What To Look For When Choosing A Staircase

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Staircases seem to be the focal point of every romantic movie – from “Gone with the Wind” to “Titanic” to “Rocky”.  When the movie is over, you come home, look at your staircase and quickly become disheartened. If you’re planning a renovation and it requires a new or upgraded staircase – here’s your chance to get a little bit of that romance in your own home.

We all know that stairs are a necessity to move from one level to the next – but, they can be so much more. After all, in most homes, a staircase is the first thing you see when you enter. For this reason, they deserve as much of your design attention as the rest of your renovation.

Choosing A Staircase: Material Suggestions

When communicating with your contractor or designer, let them know that the stairs will not be an afterthought. As long as your budget and design aesthetic will allow – let your imagination run wild! In this blog we’ll explore some of the many material options you have for a stairway in your home. Naturally, wood is the most common material for building stairs but, let’s think ‘outside the box’.



Have you considered concrete? Initially, you may balk at the idea but, upon closer reflection concrete can be a very sleek modern choice. We often think of concrete as a crude construction material but, it can be shaped to fit into a chic urban decor. The material allows for the desired shape to form quickly and effectively. Concrete is versatile, it can be tinted to any colour and the finish can vary in texture.  

Concrete pairs well with other manmade products such as steel and glass.



Glass is another product that may not readily come to mind when constructing a staircase.  With the advancements in building science – a glass-tread stairway is incredibly durable. You would still have the transition from one level to the next without losing any of the available light.  The glass-tread staircase would be elegant and would give you the feeling of “walking on air”. Glass would fit into many types of décor, since glass can be molded into many shapes and comes in a myriad of colours.

Glass pairs with all types of products – whether manmade or natural.


Natural Stone

Natural Stone is always a great material for a staircase and has become increasingly popular in recent years. As we know with the ancient Romans – a stone stairway could last for hundreds of years.  Stone would add a warmth in colour and texture to your home. The most popular natural stone materials are granite and marble but don’t forget to consider sandstone and onyx. Natural Stone pairs well with both manmade and natural materials.


Wood is the classic material used for stairways and it’s clearly the favourite. Wood is durable and complements many interior design styles. Most stairs are made from Oak or Maple due their availability and how well they handle everyday life in a busy household. You may want to consider other woods such as Ash, Mahogany or Cherry woods. The colours would vary from the typical honey-coloured oak and the grain type would be different as well giving your home a luxurious and elegant feel.    

Wooden stairs can fit into any décor style – contemporary, traditional and of course, rustic.



Metal staircases are often seen as best suited for a utilitarian exterior; however, you may want to reconsider. A metal staircase would fit very comfortably into an urban loft. If your space is limited, you may choose a spiral staircase. Metal is dynamic and comes in a variety of finishes, colours and textures. Speak with your designer about a silver, bronze or black metal staircase, when paired with a wrought-iron railing and balusters – it can be incredibly elegant.  

Metal would pair well with stainless steel or chrome and would work well in an industrial or minimalist style home.

Types of Staircases

You’ve decided to use a unique material for your stairway, now depending on your available space you are now prepared to choose a design. There are several types of staircase designs that you can choose from.

For example:

  • Straight design

  • Straight with central landing

  • L-shaped design

  • U-shaped design

  • Winder design

  • Spiral design

  • Curved design

The most commonly used staircase types used as part of a house renovation would be that of straight, L-shaped or curved.

Other Considerations

The stairway is always a high-traffic area, since all family members would be using them daily.  It is estimated that up to 12% of emergency department visits are related to injuries caused by falling down a staircase. For this reason, safety is paramount.

Staircase construction-safety is highly regulated by The Ontario Building Code. There are regulations around handrail height, step height and bannisters. Within all those restrictions you have a choice of materials and design. From the shape of the balusters, to the material of the tread and rise, to the material of the handrail. Get creative and have fun with your designer, as you pair unusual materials together to create an eclectic look that is uniquely all your own.

Looking to start a renovation project soon? We at Bryant Renovations, have over 30 years of renovation experience and have completed many staircase renovation projects over the years. Feel free to contact us today if you have any home or condo renovation questions or would like a quote regarding an upcoming project.  

Questions to Ask Before Your Home Renovation


Avoid Renovation Regret

No matter the scale of your project – a home renovation is often a massive undertaking.

Here are several questions that you should be asking yourself before you settle on a contractor. You want to avoid a scenario where halfway through the renovation – you’re wondering if you’ve made the right decisions.

To prevent renovation mistakes or regret, have a home renovation plan, and ask yourself the following questions.


What about my home bothers me?

Spend extra time in the area of your home that you plan to renovate. Take note of what really bothers you, and make sure that it will be addressed in the renovation. Ask yourself questions like: Do I have sufficient and workable counter space? Do I have enough natural light? Is there clutter everywhere?

