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Stair Renovations: Here’s What You Should Know

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Not many homeowners think about renovating their stairs. But when they start to notice their stairs looking a little worse for wear or outdated, it’s time to give your stairs a facelift. 

If it’s time for flooring installers to update your staircase, here’s what you need to know first. 

Staircase Anatomy


Stairs are more than just steps leading upstairs or downstairs. There are multiple components that work together synergistically to create the staircases we know and love. 

These are the components of your home’s staircase:

  • Stringer: The stringer is the “stair” frame itself.
  • Treads: A tread is the flat piece of the stair that homeowners step on. Typically treads are about 10-11 inches minimum.
  • Risers: The riser is the vertical piece your toe kicks when using the stairs. Some staircases use risers, while others leave them open.
  • Handrail: The handrail, or banister, is the smooth rail that your hand uses for support as you descend the stairs.
  • Baluster: Balusters are the vertical poles that connect the stringer to the handrail. Functionally speaking, they prevent homeowners from falling. Balusters can be wood, metal, or even glass sheets.
  • Newel: The newel post is the large end post at the top and bottom of the stairs.

Now that you know more about how complex a staircase truly is, it’s time to look into what goes into renovating staircases. 

How to Upgrade Your Stairs

If your staircase feels outdated and you’ve got a flooring installer on call, then it’s time to update your stairs. There are plenty of ways to turn a “builders grade” or basic staircase—plain uniform wooden spindle balusters connected to a matching banister—into something more modern and pleasing to the eye. 

Here are some fun ways to renovate your staircase: 

  • Add a Runner: Adding a runner is a quick fix to update the look and improve the traction of polished wooden (and slippery) stairs. Think of a runner as an accessory; you can keep it simple with one colour or add character using a pattern or design. Trendy colours are grey, blue, or neutral, while trending designs are geometrics. 
  • Forgo Normal: Who says your flooring installer should use wooden balusters from the home renovation store? If normal isn’t in your vocabulary, then strike out and try something new. Use metal balusters for an industrial look or decorative metal ones in the shape of branches for a natural look. You can also try balusters that climb with the stringer (it’s more diagonal than horizontal) rather than vertical.
  • Hidden Balusters: Blend in your staircase by adding tempered glass baluster sheets. 
  • Righteous Risers: Get creative by adding character to the forgotten risers with tiles! Keep it traditional with coloured ceramic tiles, or make it fetching with mosaic tiles. Either way, you’ll want an experienced flooring installer to help with tiling your stairs, as they can get the job done quickly without issue, so your stairs are usable in no time.
  • Refinish: If you have a wooden staircase, hire a flooring installer to re-sand and refinish the stairs for a cost-effective way to rejuvenate them!

The sky’s the limit when it comes to stair renovations. Thinking outside the box can land you with an attractive staircase that draws the eye (and comments from guests!). 

How Much Will It Cost?

The cost of your staircase renovation depends on the extent of your staircase improvement. The least expensive fix is repainting or adding a runner for a few hundred bucks. In contrast, replacing the entire staircase can cost you upwards of $10,000.

Ultimately, the cost of your stair renovation project depends on what you’re doing. So if you want to learn more about renovating your staircase, give us the Brothers Flooring a call today for a free, no-risk consultation. 

How Long Will It Take to Renovate My Stairs?

Stair Renovations

Much like determining the cost of renovating your stairs, the length of time it’ll take depends on the work you’re doing. For instance, adding a runner will take a day, while tiling the risers will take longer. 

Your stair renovation could take anywhere from a day to 2 weeks, depending on what your flooring installers are doing. Of course, before you agree to contractors updating your staircase, you’ll want to ask them how long the renovation will take so you can plan accordingly.

Is It Time to Start Your Staircase Renovations?

If you’re considering updating your staircase, you’ll want to first explore all your options. Then, before your hire a flooring installer to transform your staircase into a showpiece, you should consider these questions:

  • Why are you renovating? For aesthetic or practical reasons? Answering this can help you determine the scope of the project. For instance, adding a runner to prevent slips on the smooth wood is a small project, whereas if you’re remodelling, that’s a big reno.
  • What’s your budget? The amount of money you can set aside will also dictate the scale of the renovation.
  • Are you hiring a flooring installer? Another budgetary consideration is whether you’re renovating yourself or hiring a flooring installer. If you’re unsure what you’re doing or the project requires expertise or finesse, it’s best to hire a professional to get the job done right the first time.
  • When are you renovating? An ambitious project could affect your home’s usability, so you’ll need to plan for your stairs to be out of commission. This could mean staying elsewhere during renovations.
  • What’s the design? When you know the scope of your stairway renovation, you’ll need to focus on design. What colour will the stain or tiles be? What balusters should you choose etc?  

Getting a better sense of why, when and how you’re renovating can help ensure you plan accordingly. After all, stairs are a key part of your home, so it’s important to know what’s involved and ensure you’re ready for it. 

Key Takeaways: Renovating Your Staircase 

If you’re ready to renovate your staircase—whatever the scale—then make sure you know what you’re getting into before you start. Although stair renovations are usually affordable compared to updating a room, they can be a nuisance. Staircases are 100% functional; they move you from one level to another, so when you can’t use them, it’s bound to cause chaos. 

If you’re considering updating your stairs, it’s always a good idea to talk to an experienced flooring installer, like the Brothers Flooring, as we offer free consultations. Let us help walk you through your stairway renovation options and what to expect, so you can get excited about your next big project. 

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