West Wind, Author at West Wind Hardwood

Elevate Your Home with Hardwood Stair Treads

Staircases are the backbone of a home’s architectural design, often overlooked but integral to both function and aesthetics. Whether renovating or building a new home, the choice of stair treads is an important one. While you can use various materials, hardwood stair treads are renowned for their durability, aesthetic appeal, and timeless elegance.

Why Hardwood for Stair Treads?

Durability

Hardwood is known for its strength and durability, making it an ideal choice for stair treads. Stairs bear significant foot traffic and impact, and hardwood stands resilient, ensuring longevity without compromising quality.

Aesthetic Appeal

Beyond durability, hardwood adds a touch of class and warmth to a home. Natural grain and diverse hues cater to a range of design preferences, enhancing the overall ambiance of the space.

Variety of Wood Choices

When selecting the type of wood for your stair treads, consider the specific properties of each species. Oak, maple, walnut, and cherry are popular hardwood choices because of their durability and varying appearance. Oak, for instance, stands out for its strength, while cherry has a warm, rich, reddish colour.

Matching Hardwood Stair Treads to Flooring

Matching stair treads with hardwood flooring can create a seamless visual experience within your home. If continuity is the goal, use the same colour, wood species and finish for flooring and stair treads. Not only does this create a sophisticated and clean look throughout the home, but eliminating visual disruptions in flooring can make the space appear larger and more open.

On the other hand, embracing contrasts can also yield striking results. Pairing different wood tones, finishes, or patterns can create an eye-catching effect, adding depth and character to the overall design scheme. You don’t have to change the tone of your stair treads to contrast the flooring. For those with herringbone or chevron parquet floors, simplifying the stair tread with a linear layout creates a visual change. Another way to achieve this is by opting for hardwood stair treads with a different grain pattern, possibly a different wood species, but using the same colour and finish for consistency. Both of these produce eye-catching results without being jarring.

Custom-Made vs. Repurposing Leftover Flooring

Typically, hardwood flooring is designed to minimize waste, resulting in uniform dimensions achieved by milling all pieces to narrower widths. While this works well for flooring, applying the same approach to stair treads poses challenges. The use of narrow and short flooring for treads leads to visible joints, which create more of a pieced-together appearance in the confined space or a stair tread. The numerous joints can also weaken the tread, especially the leading edge, often causing separation or breakage over time. Another issue is the likelihood of squeaky stairs due to increased wood-to-wood movement with more joints, impacting both the stairs’ structural integrity and aesthetic appeal.

Custom-made hardwood stair treads offer several advantages. Continuous lumber spanning the entire stair width eliminates end joints, reducing the likelihood of movement and squeaking. This seamless construction enhances strength, durability, and aesthetics, as there are no visible cracks. Another option is a professional two to three-piece glue-up using a specialty epoxy like EcoPoxy. The fewer pieces combined into a single, solid tread enhances strength and durability with fewer joints. Additionally, integrated nosing eliminates the need for an added nosing piece, making custom-made treads visually attractive and avoiding joints at vulnerable stress points, such as the nosing overhang. 

Visit our Custom Milling Services page to see the flooring and accessories our team can make for you.

Caring for Hardwood Stair Treads

Maintaining the beauty and integrity of hardwood stair treads requires regular care, similar to caring for your hardwood floors.

Routine Cleaning

Regularly sweep or vacuum with a small or bare floor attachment to remove dirt and prevent scratches. Damp mop occasionally using a hardwood floor cleaner recommended by the manufacturer. 

Protect from Moisture

Limit exposure to moisture, as excessive water can damage the wood. Be sure to clean up any spills right away, not just for safety but also because they can damage the finish over time.

Periodic Maintenance

For heavily trafficked stairs, it is normal to need to refinish the hardwood stair treads over time. You will need to refinish them with a product designed for use on stairs to protect the wood and rejuvenate its appearance.

Choosing Hardwood Stair Treads in Your Home

Hardwood stair treads are functional and elegant, adding value to your home. Their durability, versatility in design, and the ability to seamlessly integrate with existing hardwood flooring make them an ideal choice for homeowners looking for sophistication and longevity in their staircase design.

When investing in hardwood stair treads, consider the wood species that best suits your aesthetic and practical needs. Remember, careful selection of quality materials and proper maintenance will ensure your hardwood stair treads retain their beauty and functionality for years to come. Reach out to our experts to discuss your custom hardwood stair tread options.

Prefinished vs. Unfinished Hardwood Flooring: Selecting the Ideal Fit for Your Home

Selecting the perfect hardwood flooring for your home involves a careful evaluation of the unique benefits associated with prefinished and unfinished options. Each type presents a distinct set of advantages to consider, as you need a floor that not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of your space but also aligns with the practical requirements of your home. This decision-making process goes beyond mere preference. It’s about understanding the intricate features and qualities that make prefinished and unfinished hardwood flooring stand out, ensuring that your choice is not just about style but also about functionality and long-term suitability for your family and your home.

