When it comes to planning and designing a timber staircase, extra consideration should be taken towards choosing the right type of wood for stairs that will serve you or your customer best. It will largely come down to personal taste and style, as well as how much footfall the stairs will experience daily.
Softwood Or Hardwood For Stairs?
Though their names suggest otherwise, hardwood and softwood are actually characterized by how the trees reproduce – not their strength. Typically, most types of hardwood are denser and more durable than softwoods, though there are some exceptions.
Hardwood comes from deciduous trees that shed their leaves annually, while softwood comes from evergreen trees that retain their leaves all year round.
Which Is More Expensive?
Usually, hardwood is more expensive than softwood for a few reasons:
● It takes longer to grow, so trees can’t be harvested as quickly.
● It can only grow in specific locations, whereas softwoods are often far more adaptable.
● It is harder to cultivate.
● It takes longer to dry.
● It is harder to work with.
Benefits Of Hardwood
Hardwood is a highly favored option due to its exceptional strength, durability, and stunning visual appeal. Moreover, hardwood is easy to clean and demands minimal maintenance, especially when it has been appropriately treated and finished. This makes it an excellent choice for all stair components, including treads, risers, and balustrades, ensuring long-lasting beauty and functionality.
Benefits Of Softwood
Softwood is a good quality, reasonably priced alternative to hardwood. With options like pine, which is more porous than many other types of wood. It’s a good option if you want to paint, stain, or varnish your stairs to achieve the desired finish. As it can be grown quickly and easily, softwood is a more environmentally friendly choice if you want something more sustainable.
Don’t Forget To Consider Levels Of Footfall
As a naturally high-traffic spot, your choice of stair design wood needs to be functional while also complementing the wider interior of your home. Wood for stairs is naturally hardwearing, particularly if you choose tough hardwood such as oak or walnut.
While wooden treads can have an impressive appearance, it's important to consider the safety concerns for certain individuals such as young children, pets, the elderly, or those with mobility issues. These individuals may face challenges navigating wooden treads due to the potential risk of slipping. In such cases, a practical solution could be to add carpet or a stair runner, providing better traction and ensuring a safer staircase for everyone.
Types of Wood
Commonly recognized by its pale golden or whitish color and knots, pine is an effective, lower-priced alternative to hardwood. Whitewood pine tends to be paler, while redwood pine has a subtle red tinge due to its higher resin content. Because it’s so versatile, pine staircases can be painted or stained to achieve the desired look and finish.
We use both European and American species for our oak staircases here at Multi-Turn. Both are very durable with an open grain, which produces a stunning appearance. Oils and varnishes can be used for finishing, with clear and colored options available.
Characterized by its rich brown color and unique grain, walnut is considered to be a superior timber choice. Though hardwearing, it is easy to work with and can be finished precisely, combining wonderfully with glass and metals to produce statement stairs.
Perfect for traditional staircase designs, sapele has a truly grand appearance which, when polished, complements white primed stair components beautifully. It comes in varying natural shades of rich golden to dark reddish-brown but can be stained to produce a much darker finish. With a straight grain, sapele is fairly close in appearance and durability to mahogany.
Choosing The Right Wood For Stairs…
Choosing the right wood for your staircase is crucial in achieving a functional and aesthetically pleasing design. Take into account factors like durability, maintenance needs, and the overall style of your project. Whether you decide on softwood or hardwood for stairs, there is a wide range of options available to accommodate your preferences and budget.
Ultimately, the choice is yours! Stairs can be a rewarding investment, so it's essential to explore the available choices. If you have any inquiries about an upcoming staircase project, feel free to reach out to our team at 01962 712299 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We're here to help!