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Best Wood For Basement Stairs [4 Choices for You]

You might have just discovered that your basement stairs need replacement. Or you are wanting to set up new basement stairs. But rather than carpeting your stairs you chose to put wooden stairs to prevent slippery stairs.

But you could not decide which wood type to go for.

So you’re wondering what are the options for the best wood for basement stairs?

In terms of durability pinewood is best. But if you want the stairs to be painted then poplar is the one. If the installation is an issue then just go for cedar. And if you’re looking for a high-end finish for your stairs then oak is the right one.

For you to have a clear understanding we prepared the whole article for what you need to consider before choosing the best wood for you. Just bear with us till the end.

Types of Wood for The Basement Stairs

When it comes to choosing wood for your basement, the options are endless. But among these varieties of options, listing out a few can be a hard job. 

But you don’t have to start worrying about finding the best wood for your basement. We happen to keep some knowledge on which wood is suitable for your basement. And we look forward to sharing it all with you.

But first, you must know that each of the wood types has its own unique features that will help you in understanding which one you need. 

So why wait, when we can just dive right into the types of woods that can be used in your basement.

But first, let’s present a trailer to you to have a quick understanding:



Carpet Grade


Paint Grade


Stain Grade

Easy Installation

Finish Grade


Type 1 of 4: Carpet Grade

Well, all the types might seem a little confusing just by the first look, but that’s why we’re here right? So, you might guess that carpet grade is the type of wood that be used when you’re wanting to carpet your stairs.

If you guessed that, then you’re not completely wrong. But to make it clear, let’s say your old basement needs newly constructed wooden stairs. And you plan to cover the stairs with carpet.

In this case, carpet grade pinewood can be your savior. Because the whole point of a carpet grade is to make the stairs more durable.

So using carpet grade ensures a greater grip within the stair particles. So if you’re looking for a staircase that would be long lasting enough for your grandchildren to use, then this type is for you.

However, do consider that building with this type of wood does raise some concerns. Especially regarding the difficulty in installation.

Type 2 of 4: Paint Grade

We’re assuming that you already know what a paint grade wood is. If not then the name itself is self-explanatory. Yes, So this type of wood is used when you want an aesthetic look to your basement stairs.

Rather than letting the basement stairs be boring and mainstream. You can always invite the inner artist of yours and paint the wood stairs.

So making your basement stairs extraordinary is no rocket science. You can just put masking tapes on the stairs to mark the borders. Then with a few strokes with a brush, you’ll end up with a unique set of stairs.

And when you’re done painting don’t forget to remove the masking tapes from the wood to give a cleaner look to it.

So you might be wondering why there has to be a separate grade such as painting. So the answer is other than the painting grade woods, the other three types are not suitable for painting. Because the others have different purposes.

But the paint grade woods such as poplar are highly absorbent. So they soak up the paint pretty quick and the pigmentation remains correct. Yet it is possible that these woods can be a victim of wear and tear due to this.

So look no further than paint grade wood, if you’re planning on putting some color on your new basement stairs.

Type 3 of 4: Stain Grade

No matter whether you’re looking for the best type of wood for your stair risers or for your basement stairs, easy installation can be a mandatory requirement. And if you’re looking for setting up the stairs all by yourself, you’re in need of stain-grade woods.

Because compared to the first type, the knots are less in stain grade. The properties in this kind of wood offer an average grip. However, the lightweight feature is the main attraction here.

It is a lot easier to carry, set, and install the stairs made of stain-grade woods like cedar or redwood.

Thus, you can easily construct your stairs without even breaking a sweat.

Type 4 of 4: Finish Grade

Well, this is the last type of wood that you can consider for your basement stairs. 

I can bet that you’ve heard the name of hardwood many times. Especially from the first time you’ve thought and discussed having wood stairs in your basement. 

And the reason behind this is that most people love hardwoods like oak, maple, or cherry for their amazing finish. Thus they fall under the finish grade.

So if you’re someone who’s fancy and want to turn even your basement stairs into a masterpiece. Then this is the right wood type for you. 

But if you’re going for the finish grade then it’s wise to take professional help for easy setup. Otherwise, you’ll be stressing over whether to set up those stairs using a twin hammer or twin-clutch. Plus these woods are pretty heavy to carry around.

Best Wood for Basement Stairs: Pros & Cons

Now you know which type is suitable for you considering what you need. And different woods fall under the aforementioned types. So we shared the 4 best kinds of wood for your basement stairs with their pros and cons. Let’s look at the below table to have a clear insight.

Wood Grade Type




Carpet Grade


  • Durable
  • High grip
  • Hard to install

Paint Grade


  • Paintable
  • Easy to dry
  • Less durable

Stain Grade


  • Lightweight
  • Easy to Install
  • Average grip

Finish Grade


  • High-end finishing
  • Classic masterpiece
  • Heavy
  • Hard to install

So that’s pretty much about the 4 best wood for basement stairs. Now it’s time for you to choose yours according to the need and purpose.


Does hardwood for stairs need carpeting?

No, hardwood particles ensure the highest grip and a smooth finishing which is also durable. So there’s no need to protect it with carpeting.

Other than poplar is there any other wood that can be painted?

Well, other than poplar, pinewood can also be painted. But between these two, poplar is highly absorbent and soaks up the paint pretty quick.

Is pine a hardwood option?

No, pinewood is from the softwood genre. That means pinewood is quite the opposite of hardwood. 

Parting Words

That’s all we’ve got for now. We’ve shared all the titbits we have on the 4 best woods for basement stairs

Hope you find the one that serves your purpose. And do let us know by commenting on which one you end up choosing.

Thank you and good luck!