What Materials & Look Are Best for Your Stairs?
When you want to give your home a new look, you have many different options. You could repaint for a new colour scheme, rearrange furniture for better traffic flow, or remove a wall for a more spacious feel. One of the most dramatic changes you can make to your home to make a statement—and increase its value—is to remodel your staircase.
Most staircases are functional, but only the best draw visitors’ eyes and show off your personal design. Read our previous post, The Top 4 Things to Consider When Designing a New Staircase, to learn about general budgeting, design, materials, and safety information.
In this blog, we will delve more deeply into the most popular staircase materials. Use the following information to help you find the one that will work best for your staircase.
Do you like the traditional look? When you describe your home, do you use words like “warm” or “friendly”? If so, you might want to build your staircase with primarily wood material.
One of the most obvious benefits to choosing wood is that there are so many options. You’ll want to choose a hardwood since most staircases deal with consistent foot traffic, although some softwoods can withstand traffic as well. Some of the most popular options include:
- Oak. You can have experts stain this long-lasting, durable wood to match other woodwork in your home. Its warm colouring and durability also make it a popular stairway choice. Note that some oak wood, such as white oak, is harder than others, like red oak.
- Beech. Homeowners use beech to coordinate with simple designs. If you want a light, modern touch, this straight-grained wood is a good choice.
- Maple. Maple wood varies from tree to tree, depending on the sugar density found in each. Hard maple is durable, heavy, and strong. It resists abrasions, so you won’t have to worry as much about scratches and dings like you do with softer wood.
These are just a few options you can choose from. You can use wood throughout the entire staircase, or use it in accent pieces and railings.
If you want to encourage an open, uncluttered look in your home, install a glass staircase. While wood has its benefits, glass helps you avoid wood’s drawbacks like warping.
When you think of glass, you might think of it as delicate or breakable. Without modern treatments, these descriptions are apt. However, thick, tempered glass is durable and can easily hold your weight as you walk up and down your stairs.
If you like the sleek glass look but aren’t ready for a complete remodel, try a glass railing. These railings provide the protection you need with the open feel that you want.
More and more Canadians install aluminum stairs because the material is as strong as wood and about 30% lighter. To put that into perspective, take a 100 kg aluminum staircase. While this is relatively light, it can hold about 725 kg. That unexpected strength makes this choice a popular one for outdoor staircase designers.
Aluminum is useful outdoors because it conducts heat in the winter, which makes it less likely to harbour ice. Cold temperatures also strengthen the material. Since most aluminum stair designs contain grates, they self-drain. This safety feature eliminates pooled water that can cause you or your family to slip.
Most architects use steel in their building designs because of the material’s immense durability and strength—qualities you want in your remodelled stairs. This strong, flexible material can create interesting indoor and outdoor staircases. Whether you’re looking for a gentle curve, spiral, or straight staircase, steel can provide the shape you want.
Steel combines functionality with economical prices. It requires little maintenance and combines well with a modern design aesthetic.
Concrete is another indoor/outdoor staircase option. It has the lowest initial price tag of these materials, and gives a contemporary vibe to your space.
If you want to give your home a personalized feel, take your concrete to a new level. Since it can conform to nearly any form, you can design your own template and place it in the concrete before the concrete dries in its permanent shape. When you remove your template, the stair will display your unique artwork. Just make sure not to place the template too deeply into the concrete; otherwise, the grooves might cause people to trip.
While the steps themselves won’t use wrought iron, you can use this beautiful material to enhance your home’s design. Wrought iron creates a safety barrier that prevents falls and presents intricate designs that make your staircase a showpiece. Wrought iron is perfect if you like a traditional, luxurious look.
Whatever material you choose, always use an expert installation team. Consult with our local craftsmen at Riverside Ironworks to help design your ideal staircase that will enrich your home. We can help you decide on the best material and get you started on your remodel.