5 Reasons To Choose Oak: Recommendations From a Sacramento Staircase Contractor

If you’re planning a home renovation project, particularly, one that involves installing a new staircase, using oak provides a good number of benefits that other materials don’t quite offer.

From Sacramento staircase contractor iStairs, Inc., here are five reasons why you should consider using oak for your new staircase:

Attractive Appearance

Oak instantly adds character to your home with its rich color, elegant texture, and distinctive material.

It has quite an attractive wood grain, especially if it is quarter-sawn, make it a top choice among carpenters and homebuilders alike.

Strength and Durability

Oak is known for its strength, its resistance to moisture, and its durability.

It’s one of the densest naturally occurring materials, making it one of the most in-demand hardwoods in the woodwork industry.

The sturdy oak has a high tolerance to the stresses brought on by weather conditions in California, even as it changes from season to season.

Furthermore, oak contains a high amount of tannin, which makes it naturally resistant to insects and fungus alike.

Using oak for your staircase (as well as your support beams and foundations) is a sensible choice. Older homes and structures built from oak are still standing many years, decades, or even centuries later.

The oak itself gets stronger and a lot more resilient the older it becomes.

Readily available in Sacramento

There are about 600 species of oak all around the world, but California’s own Sacramento valley is particularly known for its native oak trees.

According to the Sacramento tree foundation, the three most common varieties of oak are:

  • The valley oak, which is the largest tree in Sacramento Valley.
  • The interior live oak, which is the most common evergreen oak tree in the valley.
  • The blue oak, which is the most common of all our oak trees.

There are other species of oak growing in and around Sacramento, and each species of oak is used differently because of their varying attributes.

iStairs says oak staircase parts and custom installations are at the top of the list of projects they typically handle as stair contractors.

They usually work with a fairly diverse selection of other oak wood materials as well — the natural brown oak wood, the stripy tiger oak wood, the cat’s paw pippy oak, burr oak wood, and the rare bog oak wood

Oak is Sustainable

Despite it being so common in the Sacramento Valley, we support efforts to use oak responsibly and sustainably.

Oak is classified as a premium material, and its price is largely dictated by the regulated supply in the building industry so we don’t use too much oak timber faster than we can regrow oak trees.

As such, oak is used in homebuilding as showcase pieces– in situations or home projects where the finished oak structure can be cherished and fully appreciated.

Oak is an Environmentally-Friendly Option

Oaks generally don’t require large amounts of fossil fuel to produce, nor do they require much industrial processing or chemical treatments. (Unlike brick or concrete, for example, which does go through a lot of industrial processing.)

As trees, oaks spend their entire lives absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and releasing oxygen. The carbon captured from the atmosphere is bound into the fibers of these oaks for hundreds of years. And even as you chop down a tree and build a house out of it, the carbon remains within the material permanently.

Also, oak requires little maintenance, so its cost, in the long run, is relatively much lower. All it requires is a bit of cleaning and polishing now and then, and you can count on its natural beauty to last for many years to come.

About Sacramento Staircase Contractor iStairs, Inc.

iStairs, Inc. is your one-stop shop for residential staircase finish carpentry. Ask about our stock availability for oak wood and more details on our custom stair installations.

Whether you’d prefer to do-it-yourself or have us design and install your stairs for you, we can work on just about any staircase project you have in mind.

iStairs has been proudly serving communities across Northern California, with a showroom to accommodate inquiries and appointments. Give the iStairs team a call today at 844-STAIR-4U or 916.853.1499.


Why Do We Have Stairs?

It’s a simple question, yet thought-provoking nevertheless: “why do we have stairs?”

Stairs have been around for ages, dating far back as the ancient Mesopotamians, Greeks, and other civilizations. Today, you can expect to find a staircase in just about every structure or building that has more than one structure.

And in a way, that’s sort of a testament to how indispensable stairs are to daily life. We have ramps, ladders, and escalators, for sure, and they certainly have their uses.

But somehow, a well-placed set of stairs just seems to make everything feel right.

It Gets Us From Down Here to Up There (And Back)

The main raison d’etre of any set of stairs is access. Staircases allow you to move from one level of a structure to another.

At some point in our history, builders realized they could utilize the area above the ground level. Building stairs allowed homeowners more storage and afforded them a bit more living space.

