Oak Staircase

by Scott Edwards
Jun
30

Of all the timber species available, Oak is by far the most popular. It is in fact the “Rolls Royce”, or 24 carat gold of timbers on a fashion scale, and is used for all manner of products within the construction and furniture industries.

A solid oak staircase makes a statement in any property. Although we traditionally see Oak stairs in grand stately, Victorian and Edwardian properties, they are by no means limited to these dwellings alone. The huge growth in popularity of designer stairs means that people now see their staircase as a feature rather than just a simple means of access between floor levels, and T.V programmes such as “Grand Designs”, “Build, Buy or Restore” and “Property Ladder” have focused on making the staircase a fashionable item that deserves special attention during a build or renovation project.

Oak is a strong and durable timber with a natural colouration that can easily blend with a design colour scheme. It also has more than enough individual character to make a statement within a stand alone item or main feature of a property, which is why it’s still so popular for constructing stairs, even in modern homes of today.

Should you decide to have a completely solid oak timber staircase, or mix oak with other materials such as stainless steel or glass to create a more modern concept it’s worth understanding a few things about the timber itself.

Oak is sourced from a number of countries so there are variations in colouration and grain character. For example, European and American white are both strains of oak but look very different on closer inspection. The oak tree also branches out very early so sourcing extremely long lengths for large straight staircases can be difficult. The timber can also be highly defective with knots and shake, and although this is partly what gives it character, manufacturers must allow for a greater portion of waste. Subsequently, these points will be reflected in the final costs.

Due to its fashionable status, many people will not consider an alternative timber for their staircase, but it’s worth knowing that close alternatives do exist. American white ash is much cheaper than oak yet holds easily as much character, and it’s slightly lighter natural colouration allows for simple colour matching. In fact, a high percentage of end users actually prefer ash once they compare it directly to oak. The other alternative would be African Idigbo. This timber is generally used for exterior products (Although not exclusively) but when stained with a light oak coating gives a close colour match to real oak. Idigbo would be best suited to a period building or barn conversion, whereas ash is suitable for any interior, whether traditional or modern.

One thing is certain. Installing an oak staircase, or feature staircase of any kind will be an investment that enhances your properties value.

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