DIY

Want to start a small project for your stairs? Our DIY guides can help you through picking, installing, and maintaining your stairs.

DIY Stair Project

March 1, 2016

How to Build Stairs

January 19, 2016

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.

Deck the Halls and the Staircase, Too!

You read that right, folks! This year as you and your family decorate the tree and your home for the holidays, don’t forget to incorporate your staircase into the decorations for an added sense of originality and holiday flare. And why wouldn’t you take advantage of the fact that the staircase of your home is the natural focal point people look to when they enter the house, by decorating your staircase for this Christmas season! Below are a few ideas to inspire your staircase decorating ideas.

  • Keep it Simple: You can decorate your staircase in a charming and festive way without going overboard by incorporating a few select decorations. Use a simple staircase decoration for example that incorporates a few strands of white or colored Christmas lights by intertwining them along the handrail. Or instead of hanging your stockings from the mantel this year, try using your staircase as a stylish way of displaying them.
  • Classic Seasonal Style: For more of a classic look this holiday season, you can decorate your staircase with traditional Christmas decor, including wreaths and garland, big red bows, pine needles, pinecones, and snowflake ornaments to name a few. Ideas like wrapping tinsel around the railings of the staircase in alternating white and red colors for a fun candy cane look!
  • Go for Something Unique: Finally, you can try and go for something totally unique this year when incorporating your staircase into your home’s holiday decorations. Think outside the box and experiment with creative ideas, such as using the treads and balusters of the staircase as a means of displaying some holiday cheer! You can use oversized bulb ornaments and fasten them onto colorful ribbons, and hang those at different lengths from the balusters for a unique holiday staircase decoration.

Great Ideas for Home Decor!

Decorating one’s home is always considered to be a costly activity. But that should not be the case. With a creative mind, you can make your home beautiful using affordable materials that can be made into great home décor. For great but affordable decorations for a stunning home, here are a few tips from iStairs:

  1. Paint away

Paint is your first choice when decorating your home. It gives color to your home, and in return, gives life to what would be a dull, paintless home. Use paint to your advantage. You have a full spectrum of colors that you can choose from. You can even come up with spectacular color schemes and designs that will make your home uniquely stunning.

If you’re not into a major paint job, you can opt to repaint your furniture and fixtures. Spray painting your brass, silver, and gold furniture and fixtures will give them a renewed look. You may also try changing the current color of your furniture with more modern hues. If you are bold enough, try to change the whole theme of even just one room of your home for a completely different feel.

  1. Up your elegance with wallpapers

Wallpapers have gone a long way from being those hard to install and equally hard to replace decoration that costs a fortune. There are more designs than ever and installing, removing, and replacing them has never been easier. What’s more is that wallpapers have gone cheaper without compromising the elegance that it is known for.

Wallpapers can be used not only on walls but also on ceilings. How you’ll use wallpapers to beautify your home is up to you. You can also experiment with wallpapers for your cabinets, shelves, stair risers, and other parts of your home. Widen your imagination and make it work!

  1. Textile is worth your while

Textile is also another great way to beautify your home. You can have a lot of choices of curtains, carpets, table cloths, rags, mats, sofa cushions, and more. You can try going with a theme so your home would not look like you just randomly choose textile for your home. Or if you already are going with a theme, try changing it for a different feel. A little change can make all the difference.

There’s really a lot to do with textile. The sky is truly the limit. Bring out the creativity from within you and make your house worth going home to every single day.

For best results, seek professional help.

 iStairs has always been amazed of homeowners who would want to put matters on their own hands. We come up with tips every now and them to help them out in their quest to beautify their homes. However, should you need any help along the way, iStairs would be more than glad to provide the professional help you need.

iStairs is your number one partner in bringing out the best in yor stairs. So for a truly wonderful staircase, just give iStairs a call and we will transform your staircase for you. Call us now!

Top 10 Stair Ideas for Small Spaces

Have you ever been in a home that has a particularly unique staircase or set of stairs, perhaps a beautifully stained wooden staircase or a one with a truly modern look, and been amazed as to how much character this one element adds to a house?

Conversely, have you ever seen a set of stairs that stood out because of its poor design or safety hazards? As is the case with many houses, the stairs are a feature that can really bring a home together (literally and figuratively) when they are constructed and designed with a smart approach and attention to detail. And while many homes do have your average size staircase between levels, stair design and construction becomes especially interesting and unique when doing so for small spaces! By installing or constructing stairs in small spaces, you can truly maximize the total area of a room by making it more functional; moreover, stairs which are nicely fitted into a small space can add the character that you want for your home!

