How Much Do Hardwood Stairs Cost?

August 15, 2021by LV Flooring0

How much does it cost to install hardwood stairs? For a small project, installation costs are relatively cheap because it requires less labour. For an extensive hardwood stairs project, you should have a larger budget.

This blog will discuss different types of hardwood options for staircases and the factors that determine their pricing. Here’s what you need to know.

Average Cost Of Hardwood Stairs

The average cost of hardwood stairs installation is between $2,500 and $6,000, with several homeowners spending $3,450 for a white oak straight staircase with 12 risers and two handrails.

Keep in mind that the price of materials depends on the quality and kind of hardwood — the harder and long-lasting the wood, the more costly the materials. Let’s go over the average price of installing hardwood stairs.

Components Average price Specifications
Nosing $4.50 2- ¼”, 14 length
Tread $40 – $100 (right/left turn) 2 x 10-½”, 38 length
Handrail $7.25 – $25 3 – 5/10” wide x 2-8/9” height, oval
Riser $13.25 – $45 ¾” x 10 , 38 length
Baluster $4.75 – $13.50 2 ½ square, 36 length
Bullnosed thread $35 – $90 1” x 12 – ¼ , 38 length
Skirtboard $8.50 – $30 ¾” x 12 – ½
Newel-post $350 – $400 Manufacturer tier flat panel box
Horizontal board/landing $100 $150.25 per linear foot
Stair railing $10 – $50 per linear foot

Different Parts of Hardwood Stairs and How Much They Cost

To understand the average pricing list and how to cut costs for hardwood stairs, it’s essential you know the prominent components of an average hardwood staircase.

Horizontal boards

For horizontal boards that are ⅝” thick, it may cost you between $60 and $150. However, if you opt for an expensive wood with a high Janka rating, expect to spend about $100 per board foot.

These boards are also known as steps. They’re a combination of riser and treads, facilitating your steps and allowing you to walk downwards or upwards.


The nosing is the protruding part beyond the riser. It’s often rounded to give excellent aesthetic effects to the treads. Not to mention, it makes your staircases easy to use and convenient.

The pricing model for hardwood stairs nosing varies depending on the product and brand you pick. Typically, the cost ranges from less than $2 per square foot for trims to over $5.


Risers are the vertical boards or sections of the step. They function to connect and support successive treads.


Treads are one of the biggest factors that affect the cost of hardwood stairs. They’re the upper horizontal part of the stairs where you place your foot while ascending or descending.

Treads are available in various materials, each with a special price. For the cheapest hardwood tread, expect to spend about $50 to $150 per step. Here are the common staircase hardwoods and their costs.

  • Engineered pine – $50 to $70
  • Ash – $60 to $100
  • White oak – $79 to $130
  • Plywood – $50 – $60
  • Distressed wood – $50 to $80
  • Walnut – $80 to $130
  • Maple – $60 to $90
  • Red oak – $60 to $120
  • Cherry – $100 to $150
  • Mahogany – $90 to $140


The handrail is an inclined part on the top of the rails. It’s where you place your hand to guide or support you while climbing the staircase. Guardrails are designed in several architectural styles, but they come in two main types.

Integrated handrails

Integrated rails are the component of the stairs that run along the spindles constructed into your wall. These handrails cost $40 to $120 per linear foot. You can either purchase them in their grooved models or the smooth ungrooved style.

Wall-mounted handrails

The wall-mounted handrails are the most affordable and common option to pick for the stairs.

They usually cost between $30 and $55 per linear foot. Apart from having a low cost, their installation process for the engineered hardwood stairs is simple.

The common varieties are:

  • Pig ear rails: The cost for this handrail is more expensive but worth it. They cost between $35 and $60 per linear foot. Producers make them in a curved pattern that spirals directly into the walls without holes.
  • Mopstick rails: As the name implies, this handrail is curved like a mop handle. It usually attaches to the wall with a different metal fitting. For mopstick rails, you may spend between $20 to $40.


Get ready to spend between $4 and $15 per baluster. They’re the narrow spindles or rods that act as a vertical guide for your stairs railing.

The plain wooden bars cost nothing less than $3 each. At the same time, the iron bars sell for about $5 each. The more swirls, baskets and twists it comes with, the higher the price.

Stairs railing

Unlike treads and steps, not every stair needs railings. But they provide extra safety and comfort, particularly in the home. With hardwood, you can use any material for your bars.

