What Is the Best Wood to Use for Stairs?

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A new timber staircase can transform your corridorway and give the entire property a boost. Even just changing the banister rail will make an enormous difference to the look and feel of your own home, and of course is far quicker and cheaper than putting in a complete set of stairs.

Selecting which supplies to make use of, nevertheless, is not always straightforward. We take a look at a number of the completely different types of wood available for stair construction.

Scandinavian Pine

Also known as European redwood, this pale yellow softwood is produced in renewable plantations, making it a sound environmental choice. Attractive and affordable, with a knotty look adding character, pine is ideal for anyone on a budget. And of course in case you’re aspiring to carpet or paint the staircase, you could really feel there’s little level in splashing out on costly materials that will only be covered up.

Southern Yellow Pine

This is the largest, hardest and strongest type of pine – harder, the truth is, than many hardwoods. Southern yellow pine is a durable, sustainable and value-effective timber, with an interesting golden color and distinctive massive grain pattern. Grown abundantly in southern parts of the USA, it is good for staircases, floors and furniture.


An attractive and versatile softwood with a soft sheen, hemlock has a straight, light-coloured grain that can be varnished to a rich golden colour. Moreover, it is practically knot-free and simple to work with. This makes it an awesome substitute for more costly timbers such as oak or ash, so is price considering if your price range is limited. Hemlock will also be stained, varnished or painted.


There are numerous types of oak, with white oak considered the very best option for stairs. Prized for its power and durability, it has a stupendous knot-free grain that never seems to exit of fashion. The truth is, so dense is white oak that it is almost water-tight, which is why it is used to make, among other things, boats, wine barrels and outdoor furniture.

Another advantage of white oak is that the grain could be very stable, with few variations in sample and shade. This makes it simpler to match up new stairs with current oak fittings equivalent to skirting boards, floors and doors. It additionally takes wood treatments very easily.

There are major sources of white oak: the USA and Europe. American white oak is more widely available, and therefore less expensive, with a straight grain and pale biscuit colour. European oak is a slightly darker, golden honey shade with a particular wavy grain pattern.


This premium hardwood is even tougher than oak, with a largely straight grain and attractive colours starting from cream to pale brown. The most ample type is American white ash. Heavy, hard and highly shock-resistant, it makes excellent stair treads. Because it has an open grain, ash could be very versatile, so can be formed to produce a variety of curved stair parts.


This reddish-brown hardwood looks similar to mahogany, and indeed belongs to the same family. With a particular tight, interlocking grain, it provides a robust and cost-effective different to be used in furniture, flooring and cabinets as well as stairs. Sapele is harder and more stable than mahogany, with a dense construction that’s highly immune to rot and nearly completely water-tight. This makes it very best for outdoor as well as indoor use.


Native to West Africa, idigbo is a pale yellow-brown hardwood with a variable grain that may be straight, slightly irregular or interlocking. It’s typically chosen as a cost-effective alternative to oak, and will be stained, varnished or painted. Although idigbo is not quite as durable as oak, it affords a good level of power with little shrinkage, and could be formed to produce attractive curved stair parts.


There are a number of types of walnut tree, however the one most frequently used in staircase building is American black walnut. Strong and stable, this premium hardwood has a mostly straight grain and ranges in color from dark chocolate to a pale brown. Black walnut is expensive however versatile and very hard-wearing. It may be carved into elaborate shapes, making it very best for intricate stair elements equivalent to balusters, volutes and newel caps.

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