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Whether your staircase is falling into disrepair, or you just want to bring it into the 21st century, you’ll need to know what sort of costs you’ll be looking at. You’ll also want to know whether it’s something you can do yourself, or if it’s best left to the professionals.
Here we look at the common scenarios, what you can do for a quick renovation, and how much a full stair refurbishment might cost.
Property Age and Period Features
If you have an ageing staircase in a period property and want to keep the original features, there are steps you can take to ensure this. Broken or loose balusters, creaky and worn treads or previous “modernisations” which are in need of reversing are some of the problems you might encounter. The Homebuilding and Renovating website has this helpful article for saving an old staircase.
Otherwise, unless you have issues with wet or dry rot caused by an underlying damp problem, your staircase renovation may just be a case of repairing or replacing loose or outdated handrails and spindles. Perhaps you simply want to ‘freshen up’ your stairs. In which case, a lick of paint or laying a new carpet will do.
Minor Repairs and Renovation
Depending on your DIY skills and abilities, you could tackle some of these tasks yourself. Structural issues are best left to a trained carpenter or joiner. Here are some jobs that you could either do yourself or hire someone to do for you.
If your property is in need of modernisation, smartening up the balustrade with a lick of paint will instantly update your stairs. Make sure you thoroughly sand down the surfaces to remove any existing paint or varnish first.
Replace the Railings
Changing the balustrade (handrail, base rail, spindles and newel caps) could completely transform the look of your stairs, as demonstrated by The Restoration Couple in the video below:
There are a number of costs to consider here, including your materials and any tools you may need. Your local DIY store will be your best bet to work out your cost, which will depend on your style choice and requirements.
You can get a complete banister and landing kit for around £225, or you could buy the parts you need separately. Take a look at this article from Jackson Wood Turners for a list of tools and products you might need.
If you want to go for a wooden finish rather than a carpeted one, stair cladding could be the way to go. Aesthetically pleasing, it can offer a cosmetic solution for worn treads and risers. Cladding can totally transform your staircase without the need to replace the entire unit.
Safety note! If your treads/risers are damaged to the point of being unsafe, be sure to consult a professional first.
As an example, this oak-look Stair Klad starts at £114 for a pack of three (prices correct as of December 2019).
Loose Treads or Risers
Unless you’re a trained joiner or carpenter, consult with a professional about any loose/damaged treads or risers and whether they can be repaired. It’s better to be sure that your stairs are safe. Once repaired, you can decide on finishing touches.
Replacing the Staircase
Depending on your needs, a complete stair refurbishment could work out to be very expensive. In fact, it may be cheaper to have a new staircase installed, provided it’s structurally feasible.
When it comes to a new staircase, there are certain stipulations that must be adhered to in order to comply with building regulations. These include:
- Balusters must be no wider than 100mm apart
- 220mm minimum tread width
- 220mm maximise rise
- 42 degrees maximum pitch
- 2,000mm minimum above the pitch line for clear headroom
These specifications could be an issue if your home is an older building. The property’s internal dimensions may differ in comparison to the modern construction of the staircase.
Also, any significant changes to your staircase design, either through refurbishment or replacement, will need to be approved by your local building authority.
Staircase Material and Cost
While it’s possible to get glass, metal, and stone staircases, the most common type is either softwood or hardwood, with softwood being the less expensive option.
Prices for wooden straight staircases start at around £250. Others range from single winder, half-landing, Z-shape and more, with hardwood prices around £2,000, depending on the style. An average installation can take around 2 days, not allowing for removing an existing staircase. You can expect to pay £200 -- £400 in labour.
Cost Comparison Table
These costs have been put together for you to see at a glance how much a stair refurbishment might cost if you’re hiring a professional, taking into account the materials mentioned above and labour costs.
If you choose the DIY option, material costs do not include any tools you may need, nor any finishing touches such as carpet, varnish, or paint.
Labour rates are intended as a guide only and have been obtained from the sources listed beneath the following table. Please consider that labour rates will also vary depending on your location in the country.
|Description||Material Cost||Time Required||Labour Cost (approx.)|
|Remove and replace balustrade on a regular staircase||£225||3 days||£540|
|Fit stair cladding to a regular staircase||£456||1 -- 2 days||£200 -- £400|
|Replace 1 regular, straight staircase (softwood)||£300||2 days||£400|
|Entire Job: (measure, build, install, and remove/dispose of old staircase)||£300||2+ days||£2,000 -- £4000|
The above prices should be taken as a guide only and you are advised to seek independent quotations. As always, obtain at least three quotations and ask for referrals or check testimonials. Alternatively, check out Rated People for a list of trusted professionals.
Unless there are serious structural issues affecting your staircase, most refurbishments will be a case of improving the aesthetic appeal of your stairs.
If you’re handy when it comes to DIY and pretty confident in your ability, renovating the stairs yourself will save you money. However, if safety, skill level or time are an issue, contact Rated People and call in a professional.
Have you ever tackled a renovation project on your stairs? Let us know in the comments below!