Today, it is common for homes to have two storeys or more. Stairs also help access other areas of the house, such as the attic, roof, basement, or outdoor decks.

Stairlifts and ramps are also able to give similar access to people with all levels of physical ability.

Stairs Make a Statement

For Sacramento stairs and staircase contractor, iStairs, Inc., your staircase is your home’s statement piece & entry focal point.

Upon entering your home, your staircase can convey a lot of messages to your guests through the sort of material used, the level of ornateness and design, and its overall condition.

It can be warm and welcoming, it can radiate a sense of style and elegance, but most of all, it can serve as the focal point of your home’s personality.

Stairs are Efficient and Dependable

Unlike elevators (lifts) or escalators, stairs don’t need power, nor do they need a great deal of maintenance. Stairs can also accommodate a considerable amount of weight, thus letting you bring large pieces of furniture and appliances safely between levels.

Stairs Help Maximize Space

Today’s homeowners are all about the economy of space. Especially in smaller homes, stairs can even be used to hide extra storage area. You can opt to hide drawers in between steps or build a small storage room or a series of closets or shelves can right underneath.

For Art & Aesthetic Purposes

Beyond its more practical uses, a lot of care and craftsmanship can be put into stairs, matching the desired theme or motif of any given living space.

They can be as spartan and minimalist as desired, or as meticulously detailed and designed that it’s almost a piece of art onto itself.

Cats like these have been sitting contentedly on stairs like these ever for as long as we can remember.

About iStairs, Inc.

Sacramento stairs and staircase contractor, iStairs, Inc. is your one-stop shop for residential staircase finish carpentry.

Whether you’d prefer to do-it-yourself or have us design and install your stairs for you, we can work on just about any staircase project you have in mind.

iStairs has been proudly serving communities across Northern California, with a showroom to accommodate inquiries and appointments. Give the iStairs team a call today at 844-STAIR-4U or 916.853.1499.

A quick guide to painting your stairs

Painting your beloved stairs can be nerve-wracking and fun at the same time. It is fun because you can breathe new life out into an old staircase and nerve-wracking because anything can go bad starting with removing the old paint and discovering some secrets that lighting and old paint hid from you over the years.

So, here is some quick fix on how you can transform your staircase:

1.    Clean, clean, clean

Before you start painting your staircase, be sure to clean the area thoroughly. Having lumps and bumps on your staircase when you apply the first coat of paint will not make the task easier for you. 

Be sure to remove dust that has settled over the years on the corners of the steps, spider webs that have been comfortable sitting under your levels. 

2.    Peal old paint

This task is tedious. It will require you a lot of hours to do. You will scrape and even out surfaces, so it is well prepped for the first coating of your paint.

When you start peeling the paint of your old stairs, be careful not to harm the wood of your stairs. Often, when individuals want to speed up the process, they forget to be gentle on the material of their stairs, hence leaving more problems. 

Some homeowners are shocked to learn that they have to even out the surface of their stairs with sandpaper. If at this point you feel the need to call a professional to help you with the redesign you really want, you can call iStairs for an extra hand to help you execute your new plans.

3.    Choose the correct paint

All stairs are composed of different materials. Some are made from hardwood, others from steel, and there are combinations too. That said, some paints are not compatible with the material of your stairs, be sure to purchase paint that will blend well with your beloved centerpiece.

4.    Paint like a pro

There are several ways to paint stairs. There is spraying, and there is brushing, end there are rolls too. When decorating your stairs, use the method you are most comfortable with and most natural for you to manage. 

Do not attempt to spray paint your stairs if you cannot assert the thickness that you need for the area or if you have a “heavy hand.” Chances are, your stairs will have uneven hues; some areas too dark, other too light. 

5.    Bring in the experts

With years of experience under our belts your stairs will be looking new in no time. Our team can help you during your remodel.

For more details about the services we offer, do not hesitate to reach us or give us a call. Our staff would be glad to assist you.

History of Spiral Staircase

A lot of people want to install a spiral staircase in their homes because of its elegance and romantic appeal. But, did you know that spiral staircases did not always exude such a lovely image?

The oldest spiral staircase was recorded as far back as 480 BC in Italy. It was part of the Temple A in Selinunte, Sicily. Unlike today’s construction, spiral stairs back then were composed of an enter newel, made out of stone, and stone stair slabs were built around them.

