Although an outdoor deck can provide years of enjoyment, there is much more to these seasonal areas than the decking alone. One of the issues that many homeowners will face is how to develop beautiful and yet functional stairs that lead to and from the unit itself. Depending upon the location and the specific design, this can be a bit challenging. For example, what would you do if your deck rests above a rock outcropping and traditional stairs cannot be constructed? Or, perhaps these stairs need to be angled to accommodate a hard-to-reach location. There are even times when due to a lack of peripheral space, stairs must be built directly into the middle of the deck floorboards. These are a few of the issues that you could potentially encounter. So, it is clear that traditional construction methods may not always be suited. Let's take a look at some innovative approaches that will enable you to enjoy the deck (and stairs) of your dreams.
A Look at the Decking
One of the first areas to address concerns the materials that will be used for the decking itself. While this may not be a problem if the deck and stairs will be built at the same time, a newer staircase may not blend in with the existing wood. Obviously, decking can come in a variety of materials. From hardwoods to cedar and even modern composite substances, it is important that the stairs will merge with the appearance of the deck. So, it may be wise to match the shade of the decking as closely as possible with the stairs. If this still does not work, an exterior stain will accommodate nearly every wood shade imaginable. The end result will be a staircase that is seamlessly integrated into the deck.
Now that we have addressed the importance of matching the stairs with the decking, we must appreciate that there are numerous designs to choose from. Of course, the style will depend upon the location of the deck. While a traditional straight-stair option is common, some other variants that will certainly leave a lasting impression are:
- Straight stairs with an intermediate landing
- Half-landing stairs
- Arched stairs
- Single-winder stairs
- Spiral stairs
It is important to match the ultimate design with the appearance of the decking; otherwise a noticeable contrast may occur. Half-landing stairs may be ideal for a square deck while a semicircular unit could best be complimented with the flowing lines that a spiral stairway will provide.
The Aesthetic Appeal
While much of your focus will be upon the deck as an outdoor living area, recall that the stairway will help to flavour this entire location. So, it is wise to incorporate aesthetics into the stairs. For most designers, this is possible by modifying the handrails or painting the outside stringers. Of course, there are countless handrail designs to choose from. These options can range from Victorian to contemporary. While they should fit the overall motif of the deck, there is nothing wrong with a lot of contrast; this can serve to "break up" the overall appearance.
Recall the Types of Wood
Finally, much of the appeal of your stairs (and their longevity) will centre on the type of wood that you will use. Some of the most common materials include (but are not limited to):
- Jarrah (including recycled)
- Composite Decking Timber
Alongside these traditional materials are the numerous types of mock lumber. These will offer a durability and longevity that regular woods do not possess. Of course, the ultimate decision will incorporate both the functional use of the stairwell as well as the environment where it will be located.
These are some of the best ways to embrace a bit of creativity when designing or replacing a set of deck stairs. Innovation can lead to an enhancement of the entire home and with a bit of insight, some stunningly unique designs are well within your grasp!
WA Timber Decking is a Perth based Timber Decking specialist who supply decking timber and decking supplies for the handyman, DIYer and builder. WA Timber Decking can assist with timber deck designs, installations and maintenance.