Here at Pear Stairs, we often get asked questions about our External Staircases. To help you explore your options, we decided to create a blog including 5 things you should know about external staircases.

1. Choosing Materials For An Outdoor Staircase

Overall, wood is the more favourable material when designing an external staircase. Treated timber is an ideal choice, due to its strong and long-lasting features. If the location of your staircase involves ground contact, treated timber is a particularly educated choice because of its resistance to rotting within external environments.

Steel staircases are known to be the more durable option, they are trendy choice among builders, architects and designers and are often used within residential builds or commercial areas. This in hand provides a heavy-duty, strong and substantial structure.

2. How Much Does It Cost To Build An Outdoor Staircase?

There are a variety of designs and styles of outdoor staircases you can purchase when exploring options to build.

Typically, a wooden external staircase would cost anywhere between £1000-£3000.

This rises to £2000-£4000 for a steel external staircase, depending on your liking.

Some factors that need to be identified when exploring costing of outdoor staircases include:

  • Quality of materials used
  • Size of staircase
  • Shape of staircase

When building an outdoor staircase, there will have to be some consideration for installation costs. With an external staircase typically being a fairly robust installation, prices for this can range from £200-£300 daily. You can expect a standard outdoor staircase to be built in around two days.

3. Preparing A Staircase For The Outside

If you are opting for a wooden external staircase, square spindles and newels are the best option as this again minimises spaces where water may collect, providing a strong finish.

Outdoor staircases are exposed to a colossal amount of extreme weather such as wind, rain and snow. Measures should be taken to protect your outdoor staircase design against the environment.

Steel designs are particularly volatile to de-icing salts, which can cause steel to corrode when dissolved in water.

To ensure your staircase lasts, external staircases should be properly treated. A wide selection of attractive staircase parts in the Pear Stairs store may be treated in a manner similar to this design which has been vac-vac treated.

This particular staircase was manufactured from redwood, providing a deep and attractive colour without being as expensive as hardwood options. The spindles and newels are square, and they have been topped off with pyramid newel caps, a smart choice as these allow water to drain off the newel.

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4. Designing An External Staircase 

When designing your staircase, it should be kept simple and robust. Durability is the priority, though an attractive design can also be achieved with the staircase design options available from Pear Stairs. Overcomplicated designs, such as with winders, have too many spaces where rain and/or snowfall may cause damage. If a closed riser is opted-for, this will need an adequate drainage system to avoid the accumulation of water within the tread or landing area. Joints must be vigorous enough to withstand exposure to the elements, in order to not separate.

Open risers, as used in this design, are always advisable as this minimises how much the staircase will be affected by the weather. A staircase with solid risers may act like a sail and catch the wind, leading to strain and a shorter lifespan. On the other hand, open risers will allow the wind to pass through the structure. Open risers also allow water to drain either way off the treads, avoiding water build-up and rot.

5. Save On Space And Money With A Durable Wooden External Staircase

For many outbuildings, an outdoor staircase is an attractive space-saving option. Without the need to accommodate a staircase within the confines of the walls, the utility of space can be maximised.

Wooden staircases are a popular option for buildings that require additional first-floor access and especially spaces above first-floor rooms from a garden or detached garages, such as with this property in Surrey.


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For more on the Pear Stairs design options, see what you can create with the online Staircreator or visit the online stair parts store. The helpful Pear Stairs design team may also be contacted on 01938 553311 to help you answer anymore questions you have on external staircases.