The Trajan’s column in Rome, built and completed in 113 AD, marked the beginning of the popularity of spiral staircases. Up until today, the spiral staircase in Trajan’s column still stands, making it the oldest known spiral staircase in history.

Unlike those found in Temple A, the staircase in Trajan’s column was made of precious marble that is 42 meters high with its columns decorated with reliefs of the last Dacian war. With more than 2,000 carvings, history in engraved on this piece of art.

Because of the beauty that the Trajan’s column exuded, spiral staircases slowly become a piece of architecture in Rome and eventually made its way to other continents.

In the 4th Century, Greeks also created a spiral staircase to construct the Tomb of Galerius. But as Greece fell to various conquerors, the name and purpose of the building have changed over the centuries. It has been converted to a church, a mosque, a prison, and even a catacomb.

In 532, even great conquerors like Constantine fancied spiral staircases, constructing a lucratively designed structure to connect important terraces and rooms in his palace. But, due to wars and conflicts, the majestic castle that has been home to the conqueror’s heirs have undergone multiple renovations to fit the taste of the new occupants. From a castle, the structure has become a ceremonial hall, a mosque, and a church. To date, remnants of the original palace, which composed of few mosaics, castle foundation, and sculptures, are being preserved by the government of Turkey.

As years went on, contemporary designers began introducing spiral staircases to homes and other structures. And because it does not require as much space as other stairs would need, the spiral staircase has become famous for owners who want to maximize space.

The materials used for this type of staircase has also evolved from stones and marbles to wood and steel, depending on its purpose. It took time before designers found a way to detach the stairs from the walls and make it a stand-alone fixture in homes and other buildings.

With its rich history and economic purpose, spiral staircases are here to stay. And, as architecture and design continue to progress, spiral stairs will continue to surprise with aesthetic and functionality.

With the right material, a spiral staircase can make a home elegant and romantic. If you need a customized spiral staircase, our team at iStairs can help you create the design that will fit the overall look of your abode.

Taking Care of Cedar Stairs

Cedarwood is commonly known for its aromatic properties which have therapeutic uses and health benefits. But it is also primarily used in woodwork due to its durability that can last for decades. 

It is considered as one of the most durable woods given its natural properties. 

Cedar usually grows in damp climates, which enhances the woods resistance to weather conditions.  

The oils and acids produced by the wood species not only make it aromatic but also give it a natural resistance to moisture, decay and insect infestation. 

Among softwood species, cedar also has one of the lowest densities and places it highly along with hardwoods.  

Its timber is lightweight and easy to transport from places. This also means it requires less effort to cut and nail using standard tools.

Its density also helps maintain moisture content, so it keeps dry for a long time and does not shrink. 

All of these characteristics help cedar survive in harsh environments like extreme summer heat, intense cold weather, torrential rains, and strong winds. 

This makes it a popular choice for craftsmen for outdoor and indoor home, especially in areas with hard-to-predict and damaging weather patterns. 

Some favorite uses for cedar include decks, shingles, exterior, and interior trim, blinds, shutters, fences, , and stairs. 

Unlike exterior cedar applications, indoor cedar items require less protection, but it doesnt mean they dont deserve some tender, loving care. 

In particular, cedar stairs need touch ups to help sustain the wear and tear of regular foot traffic. 

We have listed some points to consider to prolong the life of your cedar stairs. 

Apply some oil or varnish when its still new 

If youre not going to cover it with carpet or paint, your wooden stairs should be applied with varnish or oil as soon as possible to maintain a high-quality look. This will also protect your stairs from permanent stains. 

Keep it nice and clean 

Regularly clean wood stairs by vacuuming and sweeping. While cedar stairs have natural compositions that keep water out or prevent it from warping, spills could leave visible stains on itso avoid leaving wet spots and wipe it immediately. Spills could also cause someone to slip or fall, so take that precaution.  

Dont forget the handrails! 

They may not suffer the wear and tear of ascending and descending as much as the steps, but they are also an essential part of your stairs.  Remember, your hands regularly touch the handrails for support. Protect yourself and your family from dirt and bacteria by keeping them clean. Regularly clean the supporting parts of your stairs, namely the side panels, railings, and handrails. When the steps are polished clean, include them to keep them bright and presentable. 

