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5 Best Wood Species to Use for Stairs

Selecting a wooden stair gives you the luxury of choice. However, you also have to contend with the task of choosing from the variety of wood species available for stairs and other home projects.

While all the wood species are beautiful, they have differing stains, durability, strength, and hardness. So you want to select the right one, depending on your budget, existing interior design, where you live, and other factors. Read on as we walk you through your options!

White oak

One of the two main varieties of oakwood, white oak packs several qualities that make it one of the best for stair treads, rails, and newel posts. It has an olive cast, a swirling pattern to the grain, and a unique, beautiful color that can be anything between brown and light beige.

In addition, white oak is rot-resistant, very hard, and offers great strength, far more than its red counterpart. As such, it is rated as highly durable. This quality makes it the wood of choice in boatbuilding.


Walnut is a rich, dark, highly dense, and durable lumber that’s surprisingly malleable and easy to cut. It has an even texture that doesn’t require much effort to maintain. Depending on the soil and climate, walnuts have different colors and structures. So it comes in varying shades that suit every homeowner’s design and style taste.

Thanks to their resistance to moisture and decay, walnut is widely used in furniture and stair production. However, walnuts can be expensive compared to oak and are less readily available than yellow pine.

Yellow pine

Abundant in many Southern and mid-Atlantic states, yellow pine is one of the most common lumber used in home construction projects. It is so popular it can be found in home improvement stores across the United States.

Yellow pine is very dense and versatile, making it an excellent choice for many projects, including fencing, flooring, making furniture, barn and storage space construction, wood stairs, etc. In addition, it is rot-resistance and can withstand extreme climates, making it preferred for outdoor projects, including wood stairs, garages, and gazebos.


Maple is a dense wood with a strength that matches and exceeds that of oak. Its tan and almost white coloration contrast beautifully against dark features, making it an excellent choice in interior decoration. However, the light hue doesn’t hide stains, marks, and scratches well. As it can withstand heavy traffic, maple is widely used in flooring. Due to its high density, maple is also used in stair construction. It is also popular in furniture, doors, and cabinet making.


Mahogany is one of the most excellent materials used in making classy furniture. It has a rich, deep color, which is its finest feature. While it can be stained to match the surrounding decor, its natural finish is already beautiful - staining will take the shine off its natural beauty unless you coat it with a clear finish. The downside to mahogany is that it is expensive and difficult to get.

Best wood species for staining

If you’re looking to stain your wood stairs to complement the existing color, here are some wood types you should go for:

  • Pine

  • Oak

  • Cedar

  • Poplar

  • Birch

Best wood species for outdoor stairs

While you can get away with using any wood for indoor stairs, outdoor stairs must be made of rot-resistance wood. Here are some of the best rot-resistant wood:

  • Teak

  • Douglas Fir

  • Cedar

  • Black Locust

  • Pine

Now that you know which wood species will be great for your indoor and outdoor stairs project, consult us for more advice or to design a stairway that suits your style and budget. Get started.


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