Kids in the House? Choose the Right Wood for Your Balustrade

A balustrade is an important part of your staircase, giving people something to hang onto when they travel up or down the stairs to stop falls and preventing anyone from tumbling over the side of the steps. Balustrades are especially essential if you have children in the house, as they don't always pay attention to what they're doing.

If you do have a family with children and you're getting a new wooden balustrade, you should give some thought to the particular wood it's made from. With each wood having its own features and suitability to different tasks, some may suit being around children better than others.


Pine is a softwood, but that doesn't mean it's particularly weak. It will stand up to use like the hardwoods overall, but it is more likely to get scratched or dented. That can be a problem with kids around, particularly if they realise they can make their mark on the wooden surface.

It's also light in colour, so drawing or writing with marker pens might be a problem. However, it can easily be stained darker shades, which should deter this sort of behaviour. Pine is also quite inexpensive, so if the worst does happen and it's permanently damaged, replacement won't be as costly as some woods.


Well known for its strength and durability, oak is a great choice for households with children. It won't easily dent like a softwood, and its prominent grain is not only beautiful but also disguises any marks or stains that do occur.


A dark hardwood that's one of the best for hiding any unwanted marks if you think that's a risk in your home. Mahogany can be a bit pricey, though, so be prepared to be stuck with it if it does get damaged in any way.


Cherry is often used in various furnishings because it shapes well. It has a nice colour and a distinctive straight grain, but it doesn't come cheap, so think carefully before you invest. Cherry it notable for its ability to polish up to a beautiful shiny finish, but be careful doing this with kids around: it's an invite for sliding down the stairs.


This wood has a lot of variation in the grain that, like oak, can disguise marks quite well. It's strong and can put up with some abuse, so it makes a decent choice to keep your home looking nice when children are on the rampage.