At Ackworth House, we specialise in functional yet beautifying timber balustrades. Our balustrades will elevate the appearance of your home or business staircase, while providing a secure handrail to prevent falls. Balustrades come in a wide variety of styles and materials that offer you a unique design opportunity. From industrial paned glass, sleek wrought iron posts and lattices, and “floating” features, when it comes to balustrades you are spoiled for choice. However, if you are looking for a classic style that is low maintenance then timber is worth your consideration. Timber is a favoured material among architects and interior designers for both its versatility, timelessness and warm depth of tone. Timber balustrades can be designed in traditional through to contemporary edgy styles and works extremely well with other fixtures within a property. Is timber right for you? Let’s explore the pluses and minuses of a wooden balustrade.
The Advantages of Wood
Wood is a deeply familiar material. In fact, wood is proven to produce a calming effect, providing our spaces with a forest-like atmosphere. While more studies on the physiological effect of wood on humans is needed, there’s no denying wood’s great beauty.
Many people favour wood because it is a natural material. The idea of including as many natural materials in our homes as possible is attractive, especially when the material can be sourced from the local area.
Range of Colours
Furthermore, wood comes in many colours and grains unique to the natural world. If your staircase is near a window or source of light, then the sunlight will draw your attention to these textures and tones. Light, colour and textural effects can be achieved through your choice of wood. Rosewood comes in a deep red tinted hue with striking grains and ring patterns, while ash, beech and maple come in varying shades of blonde and creamy brown. When choosing your type of wood, it is important to consider the other materials at work in the space to be in keeping with the style.
Different types of wood also perform differently. For example, maple is a creamy-white hardwood that is durable and affordable, however, if it is not sealed correctly its appearance can suffer. Pine is inexpensive and comes with attractive knots, lending itself well to rustic farmhouse-styles. Meanwhile, is a handsome hardwood that is resistant to warping. Your style preference and design needs should guide your choice of wood.
Some woods can be left natural, while stains, paint and varnish can be used to add character. White paint and dark timber creates a traditional theme, while a raw finish has a more rustic appeal. Some types of wood require a sealant, which may encourage you to go ahead with a stain or coat of paint. Far from being just a traditional material, a slick coat of black paint can produce a contemporary effect, while a bright colour can be used to show off your personality.
Lastly, wood is a strong yet highly malleable material. Through the process of woodworking, different types of wood can be fashioned into stunning balustrades that exactly match your specifications. The final result is an attractive yet functional woodworking feature in your home or property.
The Disadvantages of Wood
Being a natural material, wood is vulnerable to decay. Wood rot is a natural process, vital for turning fallen trees and branches into soil. However, this process is not ideal for your home. Thankfully, wood rot occurs slowly over time, and mainly occurs in areas affected by moisture, such as around windows, exterior doors, decks and basements. Typically, these features require restoration every couple of years, but a good quality varnish or paint will make your wood last longer.
As for wooden balustrades, when located in an interior space and protected with varnish or paint you can expect them to last. Patches of damage may occur overtime, and spindles may weaken, but these can be replaced.
No part of our home is completely invulnerable to pests, but wood is particularly susceptible to woodworm, also known as the Common Furniture Beetle. All this pest needs to get into your home is an open window, and then it lays its eggs in the wood grain. It is the larvae that causes damage to your wooden features, leaving tell-tale pin-prick holes. However, just like rot, woodworm prefers moist conditions. The first thing you should do is call a pest controller to remove the problem, and then resolve the source of the damp. Prevention is key, according to property preservation specialist Peter Cox. It’s never too early to check your building for moisture.
As with any material, there is some maintenance involved with wood, whether that’s a fresh coat of varnish, stain or paint every once and in a while, as well as regular cleaning with a wood-friendly cleaning product. While in general the maintenance of your wood balustrades should be minimal, the process of painting and varnishing can be time consuming, and the drying process is length, too. However, the stunning results are more than worth it and, unlike glass, more rustic pieces of wood are unlikely to show fingerprints.
This can be a plus or a minus. Wood is a natural, traditional material, but it may be too simple for your taste. While wooden balustrades can be beautifully designed, for major wow factor you may have to incorporate another material. Wood can create stunning contrasts against more industrial features such as steel handrails, glass feature walls and floating stairs. Wood may not be the material for you, but its architectural value is hard to beat.
Ready to elevate your staircase style? Come talk to the friendly team at Ackworth House. We would be delighted to help you create your balustrades. We draw upon our expert industry knowledge and years of experience to design and implement durable, functional and beautifying features for your staircase. Our all-in-one service ensures that everything is perfect down to the finishing touches. From consultation to proposal, engineering to design, project management to manufacture, installation and aftercare, we take care of the entire project.
Get in touch with the team to get started.