Cost of Stairs: 2023 Guide

October 19, 2023

Key takeaways:


  • A well-designed staircase can cost anywhere between $900 and $6,000.
  • Timber, metal, concrete, marble, and glass are popular staircase materials, each with its own price range and aesthetic appeal.
  • It’s essential to balance aesthetics, functionality, and budget when planning a staircase project.

The cost of stairs in Australia can range anywhere from $900 to $6,000.

Building or revamping a staircase is not just about selecting the right design or material. It encompasses a myriad of decisions, collaborations with professionals, and a keen eye on cost of stairs.

Before taking action, it’s wise to consult with staircase specialists.

In this guide, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of the essential components involved in staircase construction and renovation, aiming to equip you with a thorough understanding of costs, materials, and design considerations in the Australian context.

Suggested reading: Complement your reading with our expert breakdown on the cost of renovating a house for an all-encompassing insight.

Staircase Designs and Their Costs

Different staircase designs come with varying price tags. Here’s a breakdown:

Straight Staircases: The most traditional design, straight staircases are linear and have no turns or landings. They’re versatile, fitting well in most home designs.

  • Cost: $900 to $3,600.
  • Benefits: Easy to construct, navigate, and often more affordable.
  • Considerations: They can consume more linear space.

L-Shaped Staircases: Also known as quarter-turn staircases, they have a 90-degree turn, which can be at the top, bottom, or in between. This design can add visual interest to a space.

  • Cost: $2,500 to $5,000.
  • Benefits: Can act as a visual barrier between floors and provide a small amount of privacy.
  • Considerations: The turn can be a bit more challenging to navigate, especially for those with mobility issues.

U-Shaped Staircases: Also known as half-turn staircases, they feature a 180-degree turn, essentially consisting of two parallel flights of stairs connected by a landing.

  • Cost: $3,000 to $5,300.
  • Benefits: Can be more compact, fitting well in tighter spaces.
  • Considerations: The double turn might require more careful navigation.

Floating Staircases: A sleek and modern design, these staircases appear as if the steps are floating, adding a touch of sophistication.

  • Cost: $4,300 to $7,500.
  • Benefits: They can make a space feel open and airy, and are often seen as a design statement.
  • Considerations: Might not be the best choice for homes with small children or elderly residents due to potential safety concerns.

Spiral Staircases: These circular designs are both functional and decorative, often used when space is at a premium.

  • Cost: $3,300 to $5,000.
  • Benefits: Compact and can be a focal point in a room.
  • Considerations: Can be challenging to navigate, especially with larger items.

Factors Influencing Staircase Costs

factors influencing cost of stairs

Every staircase tells a different story, and its cost is shaped by several intertwined elements. The design you opt for is a primary influencer. For instance, a straight staircase might be easier on the pocket compared to its spiral or floating counterparts. But design is just the tip of the iceberg.

Design Complexity: The design you choose can greatly impact the cost. A straightforward design like a straight staircase is typically more affordable than intricate designs like spiral or floating staircases.

Size & Scale: It’s not just about height. The overall grandeur, width, and depth of your staircase can significantly influence the price. Naturally, a multi-level, expansive staircase will be pricier than a compact one.

Location & Purpose: Where the staircase is placed and its primary use can also influence cost. For instance, incorporating a staircase in areas of the home you’re considering how to renovate for profit can yield better returns.

Labour Intensity: The cost of labour is shaped by the intricacy of the design, the craftsmanship needed, and the expertise of the professionals you hire. More complex designs often mean more hands on deck and longer hours.

Material Choices: Your choice of material can significantly sway the cost. Whether you opt for classic timber, sleek metal, or elegant glass, each comes with its own aesthetic appeal and price poin

Diving Deeper into Material Costs

The heart and soul of your staircase lie in the materials you choose. They define not just the look but also the longevity and durability of the structure. We breakdown the following materials below:

  • Timber
  • Metals (steel and aluminium)
  • Glass
  • Stone and concrete

Timber, for instance, has been a favourite in many Australian homes. It exudes warmth and offers a range of options from budget-friendly pine to the more premium oak or mahogany. Hardwoods like oak, mahogany, or walnut are durable but come at a higher price point. Softwoods like pine can be more affordable but might wear out faster.

But while timber offers a classic charm, metals like steel or aluminium bring in a contemporary, sleek vibe, especially when paired with glass. They’re durable and require minimal maintenance, but custom designs can increase costs.

Speaking of glass, if you’re looking for a touch of modern elegance, glass staircases can be your go-to. Often used for balustrades or treads in modern designs, glass adds a touch of elegance. While it offers a clean, airy feel, it can be on the pricier side and requires regular cleaning to maintain its clarity.

They’re not just about the looks; they can make spaces appear larger and more open. However, precision in installation means they might be a tad heavier on the pocket.

Stone or concrete are deal for outdoor staircases or homes aiming for a rustic or industrial look. While durable, they can be expensive due to the craftsmanship required and the weight of the materials.

And then there’s the option of blending materials. Imagine timber steps paired with glass railings, offering a mix of warmth and contemporary design.

“Such combinations allow for flexibility in budgeting, ensuring you don’t compromise on aesthetics while keeping an eye on the costs.”

Design Aesthetics and Their Impact on Cost

design's impact on cost of stairs

The design of your staircase is more than just a visual treat; it’s a reflection of your personal style and the functionality you seek. But remember, the more intricate the design, the higher the potential cost.

  • Straight vs. Spiral: A straight staircase is often the go-to for many homeowners due to its simplicity and functionality. It’s generally more affordable than a spiral design, which, while space-saving and visually striking, requires more craftsmanship and precision.
  • Floating Stairs: These have gained popularity in modern homes for their minimalist appeal. Supported by a hidden structure or side-mounted rods, they give an illusion of ‘floating’. However, the engineering behind this magic can add to the cost.
  • Landings & Turns: Introducing landings or turns can increase the complexity of the build. While they can break a long flight of stairs and add interest, they also require additional support structures.

