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Should You Recap or Refinish Your Staircase?

Flooring Contractor

If your stairs are beginning to look worn and need an update, what are your “refresh” options? What is recapping and refinishing, and which is right for your stairs?

If questions like these have been on your mind recently, read on, and we’ll explain everything you need to know about staircase refreshing!

What is Staircase Recapping?

Recapping is when a flooring contractor comes to your house to update the look of your staircase. For instance, if you have carpeted stairs, the flooring contractor will remove the carpet and update the look of your preexisting staircase by adding a hardwood cap to the tread (the surface you step on). Even if a homeowner doesn’t have carpet, they can update their stairs by adding a new hardwood cap to instantly transform and refresh the space.

In a nutshell, recapping is just updating the look of your stairs; it is not a full-scale staircase replacement. At this time, homeowners can also update their banisters, rails, and spindles to alter the look of their space.

Cost: The cost of recapping varies, depending on the extent of the recapping, but it is more affordable than replacing the entire staircase.

Aesthetics: The draw of recapping is that homeowners can update their staircase’s style by adding stains, new hardwood, decorative spindles, and even paint. Hence, recapping your stairs will transform them into a focal point.

What is Staircase Refinishing?

If you have a hardwood staircase, like hardwood plank flooring, it needs refinishing every 7-10 years or when the staircase treads show signs of excessive wear and tear, like deep scratches. Hardwood is durable flooring, but its lifespan ultimately depends on the homeowner: Are they maintaining it weekly, sanding and refinishing it, and taking steps to prevent damage to the hardwood topcoat, like sealants? The more attention homeowners pay their flooring—within reason, as you don’t want to refinish your floors too frequently—the more likely their hardwood stairs will last.  

Hence, refinishing stairs means a flooring contractor comes in, sands out the imperfections, and then refinishes the wood with a stain and sealant.

Cost: Refreshing your preexisting hardwood staircase will cost less than replacing or recapping it.

Aesthetics: Hardwood is timeless, beautiful, and forever in style, making it so attractive to homeowners. A simple refinish restores your floors to their natural beauty and helps prolong their lifespan. Recapping allows for greater personalization, while refinishing is more practical and allows homeowners to use stains or glossy sealants to draw attention to the wood treads’ character.

Recapping or Refinishing: Which Does Your Staircase Need?

The primary difference between recapping and refinishing is the staircase tread material. If your stairs are not wood and you want a refresh, you’ll need recapping to transform them into hardwood stairs. Otherwise, if you have hardwood stairs, they’ll need refinishing every so often to protect and prolong their life.

If you’re unsure or have questions about recapping or refinishing, contact a flooring contractor like us the Brothers Flooring, as they can help you determine your staircase needs.

Recapping or Refinishing Your Staircase

If your stairs could use a refresh, you have three choices: get a new staircase, recap, or refinish them. Whether you want to recap or refinish your stairs depends on your staircase’s flooring and tread material. 

Whether you elect to recap or refinish your stairs, it will increase the value of your home! Updating your staircase also infuses it with style and charm. Stairs may be functional, but they can be elevated to stylishly functional with recapping or refinishing!

If you like the sounds of updating your staircase for the better and want to get started, then give us the Brothers Flooring a call today for a free consultation. As experienced flooring contractors with over 20 years in the flooring industry, we are confident we can help you find the best way to transform your staircase.



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