These days, more and more homeowners are looking for traditional stairs that give their home a warm and welcoming feel as opposed to the cold and clinical feel that more modern designs invoke. Timber is often the material of choice for more traditional styles thanks to the fact that it is extremely durable and has a timeless quality that other materials lack. When choosing the tread for your stairs, however, it is important that you take a number of factors into account to ensure that your decision is appropriate.
The tread actually refers to the part of the step upon which you actually walk and it generally matches the overall appearance of the traditional stairs. It will, for example, be made using the same timber as the handrails, balusters and other components of the flight. But what factors should you be keeping in mind when it comes time to choose your treads?
- Choose a timber that will be appropriate for the amount of traffic in your home
Your stair treads can be produced using almost any type of timber; you should keep in mind, however, that some are sturdier and will wear better than others. Trees are divided into either hard or soft woods, but it is important to remember that there are still a number of classifications within these categories; one softwood, for example, could be significantly harder than another.
The challenge, then, lies in choosing a timber with the right degree of hardness or softness. Treads can be manufactured from either type of wood, and each will possess a long list of pros and cons that you must weigh up first. Hardwoods, on one hand, are sturdier but can be hard to work with. Softwoods, on the other hand, are easier to install but will suffer damage much faster.
- Know and understand the building codes and regulations associated with stairs
Even if you aren’t building your traditional stairs yourself, it can be handy to have an understanding of your local building code, which will dictate almost every part of the construction. It will cover the depth of the step and its nose (which is the part that extends slightly over the riser) and offer a ‘best practice’ that all builders should follow when erecting stairs in a residential location.
There are three reasons why you need to strictly follow your local code – firstly, you are actually required to by law; secondly, it will help to ensure the safety of all people using the stairs; and, thirdly, it ensures uniformity in building practices across the area. Without a code, it is likely that stairs will be built without any thought to these factors, which could result in injury and other accidents.
When choosing the treads for your traditional staircase design, it is important that you take both of the above factors into account. Not only will this ensure that your treads are perfectly safe for your children and even your grandparents to navigate, it will ensure that they comply with local building codes and that you don’t run into any difficulties with the council. The last thing that you want to deal with after paying all this money for the stairs to be built is a legal issue because they are deemed illegal or an accident has occurred.