Refurbishment, Stairs & Railings

Guide to Staircase Renovations & Refurbishment

A staircase is important for every home from both a functional and an aesthetic point of view. Find out more about the available options and the costs involved.

staircase-renovationStaircases have limited longevity, after a while they will start to break down. When it starts to happen, staircase renovation is one solution that comes into mind. The treads of the staircase will undoubtedly age with time because of the everyday mileage you put on it. The railings can also become quite problematic as they age and since they often represent a health risk, they deserve our attention even more.

The paint will start to come off and the wood will lose some of its strength, making it glaringly obvious that we are dealing with a staircase in need of renovation. When that happens, what are our options? What can we do to make the process as efficient as possible?

Staircase Renovation Ideas

The nature of staircase renovations will depend entirely on the specifics of that unique situation. For starters, not every staircase was created equal but even those that were, will age quite differently depending on the specifics. Temperature, humidity, lighting conditions, those will all affect the wood in different ways, speeding up or slowing down the aging process.

Completely replacing your stairs sometimes become a necessity, but a straircase renovation job is often enough to recreate a quality close to the one of the initial installation. Before you decide which of those you need, you have to evaluate the state your stairs are currently in. This is very important.

  • The position of the nails tell us a lot about the wood and how it shaped over the years. Hammering them back into place is often the only thing needed to regain stability.
  • Cracks are the telltale signs of structurally compromised wooden stair steps. You can remove any debris with a simple butter knife to see where you are at, and if the crack is not deep yet you can simply take care of them with a sandpaper.
  • The excess dust should be removed after any sending process to get the best aesthetic appeal.

Staircase Refurbishment

staircase renovationSometimes restoration is not enough to salvage the staircase, in those cases you may want to contact a refurbishment professional who can create some miracles. Once you know that this is the solution that you want, you have to think the whole process through and come up with some ground rules that will be important to get the best possible results.

The first order of the day is deciding on the style. Is it something traditional that you are after? Or the modern looks is much closer to your heart’s desires? You want something simple or you want to make a statement? Plain wooden staircases is often the best choice but you have plenty of available options. Whatever the case may be, you want to arrive on something before the process starts. That way you will not have to rely as much on the expert you will end up hiring.

Staircase Design Ideas

If you arrived to the conclusion that you need a new staircase, the next step is to figure out how it will all fit into the layout both from a design and an aesthetic standpoint. In the simplest terms, you have three options, straight, turned or spiral. The straight variant is often the simplest and therefore the cheapest solution but naturally prices can vary quite dramatically based on the material and the place you buy it.

The most common problem with the straight staircase of course, is that it often cannot be used because of the structural qualities of the house. Spiral staircases will usually take up the smallest space but they are not necessarily practical (for other than this reason). The location is also important, ideally a staircase should face the front door, and this is why turned stairs usually work in fairly different scenarios, accommodating various styles.

Staircase Building Regulations

Renovating your staircase is often not a straightforward process. There are sometimes regulations that needs to be followed (PDF), including but not limited to:

  • The staircase can have a maximum rise of 220mm and a minimum going of 220 mm.
  • They should have a maximum pitch of 42°
  • The flights must have a handrail on at least one side if they are less than a meter wide. If they are wider, the handrails has to be installed on both sides
  • Handrails on stairs, as well as landings must be at least 900mm
  • No openings of any balustrading should allow the passage of a 10mm sphere
  • The headroom should always be a minimum of 2m above the pitch line.

How Much Will a Staircase Renovation Cost?

While the prices will obviously depend on a lot of different factors, it is generally true that the lowest prices start around £200. We are talking about renovation, of course. Balustrading is usually a good idea if the staircase is otherwise still structurally sound. The recladding prices start at around £500, while a full refurbishment will take out about £2,000 of your pockets.

Stair Renovation Solutions

Some staircase renovation services will have very diverse offers using different methods. A staircase renovation professional will be able to use composite wood, solid wood or even laminated material to bring new life to your staircase. In fact, in some cases they can even reinforce the whole structure with steel. In any case, estimates for staircase renovation should always be made beforehand. A quality service will gladly do an evaluation.

Installing A New Staircase

Sometimes refurbishing/renovating the old staircase might cost more than having a new one installed. So what needs to be considered before you have a new staircase installed? Below we’ve listed some of the major and most important factors to plan for when thinking of a new stairway:


Firstly, think about how much room you have to work with in your hall, landing and stairwell. Can you change the existing dimensions for a larger width? Do you want a straight staircase, or one the curves or bends round at a certain point? Is it between one or two floors? Will you need to think about hiring an architect to help make sense of the measurements? These are all important things to think about before getting started.

Building Regulations

When you have an idea of the sort of stairway you want, it’s always good to check that your plans comply with the necessary building regulations.


Once you’ve ticked off the practicalities and legal side of things; you can start thinking about the various staircase designs retailers and contractors have to offer! These days stairways come in a range of different materials (including oak, teak, steel, and aluminium), colours and shapes – and if necessary can be tailor made at a cost to suit you. You can also think about all the extras that will help your staircase blend neatly with the rest of your home – what about carpeting the stairs, or laying a runner? Or would you prefer a natural wood varnish finish? There are plenty of stylistic options for home-owners to consider once the final plan is in place.



Wood is a wonderful staircase material because there is no limit to the styles of staircase you can make from make it. For traditional homes, wooden staircases should be strong, with rounded stair nosing, turned balusters and carved newel posts. Timber staircases of this age are more or less a chunky wooden threads projected out from a wall. See the figure above.


Wood is quite strong, versatile, and relatively easy to work with. Moreover, it has an ageless appearance.


It’s readily available in abundance, hence, a very common material. It’s not an option for people looking for unique staircase material. Wood is quite dark and heavy, which makes it overbearing for such a central feature.


The most inexpensive wood you can purchase is the engineered pine or plywood, It’s a perfect option for a fully carpeted staircase and tinted balustrading, and it cost about £500. Another type is the parana pine. It is very common and moderately cost-effective. In most cases, it is usually combined with hemlock, and a perfect combination for balustrading due to its stability. Hardwoods are usually more expensive than softwoods. They may be twice the price of softwoods or as costly as five times the price of softwoods. Examples of such hardwoods include beech, ash and oak.


Glass staircase does not only allow light to reflect through the rooms and the levels in the house, it also add a touch of present-day glamour.


Glass is made up of two or more layers flattened together. It is relatively strong and perfect for modern-day interiors.


It is susceptible to surface scratches. Moreover, it cannot be used for staircase purposed for fire escape routes because it is an inflammable material.


Glass and acrylic is very expensive, most especially if you are buying from glass specialists. The best way to get an outstanding and cost–effective staircase is to syndicate materials, and to be very smart when dealing with your supplier. For instance, requesting for glass from a specialist will be costlier than when you have a local glasswork make panels for your balustrading before syndicating them with a softwood staircase made by a woodworker.


As opposed their traditional use for industrial purpose only, metal staircases are now being used in homes. They are light weighted in appearance compared to timber.


When combined with glass balustrades, they look awesome, even with wire mesh or tension wires. They are perfect for spiral or straight flights.


If not properly designed, it will look more or less industrial.


They cost about £500–600 off the shelf.


Though regarded as old fashion, however, their contemporary form takes the simplicity of the industrial style staircase. Concrete stairs are usually supplied precast in sections to be assembled on site.


Very ideal for a solid and rigid staircase


Quite expensive, and might take some time before they are constructed.


There is no fixed price for concrete and stone staircase, however, they can as expensive as £10,000. Alternatively, existing stairs can be cladded with stone panels.

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