If you have curved stairs in your home, you know how great they can look. They can provide movement and unique design opportunities for a home. However, if you have hardwood floor or want hardwood floor, you’ve probably been told that they can’t be done on hardwood flooring. You might have been told that it can be done but it will be very expensive. Either way, those are ideas from the past. Curved hardwood stair treads are very popular right now. As with every design trend, the demand has inspired many contractors to innovate new ways to meet the need.
In the parlance of contractors, stairs are divided into treads and risers. Treads are the horizontal landings where you actually place your foot. Risers are the vertical sections that separate each tread. If you want your curved stairs to be hardwood, you need to decide if you want to do the treads, the risers, or both. Many people choose a neutral color for the risers and then a vibrant hardwood for the treads. That way, the tread color really pops. There are several ways to go about this. You should talk with a contractor about how you want it done. Each one is going to have a different process. However, there are many similarities.
Many of them will simply cut the hardwood flooring planks to fit the curve of the stairs. The planks can run parallel to the direction of the stairs. If they do, the installer will then cut the end of each plank so that they follow the natural curve of the stairs. That’s probably the easiest way to do it. It creates a dynamic look for your stairs. However, if you want to simulate movement and really emphasize the wave effect of your curved stairs, you can choose planks that run perpendicular to the stairs.
If your planks run perpendicular to the stairs, they can be made to fit the curve by cutting. The installer can rip each plank lengthwise to match the curve. Alternately, the installer can map the curve of each stair and then build a jig. Each plank is then placed in a steam box and inundated with steam. The steam will make the planks more pliable. They’re then bent in the jig and allowed to dry. Once they’re dry, they’ll hold the shape of the jig. That will allow you to create a seamless flowing wood floor for your stairs.