If you live in a house with more than one floor, chances are your staircase is a vital part of the property. Even single level homes often feature a short series of steps. Unfortunately, this aspect of your house doesn’t last forever.
A stairway can wear down over time, eliminating this necessary and powerful design element from your home. The stairs themselves can bend and break, railings can become damaged, and the tread may break over time. On the flipside, you might be in the planning phase of building a home and need to decide what type of staircase would work best for your design.
Whichever reason brought you to this article, there are multiple consideration necessary to pick out a new walkway to the upstairs. Check out these tips on how to pick the right option for your home, as well as a few staircase ideas for a little inspiration.
Choosing the Right Steps For Staircase
Picking out new steps isn’t as simple as selecting a model from a brochure or home improvement store, unfortunately. There are ten vital aspects to consider before making a final decision.
1. Your Budget
First and foremost, there’s no reason to break the bank over a set of steps. One of the most significant deciding factors will be what you can afford to fit into your budget. Financing is almost always available, but you still need to afford the monthly payments.
Selecting a price range will help you narrow down what materials you can choose from. If you’re unsure about prices, inquire online or in-store to get a ballpark estimate.
2. The Amount of Space
The second constraint when picking out a staircase is the amount of space in your home. There are a multitude of designs available, but not all of them take tighter spaces into consideration.
If you’re dealing with tighter space and would like more room to move around, a spiral staircase might be your best option. On the other hand, your home might allow for a straight flight of stairs leading to the second level. You have some leeway when building a home, but stick with what was already there when replacing a staircase.
3. Safety Concerns
Think about the individuals that live in your home. Do you have children or someone with mobility issues living with you? If so, you might want to look into return stairs with a landing or one that can readily be equipped with a stairlift.
Even if it is just you in the home, you will most certainly want something with sturdy siding or a wall mounted railing. Even if you don’t really use it, you’ll be happy it’s there if you happen to slip and fall.
4. Adding Comfort
Depending on the style of your home, you might opt for bare wood or a carpeted cover. However, carpet provides a comfy cushion beneath your feet while also covering the slicker surface that wooden stairs often have.
Choosing wider stairs with less of an incline is an excellent way to add comfort to the design as well. You might also decide on a rug covering, softer woods, or even a non-slip metallic surface. Many homeowners find that what they were their ideal stairs turn out to be foot sores, so pick something you’ll enjoy walking on.
5. The Right Materials
Your budget will more than likely dictate the materials you use, but different price ranges still offer a couple of options. You will, of course, want to select something that suits your home’s existing décor and style. While wooden stairs are the most popular option, metals and glass are often used in both modern and minimalistic designs.
When picking out materials, it is vital to ensure that they are durable. Your staircase will have to support multiple weights throughout its lifetime from both yourself, guests, and anything you might need to carry on them.
6. Proper Design
Space might dictate design, but only to a degree. You can still choose from multiple options when working in a small space. While a spiral staircase might make the most sense, maybe you would prefer a half-turned set of steps instead. Quarter-turned is also an excellent option for narrow spaces.
If you have plenty of room to play with, consider these space-saving options anyway. They can open up your ground floor to make room for entertaining guests or to add more furniture.
7. The Rules
Now that you have a more definitive idea about the type of staircase you would like, your next step is to look into your area’s building codes and regulations. These laws could require specific heights, depths, and pitches on your steps that must be met. Never purchase any building materials for a home without knowing these regulations beforehand.
Most staircases rely on balustrades, or rails with wooden poles, to support your weight as you walk down. You might not use them often, but it is essential to make sure they are capable of bearing your weight in case you need them. Breaking rails might sound like something from Looney Tunes or the Three Stooges, but improper materials can send you straight to the emergency room in real life.
9. Storage Options
Different step styles offer varying degrees of storage space. A straight flight of stairs, for instance, can often have a small closet built underneath them. Some homeowners choose to place bookshelves within their stairs, while others prefer the open look of a modern spiral staircase.
If you are replacing a part of your staircase, this is an excellent time to consider whether your home could benefit from some extra storage. Even if it is just a small crawlspace, having the extra room for things like winter blankets or even a toolbox can make a world of difference.
10. Double-Check Everything
When it comes time to make the final decision about your staircase, you need be sure that you want the exact design you’ve chosen down to every last detail. The same goes for replacing your stairs. Neither option is cheap, so it is essential to know that you will be happy with your decision.
With the proper planning, taking the above tips into consideration, you can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this permanent fixture in your home will leave you satisfied for years to come. Don’t hesitate to call the contractor and go over every detail one more time before the installation.
How to Save On Cost
When building a home, saving cost is all about choosing the right materials at the right price. Your best bet is to pick something budget friendly that still suits the overall style of your home, but compromise on different woods or railings. Shopping around for quotes on prices and installation costs is also essential to staying within your budget.
Speaking with a staircase specialist before building any walls is also an excellent idea. Moving things around on paper is free while moving them around in real life costs a pretty penny.
When it comes to replacing broken stairs, you have more options available to you. In some cases, there is just no other option than to replace the entire flight of steps. However, the vast majority of issues can be fixed at a reasonable price.
A broken step can be replaced by removing the carpet above it, taking out the nails holding the wood together, and finding the same length board made from the same or similar material. New banisters and other hardware fixes are more complicated, however.
Luckily, you can usually replace the specific part of your staircase that needs to be fixed as opposed to the entire flight. For instance, replacing the banister or balustrades involves removing the old ones and adding new ones on top of the existing structure.
Saving money on both ends mostly comes down to who installs the parts and what materials you choose to purchase. Never skimp on quality, though. The last thing anyone wants is an accident and a hefty hospital bill.
Finding the Right Stairs for You
There are numerous aspects to consider when picking out a new staircase or fixing the steps in your home. The ten tips above will help you narrow down your options and decide what options might be a good fit for your home.
Remember to consider each aspect carefully, talking with a specialist about the specific needs you have. Taking your time and making sure that you are happy with your decision is the best way to make an educated buying decision. After all, you’ll be using these stairs for years to come!