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Outdoor Stair Design For House Improvements

Steve Thompson
February 4, 2022

An outdoor staircase can add charm and utility to your home. But there are many different stairs styles to choose from, so where do you start? First, you should learn about local building regulations and find out what types of building materials match your design. Here's a deeper look at choosing the best outdoor stair design for your home.

Planning Your Outdoor Staircase

To get started on planning your outdoor stair design for house improvements, look at pictures that show the differences between commercial and residential construction. Compare the differences between indoor and outdoor staircases. Consider how the stairs will be used in your home and the number of people using them. More subtle details to consider are the number of turns and the type of staircase that match your outdoor ambiance.

Learn Local Regulations

Every local jurisdiction has its building codes that are periodically updated to account for new building safety and efficiency studies. You'll need to pay attention to fire regulations as well concerning staircases. Some of the metrics you'll need to learn about involve the minimum and maximum dimensions for height and width of stairs. The amount of headroom space and angle of the staircase are additional crucial concerns.

Stairwell Types

Choosing the type of staircase that fits your home is partly a matter of taste, but it might also have to include the parameters of local regulations. You might be limited to a certain number of stairs and taking the most straightforward path in terms of available and affordable materials. While a typical stairway is straight, a more stylized staircase has a quarter or half turns. The most eye-catching stairways tend to spiral.

Matching Your Existing Design

Before you decide on a design for your outdoor staircase, make sure your existing outdoor deck is in good shape. That means fixing any deck leak that threatens to cause water damage. Once you know your deck is in good condition, consider expanding its design with matching material. There are endless design possibilities with wood, metal, glass, brick, or concrete staircases.

Concrete is a popular choice for outdoor stairs because of its robust qualities that withstand environmental elements. The same is true of metal, as both materials contribute to a more modern industrial appearance. Wood has a warmer presentation, while glass has more aesthetic value. If you choose a wood or precast concrete staircase, consider adding a riser to improve safety. A riser is a vertical material that supports the steps.

A stringer is on the side of the staircase, helping define the style. Some stringers are cut to reveal the steps, while others cover up the steps. Stainless steel or aluminum stringers provide a more industrial look, while wood has a more traditional home-style appearance. Wood is usually more affordable and easier to install.

Staircase Enhancement Ideas

Adding lighting to your outdoor staircase is an important safety feature, particularly for the night. Think about how you want to illuminate your staircase and railings with customized colored lights for aesthetic reasons. To make your staircase even safer, consider adding abrasive safety steps to avoid slippery conditions. If you choose a stone and marble staircase, consider adding green plants or flowers to give it an even more natural look.


While wooden staircases never go out of style, there are other valuable and eye-catching alternatives to choose from. It mainly depends on what your existing home exterior looks like and the outdoor imagery you want to convey. Remember that sometimes less is more, even with staircases. Contact us at West Coast Deck Waterproofing for more information on outdoor stair design for house improvements.