Building a new staircase in your home can completely transform the look and feel of your interior space. Even simply switching to a new banister rail can create a huge difference and make your home feel like a completely different space than it was before.

So if you’ve decided that this is something worth pursuing (hint: it is!), it is now time to look at the different types of wood available to us, and decide which would better be suited for our new staircase.

European Redwood

You may have also heard of european redwood as scandinavian pine. This is a good environmental choice as it is grown in renewable plantations, which makes it more affordable than other options. It has a nice appearance that will enhance the look of your staircase if you decide to go with this type of wood. It is probably a good choice for someone on a budget that still wants the staircase to look more expensive than it actually is.

Southern Yellow Pine

This option is for people who are looking for strong hardwood. Southern yellow pine will be a lot more durable than other types of wood, so it would be a great choice for a staircase that will pass the test of time. It has a nice texture and pretty golden color, with a specific grain pattern. This wood is grown in the South, and you can use if for your staircase or even floors and furniture.

Hemlock Softwood

If you want knot free wood, this would be your safest bet. It’s obviously a softer type of wood but has a nice golden color as well. Good on a budget, you can also paint it a certain color as it’s texture easily allows it.


Oak comes in various types, and usually professionals will recommend white oak to be used for a staircase because of it’s durability. Being such a strong water resistant type of wood, white oak is often used to build boats and wine barrels because of its unique characteristics. This will be a bit pricey but if you can afford it, it’s definitely one of the best if not the best choice available on the market.

American White Oak can be more widely available than European white oak and thus a tad less expensive, so that’s something to keep in mind.


We are reaching now the territory of premium hardwood, as this is likely tougher than white oak and has the advantage of being highly flexible as well, allowing for shapes and curves to be more easily created. Perfect for a staircase, it comes in cream pale brownish colors.


This is a little known red to brown looking hardwood that is somewhat close in color to mahogany to get an idea. Sapele has a very distinctive grain, and can be looked at as a cheaper alternative to be used when wanting something of this color. It has a good dense structure that will keep rot away and it also has a decent resistance to water and humidity. You can even use this type of wood for outdoors in your garden.


There are several types of walnut wood available on the market, but the one that should interest you the most is American Black Walnut as it is the strongest and most stable type of walnut. This is another hardwood that comes in a dark brownish color (think dark chocolate) that is probably the most expensive wood on this list but for good reason. It is very versatile and extremely long lasting. You can carve it into any shape imaginable so you can really use it for anything. This is a great choice for your staircase if you are interested in both look and durability. It will come at a price but if you can afford it, it’s totally worth the investment.

A lot of options to consider and choose from, but hopefully you now have a good idea regarding the difference and benefits each type of wood offers.