You’ve decided to get new flooring. You’re weighing all the options, from aesthetics to maintenance to durability and more, to get the right floor to meet your needs. But what about your staircase? There’s a whole different set of factors that need to be considered when choosing flooring for stairs. Here are some of the best options.

• Carpet. A carpeted staircase with short, dense fibers can do a lot for your home. The shorter fibers are more durable, to stand up to heavy foot traffic, while still feeling soft and comfortable under foot. It’s also not as slippery as other types of flooring, which is great if you have children or senior citizens in your home. Carpet can keep them safe and reduce the risk of falling. Plus, you can get it in just about any color or pattern you want, to go perfectly with any décor. The one major drawback is maintenance, as carpet fibers trap dirt. It can be cleaned with regular vacuuming, but depending on your vacuum, using it on stairs can be cumbersome.

• Hardwood. Also very durable, hardwood is beautiful and high quality, built to last for decades. It’s much easier to keep clean than carpet, too. Just a quick sweep and a mop is all you need for day to day maintenance. Solid hardwood can pose a couple of problems. It’s not water resistant, and so can stain if not properly cared for. And it’s prone to scratches, dents, and other minor damage, particularly in high traffic areas like stairways. However, there’s an alternative: engineered hardwood has the same beautiful look as regular wood flooring, but water resistant, and able to withstand the damage that comes with frequent use.

• Tile. Tile floors are beautiful and versatile. They come in all sorts of colors, and the tiles can be arranged in a variety of different patterns. It’s durable, scratch resistant, water resistant, and has easy maintenance. However, tile can also be slippery when wet, which can be a problem on stairs. If anyone in your household has trouble with balance, or is prone to falls, you might consider an option besides tile.

• Laminate. Hardwood floors are elegant and classy. Tile floors are versatile and durable. Both are also very expensive. If you want your stairs to have a wood or tile look, but don’t have the money, you might consider laminate flooring. Laminate uses high resolution images to mimic the look of tile, hardwood, or just about any other type of material. It’s virtually indistinguishable from the real thing, but much cheaper. It’s also very durable, and doesn’t easily show signs of wear, which makes it great for stairs. Plus, its glossy topcoat is water resistant and stain resistant, making it easy to clean.

There are a lot of options when it comes to flooring. The flooring on your stairs doesn’t necessarily have to match the flooring in the rest of the room, either. You can choose colors and materials that complement the rest of your décor, or that stand out as an accent. The choice is yours. Talk to a flooring expert and get the stair design that best suits your style, and your home’s needs.