Use the right type of cleaners 

Cedar stairs are usually bare and unpainted to expose its natural wood color. So always keep it clean. When dusting and sweeping is not enough, your stairs need some good cleaning. Choose a cleaner designed for your stairs wood type.  

Do some damage prevention measures 

Sometimes you also have to make some adjustments to prevent permanently damaging your stairs. Place rugs or mats at the entrance of your home to keep dirt or tiny gravel off your shoes that can scratch the wood surface. You can also opt to use indoor footwear instead. 

Refinish your stairs 

The finish on wood stairs may become worn out or suffer from cracks due to heavy foot traffic for an extended period. You can manage this by applying a new finish to the worn spots using steel wool, but this could take some time. Make sure to sand the old finish before applying a new one. You can opt to bleach, stain, paint or wax your cedar stairs.  

When you need professional help, its best to consult with stair contractors. We, at iStairs, can provide you with the expertise you need. Just give us a call or visit our showroom and well be happy to assist you. 

Which staircase material is right for your home?

The staircase is an architectural feature important in two-story homes. Not only does it connect two floors, but it has also become a focal point of your home’s design.

That’s why it is critical to choose which design and material will be used in making your staircase.

There are many options available in the market for what material should be used on your stairs. You can choose from staircases made out of wood, metal, concrete, stone, and glass.

Here, we have listed the benefits of each material.

A wooden staircase is a common option because it is one of the most affordable. Not only is it strong, it is a pliable material for your stairs, allowing for unique shapes to give your house its own flair. It is also flexible in terms of design as it can provide you traditional, rustic or modern feel to your home. If you like wooden fixtures, this will complement your taste.

Metal is easy to install and maintain. It is durable and firm. It is also a good option for houses with small spaces. Plus, it does not become slippery when wet. However, it is prone to rusts—that’s why it is mostly used indoors. Metallic stairs are perfect for modern or industrial designs.

Among all materials, concrete stairs are the most common because it is the most affordable and the strongest. It can be shaped in any way to fit your requirement, whether you want it straight, curved or spiral. Concrete stairs used to be considered visually unappealing, but modern designs have changed that. It now fits the modern and minimalist scheme.

If you’re aiming for an elegant and majestic staircase, stone is your option. Commonly used stones for stairs are marble, granite, and quartz. It is very durable and can last for a long time even with heavy usage. It is also easy to clean and is resistant to spills. It can be used indoors, but it is preferred outdoors like an entryway to your home or garden.

Glass is the most popular choice for homes with ultra-modern and luxurious designs. You will feel like walking on air when you climb up these stairs. Glass used to be seen as a fragile material, but technology has made this material stronger. Among the stair materials, glass still remains as the least durable and requires the most maintenance.

But before you choose the material of your stairs, there are many factors that you may need to consider first.

We’ve listed some points below that could affect your choice of stair material:

Budget — Your decision will be based mainly on how much you can shell out to build your stairs. Do you have enough of a budget to have a bespoke staircase or would made-to-measure stairs fit instead?
Design —The materials your stairs should match the overall design of your home. Are you aiming for a traditional modern or minimalist design?
Space — The style of your stairs should be limited by how big or small your available space is. An ample space calls for a grand staircase, while a smaller one could only fit a curved or spiral one.
Safety — Stairs gives you access between floors. Take note of the members of your household. Do you have children or elderly members that require sturdier and accident-free stairs?

Here at iStairs, we make sure to provide you all the things you need in deciding which staircase best suits your home. We serve locations across Northern California with a toolkit of expertise, creative vision, and quality hardware. Let us help you complete your dream home with your preferred staircase. Give us a call or send us an email, today!

Tips for Painting Around Stairs

Some painting jobs are just more difficult than others. And because they are difficult, sometime accidents happen and the casualties are the sofa, the floor, or worse— the staircase.

Here are a few tips and tricks that iStair can share with you so you can protect your beloved stairs against the accidents that are bound to happen when painting jobs get closer to it.

Cover your staircase

This may seem like a no-brainer but be sure to cover your stairs with a huge piece of plastic or cloth. That way, droppings or accidents, you will feel assured that no stain will damage your beloved stairs.

