Red Alder (Alnus rubra) is the most common hardwood in the Pacific North West and the largest of the American Alders, reaching heights of over 100 feet. It has very little insect or disease problems or animal damage. It is a fast-growing species and trees can grow to more than 30 feet at by five years of age, fifty feet by ten years and be seventy-five feet tall in only twenty years. Still, red alder is a relatively short-lived species, maturing at sixty to seventy years with a maximum age of about one hundred years. All of these factors, however, make alder an exceptional species for human use in green and sustainable forestry.
Alder stair parts are just one of the many applications to which this species is ideally suited. Because of how fast it grows and the heights it achieves in such short a time, it is relatively inexpensive. Although, alder lumber is not considered to be a durable option for outdoor applications, due to its workability and ease of finishing it is increasingly used in interior applications for furniture, cabinetry and hardwood alder stair parts.
Red Alder lumber ranges from white to light brown, with a relatively soft and smooth texture. It is very uniform in color because there is no visible boundary between the heartwood and sapwood. It has medium luster and easily worked, it glues well, and takes a good finish. Because of its uniformity, light color, and ability to take stain well, alder is often stained to imitate other, more expensive species such as cherry.
Red Alder stair parts are an excellent option for interior balustrades, they are relatively inexpensive and visually appealing. It’s attractive soft, uniform grain adds a beautiful texture to wood balusters, turned newel posts, box newels and handrails. It is relatively soft however so it is not recommended for use as Solid Treads or other walking surfaces. However, Alder False Tread End Caps that are not walked on are another acceptable use of the species. So, if you are looking for an inexpensive alternative hardwood, Red Alder may be the perfect match. It is inexpensive, smooth and beautiful and perhaps most importantly a very renewable green resource. If you have any questions about Alder, check out more information on a variety of wood species here or contact one of our Specialists, we are here to assist you from design through completion. Remember in addition to our standard stair parts and wood species, we offer stair parts in all available wood species and wrought iron.