from the Portland Stair Company by Shane Kenney
5 Ways to Tell if Your Stairs Need Updating
Fashion trends change with season. Home interior trends change about every decade. This doesn’t mean that your home will need a new set of stairs every ten years. In this new economy, I have assisted many clients find cost-effective ways to improve/update/change the look of their stairs. This list was compiled from actual client experience. Enjoy…
Here are some tell-tale signs of stairs needing a bit of upgrading:
- Your staircase has a carpet-wrapped edge on each step. This makes a great cat scratching post, but really dates your staircase! One cost-effective option for this is tearing out that carpet and replacing it with beautifully stained wood end-caps with a new stair runner/carpet; this gives your staircase instant style.
Carpet wrapped stairs on the left and Wood end-caps on the right.
- Your balusters and newel posts are generic and blah. The old ball top posts are a great design for ages 8 to 15 to swing off of, but also are very dated. If you have young ones, you can stop the use of your staircase being used as a jungle gym quite easily with this simple handling:
A quick way to modernize this scene is to replace the balusters with simple (yet elegant) wrought iron. The newel post can also easily be replaced. All of this can be accomplished without having to tear apart the stairs, thus making it much easier on the bank book, plus it can be accomplished quite quickly.
Top: wooden balusters. Bottom: rubbed iron balusters
- Your stairs sag, squeak and creak. This is good for the parent with teens ages 16 to 18 at 1:00 a.m. either coming or going; however, it can be rather annoying any other time of the day. The remedy entails something a tad more invasive than mere cosmetic changes to your staircase. It could require a tread replacement/repair. It could just need a little reinforcing too, so be sure and ask a real stair guy!
- The finish or stain on your handrail and/or balusters are worn, dirty or chipped. When that “lived in” look becomes “run down”, you know you’ve got to take action! If this is the scene in your home, I recommend the handling in #2, but if you love the balusters and handrail, then what you need is a REALLY good painter/finisher. Please do not try to refinish the wood on your own. It always looks unprofessional. Your stairs are the focal point of your home, as well as a major selling point. Call a stair guy for a solid referral.
- Your staircase looks out of place with your more (ahem…) modern interior furnishings.Your stairs were probably constructed from basic stock materials and not intended to stand the test of time. Unfortunately, experience has taught me that they also don’t stand the test of quality either. The plus point here is you now have a solid justification to buy new furnishings now that you have upgraded your stairs. Reinforcing the stair system and doing a few cosmetic changes will breathe new life into dull stairs. Most stair system upgrades can be done in 1 or 2 days and cost a fraction of the cost that a new stair system would.