4 Types of Wood to Consider for Your Wooden Staircase

July 29, 2020

Wood is one of the most versatile and aesthetically-pleasing construction materials. Used correctly in a home or office, it gives off a warm, yet classic appeal.

When used in staircases, wood can accent the interior design of a home wonderfully, combining beauty, reliability, and durability. It is convenient to use and easy enough to shape and manipulate. In addition to that, there are so many varieties of wood suitable for use in staircases. 

In this article, we are going to talk about four types of wood to consider if you’re building a wooden staircase.


Oak is incredibly strong and is a classic choice for staircases because of its wonderfully attractive grain. It is strong and beautiful enough to be used in both interior and exterior applications. Aside from that, oak is a popular choice for the manufacturing of veneers, carvings, parquet, and so on. 

Another thing to note is that this type of wood is highly resistant to moisture, and with over 600 species worldwide split into two major varieties (red and white oak), it is a popular and accessible choice as it grows in many parts of the North American continent.

Both varieties of oakwood are also highly-resistant to warping, and easily processed. The caveats of oakwood are that it is more brittle, and contains tannic acids which can easily corrode iron fittings and steel. It can also become permanently stained by corroded fittings.


An important staple in Canadian culture, maple is a dense wood with a beautiful texture. It is also slightly stronger than oakwood, and appears cream white, with some hints of yellow and ink. It is highly valued for its exquisite and lavish appearance, which when contrasted with the home’s darker features, can create beautiful balances in color. 

There are two categories of maple for consideration: hard maple and soft maple. Soft maple, despite the misnomer, is still categorized as a hardwood; in fact, there is only one species of maple that is considered hard: Acer saccharum. This is the maple from which the syrup is derived. Despite this, both are used in flooring, furniture, trim, and more.

 In terms of structure, maple is known to be incredibly strong with a smooth, beautiful appearance. It is also very firm and elastic, and is amenable to different processes like polishing, staining, varnishing, and so on. It is also quite easy to maintain.

One problem with maple is that scratches and marks appear more easily on its pale-colored surfaces. It also does not do well in humid conditions, and can be prone to cracking with high fluctuations in temperature. This wood cannot be used outside because it’s not very weather-resistant.

Ash wood

Ash is an elastic hardwood with a beautiful texture. It is known for its flexibility and grey hue with clear fibers. It is similar to oak and is also highly resistant to wear and tear, but it remains unsuitable for use outside, as contact with the ground causes it to deteriorate.

This interesting texture and appearance are what make it a prominent choice in wood staircases. It is also incredibly tough, flexible, and elastic—making it difficult to warp. One problem with ash is that it does not do well with high humidity and is resistant to polishing and processing. 


Walnut is famed for its even texture and ease in processing. It is moderately hard and strong because of its density, but nevertheless easy to machine and cut. It is also incredibly resistant to moisture and takes to polishing quite well. These qualities make it high in demand for use in furniture and flooring.

Walnut’s value also increases with time, as the more the tree ages, the darker and more valuable the wood becomes. It is easily malleable and machined, and can be made to take many shapes. 

However, it can be expensive and not as weather-resistant as most homeowners would like.


Choosing what wood to use in your staircase can be a daunting task, given the many choices you might have. This list has compiled four of the many types of wood that is suitable for use in interior design, as we know how important it is to inform yourself before making long-term choices about your home. 

If you need a woodworker for your interior design needs in Ontario, why not give us at Beavers Building a call? We have over 20 years of custom woodworking experience at your service. 

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