What are my “must-haves”?

What can’t be compromised on? You need to prioritize exactly what you want from your renovation. Now is the time to dream big!  Ask yourself… what is the one thing you cannot live without?

If your goal is to have an ensuite bathroom with double sinks, make sure your designer knows that.  


Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Your home is feeling cramped and cluttered.  You have a big decision ahead of you: stay, redesign the interior space, build an addition or move to a larger home.  This is a decision that would involve the whole family. Ask everyone to consider the following reasons to stay or go: schools, neighbours, amenities, commute times, extended family members and daycare.

Related Article: Pondering whether the grass would be greener in another home? Read our blog “Major Home Renovation or move?”

Am I prepared for “what-ifs”?

During any renovation, there could be several hidden problems, that will affect your budget and schedule. Damage from water, pests, mould, if discovered, can set your renovation back a few days and thousands of dollars. Always have a contingency budget or plan in place.

Related Article: Ready to break out the calculator? Here’s our handy guide to creating your own home renovation budget.


Will my renovation be suitable for my future?

Eventually, the kids will move out and your square footage needs will change. Try to envisage what your future self would want in your home. Either include that in your current renovation or leave room so “future you” can expand on what you’ve already started.

Do I trust my home contractors?

When you put your faith in the right design/build team, you can rest assured knowing that your project is being handled by professionals who will complete your job smoothly, to code, and in a timely manner. Before you hire a contractor ask: is this person licensed and do they have good reviews?

 Related Article: Don’t put your home reno project in the hands of an amateur. Read our blog “10 Ways to Avoid Hiring the Wrong Renovation Company“.

Before you remodel your home, make sure you have all the bases covered so you and your family can get the most out of it. The Toronto design/build experts at Bryant Renovations have over 40 years of experience in delivering the right balance of style and function.  

Contact us today to see how we can give your family the home they deserve.

Ideas For Renovating Your Toronto Garage

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Room For Your Car? 

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Have you noticed that garages are being used for more than just cars? It begs the question - what is actually in the garage? 

Toronto is a vibrant city, and it's attractive for many reasons - cultural diversity, first class restaurants, a thriving theatre & live music scene to name a few. However, you will find that there are concessions to be made for big-city living - smaller square footage being one of them. 

In an effort to create more space, many have turned their focus towards their garage

Storage is often in short supply - especially in older homes, many homeowners have resorted to using their garage as a cluttered and haphazard storage area. In this article, we'll explore some innovative garage renovation ideas as well as offer clever ways you can maximize the storage in your home. 

Option #1 Convert Your Garage

If you are able to park your car on the street or in your driveway - consider converting your garage into a living space. 

Garage Conversion Ideas

You can convert your garage into any room you feel your home is lacking. Essentially, there are no limits. 

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  • Bar/lounge

  • Extra living space

  • Bathroom

  • Bedroom

  • Granny/Nanny suite

  • Home gym

  • Extending current living space with an open concept

Related Article:  Do you think you could benefit from a basement renovation? Read some of our top ideas for basement renovations in our article. 

The best garage conversions will make it seem as though the area was never a garage in the first place. Unless of course, you intend to incorporate some of your garage's elements in the design. 

Be sure to communicate with your renovator/designer regarding building permits. Make sure the space is built to Ontario Building Code standards and is energy efficient. Ensure the following items are incorporated into the renovation: 

  • Fully insulating the walls, floors and ceiling/attic

  • Replacing the garage door with a solid wall or wall of windows

  • Adding code compliant windows and doors

  • Adequate heating and cooling for the space

Option #2 Create More Space

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If your car is your prized possession and your 'baby', then getting rid of the garage may be out of the question. 

Many North Americans say their garage is too cluttered to park their car. If your goal is to have enough room for your car, then a new storage plan may be required for not only your garage but the rest of your property as well. 

We recommend vertical storage solutions, like the ones available through big box stores. Custom-built storage are wise solutions as well. If you have room in your basement - you could store items efficiently down there. Could you benefit from adding a shed in the backyard? Sheds are often a better place to store seasonal items such as: seasonal decorations, tires and gardening tools. 

After all of the above considerations you may decide that your best solution isn't in the available square footage you have, then a home addition is a great way to get the extra space required by you and your family. 

Related Article: Explore some of the different types of foundations for your home addition in this article. 

So, What's Your Plan? 

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Whatever you are planning for a full garage conversion or are looking to renovate your home to create more space, having the advice of trusted, experienced design and build experts will help provide you with more insight and alternatives to explore. 

Contact the Toronto home renovation experts with over 40 years of experience at Bryant Renovations to see how you can improve your home today.