If you're having a new home built, you may be surprised at the many options you have when it comes to staircase materials and styles, including glass balusters, metal and even personalized designs that are custom made for your home. To make the process of selecting the right staircase style and materials easier on you, consider a few important details you don't want to overlook when making your decision.
Children and pets
If you're considering a staircase with any type of spindles for the balusters, there are typically local building and safety codes that dictate the space allowed between those bars or slats, so that children and pets don't get their heads stuck between them. However, smaller dogs and cats might still get stuck between those slats, even if you follow legal guidelines.
Also, you might want to consider if your children would see a staircase with spindles as a place to play; would they be tempted to wrap their hands around those bars, leaving grubby fingerprints? Would they toss toys through spindles to the floor below? A solid panel can be a better option if your kids are very active, but note that glass can also show fingerprints and nose prints from children and pets. Try wood or metal for something that won't need consistent cleaning.
Thick wood steps, along with wood balusters and an oversized wood railing, can look very upscale and a bit grand, and you may want this style for a staircase by the home's entryway in particular. However, note if these materials together might seem too dark and heavy. You might choose a thick railing but thinner spindles for balusters, or break up the look of all that wood with glass panels or metal rather than wood balusters.
A unique staircase can provide lots of style for your home, but be careful of something that might be difficult to clean, repair, and replace. A detailed carving into a wood panel baluster can be very eye-catching, but consider if it could be cleaned easily, and especially if the staircase is located close to the kitchen, as the carving will then catch grease, food debris, and dust. If you choose a very expensive wood species for your staircase, don't overlook the cost of replacing any step or the balusters if they should ever get damaged, and if the wood would need consistent sanding and resealing over the years.