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.