Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Home Style || Renovating Your Staircase?

Renovating your staircase? This is what you need to bear in mind.

Ask anyone at Balustrade Components what part of the build makes a home distinct and different and they will say the staircase. It's often a piece of art in the centre of the house, office or shopping complex. It's a functional structure getting people from one floor to another, but it is also a chance to sculpt something delightful and make a real feature in the home.

Renovating the staircase doesn’t have to cost you a fortune – it just takes a little knowledge and some creativity and imagination. Here we guide you through the process of bringing your current staircase back to life. How do you make sure your staircase is the talking point you always hoped it would be?

Plan and budget first

With any renovation, whether it is a house or a single feature like a staircase, it is important to plan the change you want and the budget for these changes. This will mean measuring - a lot – and with accuracy! It also means sticking to some important principles of successful, legal stair renovation such as spindles being just less than a metre apart.

Sketch out what you want to achieve and learn words like risers and spindles, newel posts and base rails. For each change you want to make, work out the cost for making this happen. Then, organise the order of jobs, so that your staircase remains functional and accessible whilst you are renovating. 
Start with the steps and the risers

The steps and the risers are the main functionary area of the staircase – the bit your foot falls on and the bit that holds this step up. It is the only part of a staircase that is essential. You should start by removing the old carpet and any screws that will cause a hazard going forward. Measure the steps and risers and replace those that need replacing first. A great tip is to install the riser for step one and step two first – before dealing with the step. Another tip – add your personal touch to the steps and risers in the moulding you use to cover gaps.

Finally, don’t presume you need to replace wood with wood – think about other materials and other colours that can add your hint of style.

Work on the landing

An area where you can add some noticeable creativity is the landing, with the winding steps that connect the downstairs to the upstairs. Start at the front of the landing and work up and backwards. Remember that the key here is to use the skirting boards and the mouldings to realise your cohesive design.

Replace the newel posts

Working on the steps, risers and skirting boards first is like working on the foundations of the house. This will take time, it won’t be too inspiring, but it ensures the fundamental structure of the staircase is in place. The newel posts are the part where you start to add the weight bearing walls to your structure – if we continue the analogy of the house. The newel posts are the vertical supports for the handrail – and this is where you can start to be decorative. To replace the newel posts means removing the entire structure of the support – from base rail, to spindles, to handrail. Remember that the minimum height for your handrail must be 900mm – this is the legal minimum height - so it is a good idea to measure this out and mark this point with a pitch line that runs from the bottom of the stairs to the top.

Deal with the hand and base rails

The essential detail for the hand and base rails is accurate measurement of the angle of your stairs and that they match the thickness of the newel posts. Here the accuracy of work is more important than anywhere else for the safety and the final look of the staircase. There are few ways to hide gaps here.

Add the distinctive extras

And then there are the finishing touches. The structure of your staircase is in place – and now you have freedom to add the decoration. The key to making sure these decorative choices are shown to their full potential is lighting. Most people work on the theme of the structure and adding twirls and twiddles here and there. However, the truth is that the lines and shapes of your staircase are going to be best accentuated with light – whether it is natural light – or whether it is the fitting of bulbs at tread height, as an example.

Are you planing a staircase makeover in your home?

*Collaborative post