Property Brothers: Jonathan Highlights A Major Downside To Hardwood Stairs

Nothing compares to the timeless beauty of hardwood stairs. From the ornate, hand-crafted winding oak staircases in old craftsman houses to the clean, sleek look of a modern set of floating walnut treads (and everything in between), hardwood stairs are a huge selling point for any house — coveted not only for their high-end classic look, but also their incredible functionality. Hardwood is an extremely durable material that withstands wear and rarely needs replacement; when damage does occur, hardwood can be easily sanded and refinished. These stairs are also super easy to clean and don't hang onto grime. Sounds perfect, right? 

Well, before you hop on board with installing hardwood stairs in your home, it's worth looking at how "Property Brothers" star Jonathan Scott once weighed in with advice to protect your wallet before you take the plunge. Spoiler alert: they are gorgeous, but they're also expensive!

In Season 14, Episode 1 of "Property Brothers," Scott explains to his clients why hardwood stairs have such a high price tag, saying, "The railing and the hardwood flooring, those are much more expensive features ... that's all custom work, all the way down." This hits the nail on the head as to why hardwood is so expensive –- since every stair configuration is different, everything must be custom-made. It is also precisely why many homeowners choose to safeguard their budgets by carpeting their stairs — despite carpet's outdated association with grandma's house — rather than splurging on hardwood.

Why are hardwood stairs so expensive and how does carpet compare?

In Season 14, Episode 1 of "Property Brothers," Jonathan Scott hopes to help his clients trim their budget by suggesting they consider choosing carpet over their desired hardwood entry stairs, as he guesstimates that carpet would likely cost less than a fifth of the expense of hardwood treads, around $800 versus $4,000-4,500 for hardwood. That's a serious difference! This may not be the same scenario for every set of stairs, as there are several factors that can affect the cost of hardwood materials and installation labor.

Pricing for custom hardwood stairs can depend on how many treads/risers are in your home and the layout of your staircase. For example, a straight set of stairs will be more affordable than one with landings and turns. The material also plays a large factor, as the price drastically varies for different types of hardwood.

In comparison, with carpet sold in standard size rolls and installation being much less complicated than hardwood, carpeting your stairs is by far the more budget-friendly option, with the low end around $430 and the high-end topping off around $2,500. As with hardwood, the final cost for carpet depends on your staircase configuration and material selection. Certain carpet materials like wool or textures like shag can cost a lot more per square foot than other inexpensive synthetic options, while patterned carpets cost more to install due to the extra labor to properly match the pattern at seams.

Why else you may consider carpeted stairs instead of hardwood

Besides the significant financial advantage of opting for carpet that Jonathan Scott points out, there are many reasons why you should consider adding carpet to your staircase like Scott's homeowners. Carpeting stairs is a fantastic way to show some style and personality. With different patterns, textures, colors, and weaves, the design details available with carpet provide endless ways to elevate your aesthetic. 

That being said, the one thing the "Property Brothers" want you to remember when you are renovating a home is to put function first rather than only making a design statement. The good news is that carpet does both. Compared to slippery and unforgiving hardwood, carpeted stairs are safer for kids, pets, and those with mobility issues due to the increased traction and padding in the event of a fall. Carpeted stairs are also more comfortable to use and offer noise reduction.

A downside to carpeted staircases is that if your stairs are in a high-traffic area like the entryway, they will take on a lot of wear and tear. Carpet is harder to clean than hardwood and will show wear much faster, requiring more frequent replacement. The biggest disadvantage for homeowners choosing carpet over hardwood, though, is that ... well, it's not hardwood! If hardwood is what one has their heart set on, some homeowners will never compromise regardless of cost. If the look and function are worth the splurge to you, kiss your budget goodbye and your new beautiful hardwood stairs hello.