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Staircases are an integral part of any multi-story home. Not only do they allow easy access from one floor to another, they are also often an integral part of the home’s design. A great example of architecture based around staircases is the way colonial homes are built, with the staircase being the central element of the home. In fact, homes that have a hardwood floor as an integral and visual part of the design are valued higher than those that have hidden staircases. Irrespective of the design, staircases, like all other parts of a home, suffer from the ravages of time and utilization. So don’t forget to give them some TLC during your next home improvement project. Here are five essential DIY tips for staircase renovation for your perusal.

1. Get Fancy Balustrades

glass balustrade

Consider fancy balustrades for your stairs, especially if they’ve been around for a while.

Glass balustrades have become a popular choice, considering they give the stairs a modern, contemporary feel. At an average cost of between $140 to $270 per linear foot, they are valued for money if you’re looking at aesthetics.

Of course, if you want to maintain the classic look, you’ll be looking for wooden railings. These are a lot more affordable, costing just $40 – $50 per linear foot.

Other popular stairs railing materials include vinyl ($20 – $40 per linear foot), wrought iron ($50 – $120 per linear foot), and stainless steel ($30  – $50 per linear foot).

While you’re at it, you might as well change your newel posts as well. Depending on the wood, the design, and the size, expect to spend between $45 to upwards of $500 per post.

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2. New Treads and Risers

Hardwood treads

Breathe new life into your wood stairs by getting news treads and risers. 

Hardwood treads and risers aren’t particularly easy on the pocket. Expect to spend a minimum of around $40 per wooden tread, and as much as $50 for each riser.

Of course, you could use recycled wood as a more affordable alternative for the treads. 

Another option that is gaining popularity is to cover your existing stair treads and risers with engineered oak. This practice is known as stair cladding.

If the risers do not really need to be replaced, you could look at cosmetically beautifying them using colored vinyl, or even vinyl alphabets spelling out a sweet message.

3. Change the Wood Stain

wood stain stairs
Photo by Bill Wilson on flickr [CC BY 2.0]

Bored of seeing the same shade on your stairs? Worry no more. You can easily change the look of your staircase by changing the wood stain on it. All you need to do is get some sandpaper, sand away the old stain, and pick a new stain.

The entire process will not cost you more than $0.50 per square foot.

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4. Runners, Rugs, and Carpets

carpeted stair runner
Photo by Bill Wilson on flickr [CC BY 2.0]

This is for those of you who want to put in minimal effort, and aren’t too keen on spending too much money either on their stairs renovation.

Carpeted stair runners are a great way to make your staircases pop with character. They come in a variety of designs and materials, so pick one that complements the design elements of the rest of your house.

Depending on the design, you could spend from a minimum of $13 to upwards of $100 a linear foot on the stair runner alone.

If you’re handy with a nail gun, make sure you get a snug fit and nail it into place.

Alternatively, you could install individual stair rugs on each stair. Choose complementing colors if you want some contrast to the staircase. 

Stair rugs could put you down between $2 to $40, depending on the design and material.

Pro Tip: Get an anti-slip rug gripper to avoid slippage and accidents.

5. Add a Fresh Coat of Paint

painted staircase ideas

Fresh paint always breathes new life into everything, be it a room or an outside wall. Why should your staircase be any different? Make the project even more painting different stairs different colors.

Start off by sanding off all the existing varnish and paint from all the surfaces. Next, seal in any knots using a stain-blocking primer.

The next thing you need to do is choose your colors. Pick colors that match for every part of the staircase, including the newel posts, the handrails, the spindles, treads, and the risers.

We’d suggest you apply at least two coats of semi-gloss paint for a perfect finish.

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Pro Tips:

Remove dust and debris before sanding down your staircase. Use 60 to 60 grit sandpaper for sanding down your stairs. Begin painting only when the surface is smooth and clean.

Be careful about what paints you use for your staircase. Make sure you buy paint rated for stairs.

Apply a final coat of clear urethane for added durability.

Are You a Handyman?

Home renovations can get expensive, so it is only natural that homeowners want to go the DIY route and save money. However, a job like renovating a staircase is no job for a greenhorn. So unless you have considerable experience with carpentry and are skilled with tools, it may just be easier and safer to hire a professional to do the job for you

Five Essential DIY Tips for Staircase Renovation was last modified: October 5th, 2020 by Narayan Shrouthy
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