Currently, one of the most common stair remodeling endeavors is installing replacement stair treads manufactured out of a wood species that matches the new hardwood flooring that was just installed during the remodeling project. In many instances, particularly in older and historic preservation homes, the wood stair will require custom stair treads to be manufactured to the architect’s or contractor’s specifications as far as thickness, width, length, radius (if curved) and return molding on the left, right, or both sides for any exposed edges. Pie shaped or triangle treads are used for winder stairs. Custom stairs for new construction always have custom specs by definition. Pre finished stair treads, just like all millwork products have become extremely popular in recent years. Any reputable stair parts manufacturer with pre finishing capabilities will be able match the clear coat finish on your floor if provided with a sample, or simply instructed what clear finish product to use when finishing any wood product.
Some stair systems are entirely wood, and typically involve replacing all the stair parts including the hardwood railing, turned newel posts or box newel posts, balusters and treads. Other stairways have an existing iron railing or half wall and only require the custom stair treads and sometimes risers to be replaced to complement the new wood theme which started with the flooring choice. Even when the wood floors are not replaced and just refinished, it is very common to replace the stair treads and other stair components. The simple fact is, resurfacing wood treads, handrails, and especially balusters, requires a great deal more hard tedious work than sanding down a hardwood floor. Be it a home owner or business owner, most people want to make an impressive visual statement in terms of the entrance area of their home or commercial property, When a guest or customer walks in. Your beautiful staircase if often the first impression made on that person, at least for most residential stairs. Staircases just have a way of affecting us like that. Why is a staircase impressive? Because it’s impressive!
A fine hardwood stair, when built or remodeled correctly with quality materials is basically built in furniture that will last for generations. For better or worse, red oak makes the world go around. After all these years of red oak use (or over-use) 80% of hardwood sales for most interior wood products remain red oak. It has been and probably always will be the best hardwood for the money in North America. Hard maple and hickory follow as second and third. Sales of white oak and quarter sawn white oak custom stair treads have increased a great deal over the last 5 years as well. However, the overwhelming trend, even in smaller homes, is toward exotic stair tread species such as tiger wood, Brazilian cherry, African mahogany, and Santos mahogany which provide rich, deep natural color as well as less grain.