Gaining attention as focal points, staircases “should be something that looks like part of the architecture, not just an afterthought,” says Jimi Colvin, marketing services manager for U.K.-based Leeper's Stair Parts. Leeper's introduced the Fusion Balustrade system to the U.S. in one of several recent product announcements from the stair parts industry. Combining wood handrails with metal balusters and connectors, Fusion comes ready to assemble. Colvin says the design works well in small or urban homes where “stairways should take up minimal visual space.”

Combining wood handrails with metal balusters and connectors, Fusion comes ready to assemble.
Combining wood handrails with metal balusters and connectors, Fusion comes ready to assemble.

At the other end of the spectrum, Len Morris, president of Stair Supplies, says more homeowners are adding detail and removing carpeting from their staircases. Stair Supplies offers the remodeling-friendly Replacement Tread to address these trends. Available unfinished in several domestic and exotic species, the tread's nose is 1 inch thick, but the body is just ½ inch thick, letting it slide in over existing construction stairs, or stairs built to accommodate carpet.

Recognizing interest in matching stair treads to wood flooring, Stairtek now offers pre-finished (yes, pre-finished) treads in 18 species and 800 colors. “We're fortunate to have a strong relationship with the wood flooring world, and have been able to design our colors around all major wood flooring manufacturers,” says partner Jay Schumacher. Remodelers can give Stairtek the brand, species, and color of the home's flooring, and the company can provide stair treads to match. Custom matching eliminates the trial and error of staining unfinished treads, and a 25-year wear warranty further boosts their value.

Stairtek now offers pre-finished treads in 18 species and 800 colors.
Stairtek now offers pre-finished treads in 18 species and 800 colors.

Addressing upscale homeowners looking for more detail, Kerfkore Co. now offers stair risers designed for radius installations. Available in paint grade or many domestic and exotic veneers, the risers feature slits on the unexposed side, allowing the material to be wrapped around curved bottom steps. The look is truly a first “step” to a great first impression.