Installation & Labour Costs

When considering the cost of a staircase, it’s not just about materials and design. The expertise of the professionals you hire and the intricacies of the installation process play a pivotal role.

Craftsmanship: A staircase’s quality and safety largely depend on the craftspeople behind it. Skilled carpenters or metalworkers ensure longevity and safety.

Cost Implication: While expertise comes at a premium, investing in skilled professionals can save on future repair or replacement costs.

Duration: The complexity of the design directly impacts the installation time. For instance, a spiral or floating staircase might take longer to set up than a straight one.

Cost Implication: Longer installation times can lead to higher labour costs. It’s essential to get an estimated timeline to budget accordingly.

Permissions & Regulations: In Australia, specific building regulations and permissions might be necessary, especially for exterior staircases.

Cost Implication: Ensuring compliance can add to the overall cost, from obtaining the right permits to potential design adjustments. It’s wise to research local regulations or consult with professionals to avoid unexpected expenses.

Finding the Right Labour in Australia:

In Australia, finding skilled tradespeople for your staircase project is crucial to ensure quality and compliance with local regulations.

Recommendations: Word of mouth remains one of the most reliable methods. Ask friends, family, or neighbours about their experiences and if they’d recommend the professionals they worked with.

Online Platforms: Websites like Airtasker, and Oneflare connect homeowners with local tradespeople. These platforms often include reviews and ratings, helping you make an informed decision.

Trade Associations: Organizations such as the Master Builders Association (MBA) or the Housing Industry Association (HIA) have directories of certified professionals in various trades.

Quotes and Consultations: Before finalising your choice, it’s advisable to get multiple quotes and have face-to-face consultations. This not only helps in understanding the cost but also in gauging the expertise and approach of the professional.

Remember, while cost is a factor, the expertise and reliability of the tradesperson can significantly impact the outcome and longevity of your staircase project.

The Hidden Costs: Maintenance and Longevity

hidden cost of stairs

Every staircase, regardless of its design or the materials used, requires regular maintenance to ensure its longevity and safety.

  • Regular Checks: Periodic inspections can help identify wear and tear, especially in high-traffic areas. This can prevent costly repairs down the line.
  • Refinishing & Repairs: Wooden staircases might need refinishing over the years to address scratches or wear. Similarly, metal staircases might require rust treatment or repainting.
  • Replacement Parts: Balustrades, handrails, or treads might need replacement after years of use. While individual parts might not be overly expensive, their cumulative cost, especially for custom designs, can add up.

In the end, a staircase is more than just a functional element in your home. It’s a statement piece, a blend of design and utility. By understanding the various cost factors involved, you can make informed decisions that align with your budget and design aspirations.

Whether you’re leaning towards a grand spiral staircase or a simple straight design, every choice you make adds a step to your home’s unique story.

Looking to renovate other rooms in the home? Check out our home office ideas to inspire your remote workplace.

FAQ Section on Cost of Stairs

How much do stairs cost Sydney?

The cost of stairs in Sydney can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the type of stairs, the materials used, the complexity of the design, and the size of the staircase.

However, as a general guide, you can expect to pay between $3,000 and $5,000 for a basic staircase. If you are looking for a more customized or high-end staircase, the price can go up to $10,000 or more.

What is the cheapest staircase?

The cheapest staircase is typically a straight flight of stairs made from basic materials, such as pine or concrete. You can reduce the cost of your staircase by choosing a simple design and using less expensive materials.

However, it is important to note that you should not sacrifice safety for cost. Stairs need to be built to Australian building standards, and it is important to hire a qualified contractor to install them.

What are the Australian building standards for stairs?

The Australian building standards for stairs are set out in the National Construction Code (NCC). The NCC specifies the minimum requirements for stairs, such as the size of the stairs, the rise and run of the steps, and the type of handrail required.

You can find more information about the NCC on the website of the Australian Building Codes Board

How do you calculate stairs in Australia?

To calculate stairs in Australia, you will need to know the following:

  • The height between the two floors that the stairs will connect
  • The desired rise and run of the steps
  • The desired width of the staircase

Once you have this information, you can use the following formula to calculate the number of steps required:

Number of steps = Height / Rise

For example, if the height between the two floors is 3 meters and you want a rise of 150mm per step, then you will need 20 steps.

What size are stairs in Australia?

The size of stairs in Australia is governed by the NCC. The NCC specifies the minimum size of stairs, such as the width of the staircase, the rise and run of the steps, and the size of the landing. You can find more information about the NCC on the website of the Australian Building Codes Board.

Here are some additional tips for saving money on stairs:

  • Choose a simple design. The more complex the design, the more expensive it will be to build.
  • Use less expensive materials. Pine and concrete are two of the most affordable materials for stairs.
  • Shop around for contractors. Get quotes from several different contractors before making a decision.
  • Consider DIYing the project. If you are handy, you may be able to save money by building the stairs yourself. However, be sure to do your research and follow the NCC guidelines.

Soho takes the hassle out of finding your next home. Whether renting, buying or investing, set up your match profile and we'll send you live property matches as they come on the market. Download the Soho app and never miss an agent's message, inspection or new listing. Agents list for free.
Share this article
Want the latest real estate news in your inbox?

Set up your match profile for updates on the best property tips and tools


Soho logo

Our AI match engine will match you with over 150,000+ properties and you can swipe away or shortlist easily. Making your home buying journey faster and easier 

Soho logo
Our AI match engine will match you with over 150,000+ properties and you can swipe away or shortlist easily. Making your home buying journey faster and easier.