Below is the average cost of railings for hardwood stairs:

  • Stainless steel railing: The stainless railing costs between $35 and $70 per linear foot. It’s a popular option among Canadian homeowners because it has durability and strength. With little maintenance, it can last for years without corrosion or rust.
  • Cable staircase railing: Cable railing is quite expensive at $70 to $250 per linear foot, but they’re sturdy and strong. You’ll find this railing in contemporary, industrial locations. Many people use it because of its smooth and clean look.
  • Wood railing: Wood is the cheapest material for hardwood stairs. It often costs about $10 to $30 per linear foot. Unfortunately, it’s not as durable as alternatives like cable and steel. But on the bright side, it’s aesthetically appealing and fits well with a hardwood staircase.
  • Wrought iron railing: Wrought iron is among the most expensive options for staircase railings. However, it’s visually stunning. It’s a popular pick for spiral and circular stairs because of its elegant style. Expect to spend between $100 and $350 for installation.
  • Glass staircase railing: As one will expect, the glass railing is the most expensive type to choose. They cost from $150 to $600 per linear foot. The glass railing is the safest option to use because contractors install them in big thick panes, with little or no gap. So, they serve as protection for children when climbing the stairs.

Related Article: How Much Does Maple Hardwood Cost?

Hardwood Stairs Installation: Secondary Prices to Consider

Apart from buying hardwood stairs materials and covering labour expenses, several factors add to the total cost of installing hardwood stores.

Many people overlook these secondary elements while planning to install hardwood stairs. But, they can easily add to the cost of installing hardwood floors.

To upgrade your existing stairs to hardwood, consider these factors:

Improving and installing subfloors

Improving and installing a new subfloor isn’t for everyone. If you’re fixing your subfloor, you may spend around $400 to $1,000. If your existing stairs don’t have a subfloor or it’s old, you may have no choice but to replace it.

The floor beneath your stairs flooring should be in excellent condition. A good subfloor provides support and makes your stairs durable. Upgrading to hardwood stairs on a terrible subfloor will be a waste of your money and time.

Building codes

building codes

Before you begin buying parts for hardwood stairs, ensure your project conforms to building codes. In Canada, standard codes recommend your stairs be at least three feet wide with a minimum depth of 12 inches. It should be at least 6”8” beneath every headroom of the stair tread.

The building code further suggests 7.75” as the maximum height between each riser. So if your existing stairs don’t meet these codes, you may have to incur an additional cost of about $200 to make adjustments.

Installing and improving new structures

To upgrade your softwood or carpet flooring to hardwood, you may also need to replace the structure. New designs will help you accommodate the stairs without making them appear odd. So, this will also mean an additional cost for your hardwood stairs.


Some people prefer to whitewash their hardwood stairs, while others do not. If you want to give your stairs a distressed look with bleach or whitewash, it may cost you about $50. The distressed appearance is excellent for homes with a country or rustic theme.

Removing old flooring

As well as purchasing new materials, you must consider the price of removing old flooring. No contractor will help you clear your existing flooring for free.

The same applies if you’re removing some other parts of the stairs to accommodate a better design. You may spend between $30 to $100 for the task. Thankfully, you can also save money here by removing the old stairs yourself.

Cost of Installing Hardwood stairs

In 2021, the cost of hardwood stairs mostly depends on the contractor’s fee. In fact, labour cost constitutes about 40% of the project.

Handypersons, contractors and carpenters work together to install a staircase. Pricing also varies depending on the type of stairs, size and time required. You can install premade hardwood stairs in a day under 6 to 9 hours. However, a custom staircase takes several days to install and build.

In addition to material price, you may spend between $150 to $300 per step. So assuming your staircase has 20 steps, the total cost is $6,000.

Carpenters usually install premade stairs at a rate of $50 to $100 per hour. In total, an estimated cost hovers between $350 to $700.

But fitting and building a custom staircase may cost around $1,200 to $5000. For finishing, sanding and staining using a urethane product, you may spend an additional fee of $100. You can, of course, waive this fee by staining/finishing your stairs DIY. Some contractors include the staining fee with their overall cost, while others don’t.

Extra construction costs

If there’s extra construction necessary to accommodate more steps, your contractor may charge you about $500. If you already have a set of stairs that you want to replace in hardwood, the cost is usually cheaper than new installation.

