The Best Timber to use for your Staircase

You’re building your dream home, two levels of spacious interiors – a grand staircase joining both floors. A question we often get asked at Custom Spaces is – “What is the best species of timber to use for my staircase?”. There are a few factors which come into play before we can recommend what sort of wood you should use for your stairs, so in our latest blog we will cover the types of wood species that work best for each situation.


  • Blackbutt

  • Jarrah

  • Maple

  • Merbau

  • MDF

  • Pine

  • Plywood

  • Spotted Gum

  • Tasmanian oak

  • Victorian Ash

Factors when choosing a wood for your stairs:

  • Is it a high traffic area?

  • Do you have a budget in mind? Woods range from economical, midpriced

  • and luxury.

  • Aesthetics – will it go with the other timber features in your new home?

  • Do you have an idea for the unused space under your stairs?

About the Different Woods


These are a few of the most common timber species that take longer to grow, they are very strong and dense and have more characteristics than other wood species.

BLACKBUTT (Other names: Coastal blackbutt, Pink blackbutt)

This wood can be used for any staircase component and is good for stair projects that require a fire rating. This Australian hardwood is commonly used in a lot of structural applications. It is also used to produce plywood.



An Australian hardwood that is heavy, tough and distinctive. Jarrah looks sweet polished for staircases.



Botanical name: Corymbia Maculata or as we call it in the trade – Spotted Gum. At Custom Spaces we value this beautiful Australian native for it’s back-sawn grain structure, attractive markings and vibrant colour palette.


TASMANIAN OAK (Other names: Victorian Ash, Mountain Ash, Alpine Ash)

One of our fav’s here at Custom Spaces – Tassy Oak has some beautiful characteristics. It’s light in colour, dense and resilient and is one of Australia’s premium hardwood timbers. Grown in the mountain areas of Tasmania, Victoria and South East NSW.


MERBAU (Other names: Scrub Mahogany, Johnstone River Teak)

A South East Asian rainforest hardwood, Merbau is a durable, dark reddish timber.


- Soft Woods -

Soft Woods are very easy to work with grows faster than the hardwood cousins that are on the market. These wood species are quite a bit cheaper than hardwoods as well.


Affordable and durable, Maple is good for high traffic areas within your home. The timber stains well and can be finished to look like it’s more expensive hardwood cousins.



Inexpensive and lightweight – pine resists shrinking or swelling. It takes paint welland is a good choice for stairs.


- Economical Woods -

There are a number of options on the market, if budget is tight. MDF and Plywood stairs can still be as functional as other wood staircases.


If your stair project needs to be within a certain budget, MDF stairs are a good choice. These can be covered easily with a hard-wearing carpet, painted or floorboards. It’s a medium density fibreboard which has no natural defects.



Whilst a cheaper option for stairs and interiors – the plywood with it’s knotty characteristics can give an industrial clean feel to a space. A manufactured board that is made up from layers of solid timber veneer, plywood is incredibly strong but also light in weight.

Image:  ArchDaily

Image: ArchDaily

For your next staircase project, Email or call Custom Spaces – the Northern Beaches Stairs specialists on 0410 150 756 for an on-site estimate.   To see more of our work visit our Project Gallery