Do Hardwood Stairs Add Value to a Home? Full Cost Breakdown


Just like entering a home with a shabby, pitted staircase with damaged risers and dull and worn steps, an entrance with a deep well-polished floor and staircase provides an immediate impression of what the rest of the house will be like. Staircases are usually a focal point when entering the house, and they must be kept in excellent condition.

Hardwood stairs and flooring can add considerable value to a house; CNN estimates it increases the property value by 5%. In addition, paying attention to the flooring and staircases is the home improvement that has the best chance of providing you with payback.

Whether you want to sell your house and maximize its price, or you only want to improve and upgrade your living space, concentrating on the flooring pays dividends. If necessary, replacing existing worn and damaged material will immediately increase your home’s value.

Hardwood Stairs Add Value to your Home

Although it’s easy to overlook a home’s flooring when you are involved with the detail of preparing your home for sale, don’t underestimate the importance that the first impression of a well-kept, neatly installed floor can give.

The same is true, possibly more importantly so, of a staircase.

The real challenge of preparing your home for sale is assessing which investments will give you the greatest return at the end of the day.

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Compared to carpeted stairs, hardwood units are much more sought after, but the detail will translate into the highest price.

What was once simply a utility item providing access to the floor above can be made into an important visual feature of the home.

The staircase gives potential buyers an immediate impression of the home’s aesthetics and how the house has been maintained. It becomes the focal point in the home and contributes to visitors’ first impressions, and therefore must be prepared.

If the staircase has been built with softwood, the chances are that it needs regular refurbishment to replacement of outdated railings as well as scuffed and worn risers.

A well-designed and well-built hardwood staircase will strongly influence a buyer’s motivation.

If the existing staircase doesn’t have a storage cupboard underneath, you can incorporate a new one into the design. The new feature will add extra storage, which is sought after by new homeowners.

How Much Value Do Home Alterations Add?

Home prices have increased considerably in the last few years, resulting in many homeowners, who may have previously been looking to sell, now deciding to stay and improve their homes.

Even if the renovations are for the homeowner’s pleasure, it is still essential that you use the financial and time investment wisely to achieve the best return, resulting in the highest possible price.

As lovely as some home improvements are if you are selling, it is essential that you first assess the impact the revision will have on the house’s value before shelling out hard-earned money.

It is possible to over-renovate or overcapitalize your home, which potentially pushes the final sale price to unrealistic levels for the suburb it is situated in.

At the point of sale, emotions need to be put away, and instead, all of the attention should be on generating the best sale price for the lowest ultimate cost.

How Much Value Do Hardwood Stairs Add?

Let’s look specifically at the value-added by hardwood stairs.

Installing Hardwood floors (and hardwood stairs) is one of the home improvements that achieve the best investment return. In 2022 the National Association of REALTORS® published a report examining the value of various remodeling projects and assessed the return on investment from a subsequent sale.

The published report produced the following results showing the cost recovery for each type of remodeling.

ProjectCost Recovery
Hardwood Flooring (Including stairs)Refinish147%
New Wood Flooring118%
Insulation Upgrade100%
Basement Conversion to Living Area86%
Closet Renovation83%
Attic Conversion to Living Area75%
Complete Kitchen Renovation75%
Bathroom Renovation71%
Kitchen Upgrade67%
Add New Bathroom63%
Add New Primary Bedroom Suite56%

As you can see from the table above, hardwood flooring including stairs has one of the best return on investment you could make in your house, so it is definitely worth thinking about if you want to increase the value of your home.

What Is The Best Hardwood To Use On A Staircase?

Certain types of hardwood are better suited for use on staircases

Not all hardwoods are the same; not all hardwoods are “hard”. And when it comes to stairs especially, it’s important to be wise in your choice of hardwood.

Hardwood is not hard but rather a botanical grouping of trees with the following characteristics.

  • A tree that sheds its leaves annually – Deciduous
  • Hardwood trees come from angiosperm — or flowering plants.
  • Trees are usually broad-leaved.
  • Hardwood trees grow at a slower rate.
  • Has vessel elements that transport water throughout the wood and which, under a microscope, appear as pores.

Hardwood trees end up being denser than softwood trees. One of the softest woods is balsa and yet is considered a hardwood in terms of the definition above.

The Janks test measures the hardness of wood. It is performed by measuring the pressure needed to push a steel ball with a diameter of 11.28 millimeters (0.444 inches) into the wood to a depth of half the ball’s diameter.

Although some woods score as high as 5,060 lbs (Australian Buloke), the cost of using floors that are this dense will be increased and unnecessary.

Striking a balance between wood that is too soft against that which is too expensive is essential. The wood for a staircase should have a Janka rating of no less than 1000 lbs.

There are 5 different woods that achieve this important balance:

#1: White Ash Is A Suitable Wood For Staircases

White Ash has a Janka rating of 1320 lbs. It is usually a pale brown, grayish brown, light brown, or pale yellow streaked with brown color. However, its colors may also be cream to light brown, occasionally with a reddish tinge, giving it a natural ability to brighten spaces.

#2: Birch Can Be Used For Hardwood Staircases

Birch has a Janka rating of 1,260 lbs. There are four types of birch used in the construction of hardwood floors.

  1. Masur Birch (Janka rating 1200 lbs)
  2. Birch (Janka rating 1260 lbs)
  3. Flame Birch (Janka rating 1260 lbs)
  4. Birch Burl (Janka rating 1260 lbs)

Birch comes in different colors depending on the part of the donor tree.

#3: Hickory Is An Ideal Material For Hardwood Staircases

Hickory has a Janka rating of 1820.

Hickory is solid wood with good shock resistance and steam-bending properties, and it sands, turns, stains, and polishes very well, making it very suitable for hardwood flooring. The wood has unique grain patterns, and colors make it a trendy selection for use in flooring.

#4: Mesquite Is Suitable Hardwood Staircases

Mesquite has a Janka rating of 2,345 lbs, making it very suitable to resist the wear and knocks that a floor receives.

Mesquite, which is a darker wood, has exciting grain patterns. Being darker, it is better suited for a large well-lit room.

#5: White Oak Is The Winning Hardwood for Stairs

While White Oak has a Janka rating of 1,210 lbs.

It is gorgeous, and being one of the lightest domestic hardwoods, it is ideal for small rooms, but it can also compete with other hardwoods in an ample space. It is a great starting point to create patterns by mixing hardwoods.

Conclusion

If you want to sell your home or redo it, installing a new hardwood staircase is an investment that should increase the value of your house. If you are trying to upgrade and improve your living space,  concentrating on your flooring and staircase will make a dramatic visual improvement.

Staircases are usually installed in parts of the home which experience high traffic. Keeping this feature maintained and looking good is very important in its impact on your home’s value.

More on Hardwood Floors:

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John

I love fixing up my own home and I set up this blog to help others do the same.

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