The cloth should be able to cover the handrails to the floor; hanging it halfway is protecting only the upper part of the stairs. SO when you get a cloth as a cover, be sure it is big enough to cover the entire staircase.

Grab the correct ladder

There are hard to reach areas that we must get to get the overall look that we want to achieve. Unfortunately, these places are either too high or deep down below. When this happens be sure to get the appropriate ladder that can support your weight, your desired activity, and length of use.

Falling off a ladder is not only bad for the painting job as it will definitely mess various areas, it can also injure the painter. So be sure to use a perfectly working ladder before you commence painting.

Use a pole

Using a pole is always a good alternative to ladders. The problem with poles are droppings, so be sure to use it properly to avoid droplets of paint everywhere. Also, be sure to get a pole that is tall enough to bring color to your targeted areas.

Using a pole might actually be the life hack that you need to complete that painting job at home.

Bunch of care

Sometimes, we get too comfortable when we see that the covers are doing their job or the ladder is sturdy that we forget to take extra care when painting. Until the paint is dry the job is not yet and you have to continue being cautious about the concerned areas.

We, at iStairs, want our clients to keep their staircases well maintained and beautiful for all seasons. If you have anything stair related concern, do not hesitate to reach out to us.

If an accident happened while you have an on-going paint job at home, do not wait for the paint dry as it may be more difficult to remove. Be sure to call in experts once the accidents happen. Quick treatment is the best way to address such incidents.

Shoot us an email or ring us an inquiry, our staff would be happy to attend to your needs. Service is commitment and quality is a our guarantee.


Cost and Staircases: Choosing the Best Staircase for your Space

A lot of us want a functional, elegant, and even a show stopping staircase to top off our dream homes. However, grad staircases or designer stairs are not too friendly to the pockets. But we do not want to compromise aesthetics and quality, so here are some tips to consider when getting yourself a budget friendly yet pretty stairs.

  1. Room Space
    The key word is efficiency. Often times we either overestimate or underestimate the space allotted for our stairs. Because of this, we end up buying more materials than we can actually use. The same goes for under estimating, construction items are cheaper when bought by bulk, retailing the parts when a bolt is missing will cost the homeowners more. Look up the designs for curved flight of steps while this design does not complete the circle because of the radial space it requires, this design speaks of romance and grandeur.
  2. Design
    The complexity of a staircase is a factor to consider when shopping for one. A spiral stairs that goes around three times is more expensive than a staircase that only curves twice. The same goes for the details that would go with the hand railings. If you’d like Victorian style handrails, expect a quote made for the queen and a prize meant for the treasury of a king. Choose designs that are presentable and affordable.  You can check the Straight Stairway. This type of stairs provides a non-complex yet functional design to a home. This model works best with minimalists and can become a favorite photo spot for your guests.
  3. Materials
    Often times, people think that a steel staircase would be more expensive than those made of wood. This is not always the case because there are imported woods like the ones from the Narra tree in the Philippines that promises strength and longevity but may require breaking a bank if you’d like one for your house. For us who work under a budget, it would be best to survey the available materials first before deciding on a popular choice. Maybe you’d like to see some metal spiral stairs. This is best for homes that have limited spaces and is easy to install. This choice radiates fun and is relaxed aura- perfect for your personal turf.
  4. Labor
    Installing stairs can take days or even weeks depending on size and design complexity. For budget conscious buyers, checking for the number of days required to complete the stairs would extremely help the decision making process and planning of the project. Carpenters sometimes require an hourly rate or daily rate which can range between 50$ per hour to 75$ per hour. A  U- shaped Stairwell is composed of two L-shaped stair that requires a 180 degree turn in the landing. This is a complex design that can build interest among your guests. This is finest placed in a corner of the room to emphasize the shape. It can take some days to finish this beauty.

Tips for remodeling your staircase while on a budget

There are a number of good reasons why homeowners will choose to remodel their stairs, be it to spruce up the interior of the home before putting in on the market, to modernize the design of the home, or simply to make repairs on an aging or damaged set of stairs.

While each staircase situation is unique So whatever the reason may be that you have decided to remodel your staircase, let’s take a look at some tips that will help you save money and plan your staircase remodel on a budget!

