When it comes to building or refinishing wood stairs, it is important to note that there is a big difference between how you build indoor wood stairs vs. outdoor wood stairs. You’ll want to consider the wood stair parts you will need to do the project – that includes the type of wood and how the wood is treated.
Outdoor stair parts need to be treated for weather conditions pertinent to your area. Indoor wood stair parts are a little more forgiving when it comes to the type of wood because they aren’t as exposed to outdoor weather conditions. However, there are some types of wood that serve better for indoor purposes than others. If you want to learn more about the difference between indoor wood stair parts vs outdoor wood stair parts, then keep reading to find out which is more suitable for your project.
Indoor Wood Stair Parts:
With an indoor wood staircase, the stair parts often include tread, risers, balusters, posts, newel posts and handrails. That’s a lot of wood needed for such a project. That is a big reason why you want to make sure you are using the best type of wood for indoor use. Some of the most popular and commonly used species of wood include:
A few notes to consider about these species of wood:
Red Oak is one of the most commonly used species of wood to build indoor stairs because it is a plentiful resource. With many Red Oak trees in the United States, this type of wood is great for all kinds of indoor projects requiring wood including furniture and stairs. It is also forgiving in nature meaning it is easy to work with compared to other types of wood. It is one of the easiest to sand, stain, finish and paint.
Ash is a great type of wood to use because it is more inexpensive than the oak varieties. It is not quite as easy to work with, but if the price is a deep concern, it might be the more preferable option.
For homeowners looking for a rich, traditional look, either of the cherry options are wonderful. The tone of this type of wood is thick, rich and bright. Cherry woods are often used in the construction of heirloom pieces. However, there is a hefty price tag often associated with this type of wood and quality. It all depends on budget and availability.
How to Treat Indoor Stair Parts:
When it comes to treatment for an indoor wood project like an indoor staircase, a simple sand, (sometimes conditioning is required), stain, and finish is all it takes to get the job done. Be sure to research the process and products needed for the type of wood you select. Some woods require conditioning prior to staining, but others may not need that step.
Outdoor Stair Parts:
Outdoor stairs often require fewer parts as a whole. Usually much shorter than an indoor staircase (although not always, depending on the house or building), the stairs still typically require the traditional stair tread and risers. Some outdoor stairs might be pretty basic and this is all that is needed along with the stringer. However, if you’d like to build an outdoor staircase that also has posts and a hand railing, those options are available as well.
When it comes to finding the best species of wood to use in the construction of your outdoor wood staircase, consult locally. Not all lumber is equal or reacts equally to varying weather conditions. Some areas are too dry for some types of wood whereas other areas are too humid and moist for other types of wood.
This is why it is best to get a local consultation to determine which types of wood are best for your area. Especially since these stairs are going to be exposed to weather as well as atmosphere. High temperatures, cold temperatures, heavy rain, snow, etc. should all be considerations when choosing a wood. However, fortunately, you can’t really choose a wrong wood for outside use.
Two of the most popular outdoor wood types are redwood and cedar. These are commonly used in outdoor wood projects because they are easy to work with, have high resilience levels to the outdoor elements and have a reputation for being long lasting even when exposed to those elements without stain and other protective finishes.
How to Treat Outdoor Stair Parts:
Elemental factors should also be considered when it comes to treatment of the stairs before the staircase is finished. Some types of wood are more naturally resilient to the elements than others. However, over time, all wood will fall prey to intense heat and sunlight. To prolong the life of your staircase, consider using a stain that contains UV protection. Another way to protect your stairs is to consider doing a pressure treatment and sealant of some kind.
As you can see, a lot goes into building stairs correctly, whether it be for outdoor or indoor use. It is important to do the job right the first time. Using the right stair parts can help ensure that once the stairs are built, they won’t have to be rebuilt in a few years due to warping and wear. By using the right types of stair parts for your project, you can build longevity into your stairs, which should be the goal of any homeowner.