have kids and/or pets, be prepared for someone to come crashing down. We haven't fallen, but our poor dog slid down the steps for many weeks. She was used to the carpet, and did an absolute cartoon rump-over-teakettle fall every time she went down. She finally figured it out, and was never injured, but we felt terrible. I am also extremely careful when carrying anything, it would be very easy to slip. And your steps look especially steep.

If you like the look of just the bottom step, maybe you could leave the carpet. Also, ask around and see if there is a woodworker in your area who could make the step. Ours are not as contoured as the one in the picture, but my DH does woodworking, and made all of our treads, because the purchased ones were so expensive. Perhaps you could come out cheaper that way.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 7:36PM
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I don't know how much this will help you, but we have a house from 1910. The bottom stair is all wood and comes out at a flair to one side, but the rest of the stairs are carpet. I think it looks very nice and I would recommend you to do it. It seems like it's something you would really like to do.

It's one of those little things that ends up really making a big difference.

Here's a pic of the staircase and you can see the bottom step how it's half carpet/half wood. It looks nice. It's a little hard to see. Please excuse the mess, we were doing some stuff around the house!
From 2010-07-19

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 2:51PM
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thank you so much for taking the time to post a photo! I think I will go ahead with the wood bottom step. I think it might lead me to rip out the rest but we'll see. I also recently read about the step recover-veneer things that you dont have to take the step out and just cover over with hardwood. Seemed sort of interesting...

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 9:50PM
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