How Much Does an Oak Staircase Cost?

Wood staircases are a perfect way to add a stunning and warm look to your home. Oak is one of the most popular choices for any hardwood structure. We've gone ahead and researched hardwood oak stairs to let you know how much they typically cost, including installation.

The cost range for hardwood stairs is anywhere from $1,000 to $30,000. On average, a hardwood oak staircase will cost around $4,000 once installation fees are taken into account. The staircase's size, the thickness of treads, and the staircase's design can all quickly increase this price tag, though. 

So, now you have an accurate price range for what an oak staircase could cost. But why is oak so expensive? How much is stair installation? Can you stain another type of wood to look like oak or put hardwood treads on an existing staircase? Keep reading for answers to these questions and more!

A curved oak staircase in luxury home entrance hall, How Much Does an Oak Staircase Cost?

Why is Oak so Expensive?

Oak trees can be grown in nearly any climate. You might think that this would make oak plentiful and inexpensive, but this is not the case. The fact that oak trees have a long maturity time means that it takes them much longer to grow to be useable. On top of this, oak is very dense compared to other hardwoods, and the difficulty of working with it makes it more valuable when done properly. 

Oak is at the very top of the quality hardwoods available. Depending on the craftsmen's quality and finish, oak products are made to last beyond a lifetime. The strength and durability of oak really make it stand out as a high-end material. 

Another thing that increases oaks value is its uniqueness. Quartersawn oak shows the veins running through the wood, making each timber unique. These distinctive markings allow the oak to retain its value over time and increase individual piece's value. 

Overall, if oak is properly worked and finished, it will outlast nearly all other wood types. Oak has been a symbol of quality for a very long time. An oak staircase or piece may be expensive, but it can easily add more value to your home than it costs to create and install. 

Remember that oak may price a stairway out of your budget. Don't worry about this, as there are plenty of other options for your staircase material. If you're set on wood but can't afford oak or just want to check out other options, check out our article "14 Best Types Of Wood For Stair Treads."

Classic vintage elegant wooden staircase with wrought iron railing

How much does it cost to install a set of (interior) stairs?

The average price range of installing a set of interior stairs normally falls between $2,000 and $5,000. On average, a red oak staircase with handrails costs homeowners $3,696. More expensive wood and complex staircases will fall on the higher end of the average range. 

Beautiful Santos mahogany wooden stairs leading up

Can I put hardwood treads over existing stairs?

It is possible to put hardwood treads on existing stairs. If you're an expert carpenter, this can even turn into a DIY project. If you aren't great at woodworking, then call a professional for an installation quote.

To install hardwood treads on stairs, the wood must be cut to exactly match and fit on the treads. Thanks to this, it is important that someone skilled be the one to take measurements and install the hardwood. Oak and other hardwoods are expensive, so you don't want to waste this material by making mistakes. 

Stylish staircase in bright house interior

Can I stain pine to look like oak?

Any wood can be stained to look like oak. Because oak is much more expensive than other, cheaper hardwoods, stains are made specifically to mimic it. If you love the look of oak, but it falls outside of your budget, an oak stain is a viable option to get that preferred hue. 

Stains not only give your wood a more appealing look, but they also provide a protective layer on the wood to keep out moisture. Varathane offers a Summer Oak stain that finishes your wood and dries quickly. They also have an entire line of stains to mimic other oak types and other hardwoods such as mahogany. 

Click here to see it on Amazon.

How do you protect oak stairs?

Once you've invested in an oak staircase, you'll want to protect it. Use a wood varnish, wax, or oil to maintain your stairs. Each of these finishers has different properties, and we will discuss them below. 

Curved oak staircase in luxury home entrance hall

Wood Varnish

Varnishes are made of polyurethane. They are the easiest to apply of all the preservers discussed here, able to be brushed onto stairs as a clear coat. Varnishes dry quickly and give a strong and durable shine to your stairs. 

Minwax makes a great polyurethane finish that is brushed onto any interior wood surfaces.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

Wood Oil

Wood oil is one of the most common preservatives for staircases. The pores in the wood soak up the oil, keeping more moisture out of the wood. Keeping out moisture helps keep the wood from rotting and warping, allowing it to retain its strength. A couple of coats of wood oil will last for years, so frequent maintenance isn't necessary. 

If you're a person who enjoys all-natural products, then check out LIberon Pure Tung Oil for your stairs. This oil claims to permeate into wood surfaces and is resistant to mold and moisture. It's even FDA approved for surfaces contacting food and can be used to finish materials other than wood if the need arises. 

Click here to see it on Amazon.


Wood waxes only need to be applied once. The wax provides a waterproof seal for your wood while guaranteed not to peel. However, wax fumes are strong, so make sure to use it when people are away or only if your house is well ventilated. Once applied, your stairs never need another coat or to be further varnished. 

Beeswax is a great natural option for finishing your stairs if you want to avoid harsh chemicals and fumes. Wood Seasoning offers a mixture made of beeswax and mineral oil, with no hidden surprises.


Click here to see it on Amazon.

Remember when you go to finish your oak staircase that it is hard to make a wrong choice. Keep them clean and finish them as soon as possible after installation to avoid long term damage. 


When you want to build and install an oak staircase, you should expect it to cost at least $4,000. This price can fluctuate based on how large the staircase is, the thickness of the treads, or the staircase's design. Call a professional to get a proper estimate for your specific needs. If you decide on an oak staircase, you'll be investing in a beautiful and long-living piece of your home. 

Sometimes when you get new stairs, they will creak. For some people, this is a concern. To answer all your questions about creating stairs, check out our article "Are New Stairs Supposed To Creak? [And How To Stop That]."

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