In Canada, most contractors charge less or give discounts through referrals. So, you can put your connections to good use here. But, you may have to spend between $300 and $700 to dispose of and remove the old stairs. Keep in mind that according to the market trends, these prices are volatile and are likely to increase.

Factors That Determine The Cost Of Hardwood Stairs

Many basic factors play a significant role in determining the total cost of hardwood stairs. Apart from labour fees and type of hardwood, below are a few deciding factors that affect the price.

Style of stairs

Gone are the days where you must design your stairs as straight. Presently, there are several stairs designs and shapes to fit the layout of different homes.

If your design is complicated with multiple landings, expect to spend nothing less than $1,000. That said, here are some stairs designs and their price:

Design of staircase Average price (materials only)
Straight $700 – $1,500
U-shaped $1,200 – $2,000
L-shaped $950 – $1,800
Winder $850 – $2,000
Curved $1,500 -$2,200
Circular $2,000 – $4,250
Spiral $1,600 – $4,000
Floating $2,000 – $5,000


Staircase location

How much does it cost to install hardwood stairs in the hallway? A lot! Unlike the basement, which has limited space, the hallway is big enough to accommodate any design. Not to mention, it’s a focal point of the home. So it’s only ideal that you use a more exquisite and intricate design.

Installing stairs in the hallway may cost about $1,000 or more. We recommend installing floating stairs because it’s a modern and visually pleasing option for every home.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to build the hallway stairs using a complicated design. You can also choose a simple style to work with your budget.

Installing stairs in a narrow room is also expensive because you’ll need a space-saving type such as a spiral or circular shape. To make more room in a tight space, you may spend a minimum of $300.

Location of your home

The cost of labour and materials for hardwood stairs varies with locality. The pricing for labour in Vaughan may be cheaper or more expensive than what contractors charge in Ontario.

If you’re buying materials from a neighbouring country, shipping fees will increase your overall costs. For this reason, you should patronize a local depot.

Types Of Hardwood Stairs Option

Hardwood comes in several options, colours and forms. Here are some stair options to give your interior an interesting look.

types of hardwood stairs option

Unfinished or prefinished

To remodel your stairs to hardwood, you can use either unfinished or prefinished wood. Prefinished wood is cheap to install.

The average cost of 10 prefinished treads and 11 risers ranges from $700 to $1,000. They require no performance on site. Plus, they come sealed, sanded and with a floor topcoat from the manufacturer.

Unfinished wood is cheaper but more expensive to install because they’re in raw form.

The unfinished hardwood consisting of 10 treads and 11 risers ranges from $400 to $900. By this, we mean the factory doesn’t groom them, so most of the work is completed on-site. Most custom-made hardwood stairs come from unfinished wood.

The custom wood allows you to personalize your space because you can use any wood species and choose any colour or stain. Unfortunately, unfinished hardwood demands more labour to become custom-built. Some manufacturers offer a $20 coupon when buying a sample pack of either unfinished or prefinished wood.

Non-slip solutions or carpet runners

Without a floor cover, hardwood stairs are slippery. To prevent a nasty fall, you must spend money on carpet runners which will cushion your feet and allow for safe climbing.

If you’re not a fan of carpet runners, you can opt for non-slip covers like stain additives. Depending on the brand, these products may cost from $40 to $120.

Unmatched or matched runners and risers

Your hardwood stairs can use either hardwood runners and risers from cheap softwoods like pine. Most softwoods are half the price of hardwood at about $300. As for the appearance, you can paint them in white or any colour.

Related Article: What is the Most Durable Type of Hardwood?

Final Word

Depending on the type of wood, materials, labour and location, the total cost of hardwood stairs ranges between $2,000 to $5,000. They’re among the best options for upgrading your staircase.

Even with heavy traffic, hardwood stairs can last for up to ten years. If you can’t afford labour costs, you can DIY. Building your stairs yourself will save you a larger percentage of the project cost.

Today, DIY projects are popular. You’ll find several sites on how to DIY hardwood stairs. Some even go as far as attaching tutorial videos. However, we only recommend DIY for basic and small projects. If you’re going for a more intricate and complex design, it’s ideal you hire a professional for safety.

Our hardwood stairs installation service offers the building and installation of any hardwood stairs design at an affordable rate. Here at LV Flooring, we also sell staircase parts at affordable prices.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *