All exterior stairs serve a functional purpose, to link multiple levels together while continuing ‘flow’. However the choice of timber and design will turn a functional building element into an aesthetically pleasing feature. And while the construction of stairs is demanding, the investment in time will be returned, with a well-constructed timber staircase typically lasting decades.
Exterior stairs are usually built from treated softwood and durable hardwoods and typically finished with either a wood sealer or stain of choice. Alternatively if a dense hardwood is used it may be left to fade to a silver grey if that is the desired look. No matter what the construction procedure is, this would apply to most general type stairs of either conventional or contemporary construction.
The most common type of stair construction is house treads into stringers. Flights may be constructed with ‘open treads' without risers or ‘closed treads' with riser boards. Open tread stairs are recommended for external use because they give better air circulations allowing exposed timber to dry more quickly, thus improving durability.
Another variation can be boxed stairs which are made up of a treated pine frame which is then cladded in deck boards to give a boxed in appearance. This matches with the same feel of most decks and is usually used with longer step areas where the steps can be doubled as seating as well.