Unfinished Hardwood Flooring: A Natural Canvas

Unfinished hardwood flooring looks clean and natural, showcasing a surface that’s both classy and practical. Without the subtle indentations of micro beveled edges, it’s not just visually clean but also easy to maintain because you don’t have to worry about cleaning buildup from the grooves. 

After installation, the hardwood flooring will need to be sanded and finished. This allows for your personalized colour choice and integrates with your chosen interior style. In addition to this, unfinished hardwood allows for modifications over time. Homeowners can refresh the look through sanding and refinishing without replacing the entire floor, providing long-lasting flexibility and versatility.

Check out our custom wood flooring gallery.

Prefinished Hardwood Flooring: A Convenient Option

Contrasting the raw nature of unfinished hardwood, prefinished or factory-finished hardwood flooring brings its own set of advantages to the table. Factories often apply finishes under controlled conditions, resulting in a consistent, high-quality finish. This consistency also enables them to provide warranties on the finishing, offering assurance against wear or defects.

One of the most compelling benefits of prefinished hardwood flooring is the time saved during installation. Unlike unfinished hardwood flooring that requires on-site finishing, prefinished options arrive ready to install. This eliminates the need for additional finishing steps, significantly reducing the installation time and allowing for immediate use of the floor once installed.

Customization vs. Convenience: The Choice Is Yours

Unfinished hardwood flooring offers homeowners a blank canvas, allowing for custom stains, finishes, and artistic touches that reflect individual tastes and complement the home’s ambiance. When you install unfinished hardwood you are creating a tailor-made floor for your pace. 

In contrast, prefinished hardwood showcases a uniformity and precision that originates in a controlled factory environment. This uniformity is not just about aesthetics; it’s a testament to the exacting standards upheld during the finishing process, promising a consistent look and feel throughout the entire floor. Homeowners seeking a hassle-free installation process like the reliability of prefinished hardwood. The assurance of a well-executed, uniform finish can eliminate the uncertainties associated with on-site finishing. Moreover, the accompanying warranty on the finishing stands as a testament to its quality, offering a safety net against wear, defects, or inconsistencies that might arise, providing peace of mind for years to come.

In essence, while unfinished hardwood flooring opens doors to personal expression and creativity, prefinished hardwood offers a reassuring uniformity born from factory precision. The choice between the two hinges on whether you are looking for customization or the convenience that comes with a consistently flawless finish.

Long-Term Considerations for Prefinished and Unfinished Hardwood Flooring

Long-term considerations for both prefinished and unfinished hardwood floors pivot on their respective characteristics, maintenance needs, durability, and adaptability over time.

Prefinished Hardwood Flooring

Durability of Factory Finish

Prefinished hardwood floors come with a factory-applied finish that often boasts exceptional durability. This finish is cured and dried under controlled conditions, ensuring a robust protective layer against wear and tear, UV damage, and moisture.

Warranty

Manufacturers typically provide warranties on the factory-applied finish, offering reassurance and coverage against premature wear or defects. For example, we are partners of Vintage and Mirage, who offer a 35-year warranty on finish wear-through for residential applications.

Consistency of Appearance

The uniform finish applied in a factory environment tends to maintain its appearance consistently throughout the floor’s lifespan, ensuring a timeless look without the need for additional treatments or refinishing.

Unfinished Hardwood Flooring

Customization and Style Changes

Unfinished hardwood allows for extensive customization. While this presents an opportunity for personalization, it also means that eventual changes in style or preference might require sanding and refinishing the entire floor to achieve a new look.

Adaptability

Unfinished hardwood offers the advantage of multiple sanding and refinishing opportunities. Over the years, the floor can be easily sanded down to remove wear, scratches, or stains. It can be more difficult to find stain matches for prefinished flooring if you need to sand down a problem area and refinish it to match the rest of the floor.

Longevity

Unfinished hardwood floors, with proper maintenance and periodic refinishing, can potentially last for generations. The ability to refresh the surface through refinishing ensures that the floor can maintain its allure and structural integrity over the long term.

Making the Decision

In summary, prefinished hardwood floors excel in immediate durability, consistent appearance, and initial convenience, backed by a factory finish warranty. Unfinished hardwood floors, on the other hand, offer long-term adaptability and the potential for extended longevity with periodic maintenance. Choosing between the two involves considering the desired lifespan, flexibility for customization, and the balance between immediate convenience and long-term adaptability.

You also need to consider your immediate priorities and long-term goals, as well as your home’s specific requirements. If you prioritize a quicker installation process, a consistent factory finish with a warranty, and immediate use of the floor, prefinished hardwood might be the better fit.

On the other hand, if you seek customization options, the adaptability to uneven surfaces, and the potential for multiple refinishing opportunities, unfinished hardwood emerges as a strong contender.

Selecting between prefinished and unfinished hardwood flooring is about finding the ideal match for your home’s unique needs. Evaluate the benefits each type offers, considering your preferences, desired level of customization, installation timeline, and long-term maintenance requirements. By doing so, you’ll make an informed decision that ensures a floor perfectly suited to your space, style, and lifestyle. If you need help making your decision, reach out to our hardwood flooring experts today