    1. Determine if any of the staircase components can be savedBased on the condition and continued functionality of the staircase component, there are many parts of the staircase that could be salvaged during a remodel. The newel posts, tread caps, and handrail are often components of the staircase that don’t need to be completely replaced during a remodel. Instead, focus on replacing the balusters if you are to replace something on the staircase, as they take up most of the visual impact of the staircase in general.
    2. Improve appearance of existing staircase parts with paints and/or stains
      Simply with an updated shade of paint or for example, painting the balustrades white and staining the newels posts, landing caps and handrail a darker color, you can dramatically makeover the appearance of your entire staircase, without spending an arm and a leg.
    3. Upgrade lighting and tread features to give staircase inexpensive makeover
      You’d be surprised by the dynamic change that can take place with a little improvement in lighting and the tread features of your staircase. By simply enhancing the lighting around the staircase say through better placement of light fixtures for visibility purposes, or even using LED lighting systems, not only will your staircase become more functional and safer to use, it will also become a focal point of design for your home.
    4. Take advantage of overstock items from staircase companies
      If you are fortunate enough to be in the market at the right time, you can often find discounted staircase parts for your remodel from companies who have them in overstock. Staircase companies may have overstock items for a variety of reasons, so if you can find the parts or supplies at discounted price due to overstock, it’s always in your best interest to take advantage of these options.
    5.  Be smart and patient with your decisions for your staircase remodel and don’t jump into a quick fix you might later regret
      While time may be of the essence if you are planning on moving or need to start repairs on an old staircase, sometimes it’s in your best interest to be patient with your options when you’re remodeling your staircase on a budget. Primarily, this is because it’s best to wait a little longer to find the exact staircase remodeling option that meets the needs of the goals you have for your home, without compromising to safe a few bucks.
      If you really want to save money and invest in the smartest staircase remodel for your home, it’s in your best interest to consult with a professional staircase company who has experience with a multitude of different staircase remodeling projects, even those of which are operating on a budget.

If you can’t move, then it’s time to improve!

Have you been thinking about moving to a new home because your current house is in need of a few updates or improvements, but putting your house on the market right now doesn’t sound very appealing? Well, there’s no need to move just yet if you can make improvements to your home and increase its overall value so that when you are finally ready to sell, you can thank yourself all over again for the improvements you decided to make today!

But why make the same old, run-of-the mill home improvements that everyone else makes when you can update a feature of your home that is already a central part of your home’s design? Why not improve upon the appearance of your staircase as a way of updating your house this summer! Below we have compiled a short and simple list of ideas that you can use to improve the interior design of your home by way of your staircase.

While a complete staircase replacement is always an option with professional companies like iStairs, here are some elements of your staircase that you should consider updating when looking to improve your home this summer:

  • Paint or stain your staircase: Never underestimate how much of an impact a fresh coat of paint or wood stain can have on a staircase, but remember that you must consider the characteristics of your staircase when choosing which finish type is best. For example, aluminum and stainless steel staircases can be finished with powder coat finishes or even be amplified with a unique glass bead blasted look. And while there are a number of choices to pick from when staining your wooden staircases, some of the common options are oil, epoxy, stains, and polyurethane finishes, the last of which is used to seal the stairs from damage.
  • Update the balustrade: The balustrade is the vertical posts which support the railing of a staircase, and the balusters are the individual posts themselves which can be designed/shaped in a variety of different styles. Whether the balustrade is made of metal or wood, replacing old balusters or outdated spindles with more modernly styled balusters can instantly refresh the look and feel of your staircase as a whole.
  • Remove carpet for more natural appeal: If for example you have a traditional, old wooden style banister with carpeted stairs, one way of improving your staircase would be, in addition to painting and staining the stair railing more of a modern color, to remove the outdated carpet and even paint or stain the underlying treads as well. For safety purposes, if you have elderly people or children in your home who use the stairs, it’s always a good idea to consider installing some type of rubber non-slip grips on the edges of the tread. Another idea is to find a stylish runner to have along the middle of the stairs right on top of the treads, instead of carpet as well. Moreover, a runner actually serves multiple purposes, including safety and style enhancement and noise reduction

If however you are partial to the idea of carpet on your stairs, you can at least consider sprucing up your staircase with a newer, more modern type of carpet on your stairs.

So there’s no need to worry about putting your house on the market when you can start to make valuable and attractive improvements to your home today! And why not give your staircase a second chance with some much needed improvements this summer?