Let’s take a look at 10 of the more popular stair ideas for small spaces, beginning with an idea for stairs in a tiny house!

  1. Built-in stairs that double as storage ascending to loft in tiny house: Nothing is quite as space-efficient as a tiny house, and the stairs represent one of the most ideal features for living in an exceptionally small space. The design of these small space stairs function as normal stairs, with the added feature of having pullout drawers underneath each individual stair. By simply pulling out the drawer, you extend the length of the tread, and by releasing the latch keeping the top in place; you can instantly have access to the storage space underneath.
  2. Simple wooden plank stairs instead of a ladder with built in storage features: This small space stair design works well in tight corners that have vertical access to an upper level loft or attic. With 3 initial stairs leading to a quarter landing, the stairs then turn 180 degrees at the angle a ladder would, all the while providing you potential storage space where before you had none.
  3. Retractable attic ladder/stairway: A rigid and sliding staircase design that extends directly from the hatchway in your ceiling, and folds comfortably up into the ceiling when not in use, making it ideal for small spaces, like your garage or attic for instance.
  4. Space saving modular staircase: Perfect for lofts and tiny homes alike, this staircase design is made with adjustable steps and alternating tread for true space efficiency and is functional, while still being easy to install for homeowners. This staircase design works well for both straight line installations as well as installations that require turns.
  5. Efficient spiral staircase designs: By design, the spiral staircase takes up much less space than the traditional style staircase and as such, a spiral staircase is ideal for operating in small spaces and can be installed practically anywhere simply as a result of its size and shape. A spiral staircase is also one of the few staircase designs that are not constrained by room location.
  6. Bookshelf that doubles as a space-efficient staircase: One of the more popular staircase designs for small spaces in one that essentially uses the space underneath the actual stairs as bookshelves, making it look like one cohesive staircase-bookshelf, giving you the space- saving attributes of a small staircase while at the same time, giving you an aesthetically pleasing place to store your books.
  7. Switchback stairs with incorporated storage units: This staircase design is suitable for spaces that require a turnaround around the initial landing, and is also efficient because of all the potential areas to install storage space underneath the stairs, either in the form of drawers, cabinets, even tiny closets!
  8. A child’s loft bed complete with desk and small staircase: This unique and fun design is special because it takes the idea of a bunk bed and increases its overall function and appeal, as it has safe stairs assenting to the upper loft, while underneath is installed with a child-size desk with multiple storage components. The stairs are compact but perfect for this type of system.
  9. Simple ladder system for access to small loft: While this staircase design is more in the mold of a traditional ladder, the use of handrails, its wide tread, and ease of use make this small staircase ideal for access to a free standing loft that is not very high up.
  10. Quick access steps up to attic: If you have a small attic hatchway but no realistic way of angling a ladder to fit, you can always widen the hatchway and complete the process with a quick installation of a staircase mounted to the wall, this way you have a long-term solution to the problem of the hazardous ladder maneuvering.

Installing a Carpet on Stairs

While many homeowners may not spend much time thinking about carpet selection when they are talking about stairs, the process of carpet installation for your stairs is actually critical to the overall function and safety of the stairs themselves. Not only does a carpet runner look fantastic on a beautiful wooden staircase, there are multiple other reasons why having carpet installed on your stairs is a practical idea.

First and foremost, carpet helps to reduce the overall wear and tear experienced by the stairs by protecting them from scratches, dents, and dirt, while at the same time functioning as a safety feature by increasing grip and traction for everyone using the stairs. Additionally, installing a carpet runner along your stairs is a noise reducer, a feature that many families come to appreciate after the fact!

In order to get a better understanding of the process of installing carpet on the stairs of your home, here is a brief breakdown of some of the important steps involved in this do it yourself stairs project.

Consult with an expert prior to beginning the project: You need to be sure you are making the right decisions in terms of the type of carpet and related materials you choose to use, especially which type of carpet material would be the most appropriate stair runner, given the design of the stairs in your home. Likewise, it is a good idea to consult with an expert when it comes to choosing the type of padding, as this layer is key in comfort ability and noise reduction.

Familiarize yourself with the basic terminology and construction of a staircase: The tread of the stairs is where your feet walk on, while the riser is the part rising vertically from the back of the tread, and the protrusion of the tread over the riser at the front is most wooden staircases is then called the nose. Some staircases have intermediate landings, and every staircase has handrails, which are fixed atop the balusters and the newels, or sometimes directly into an adjacent wall. Acquire the appropriate tools for carpet installation: Some of those tools include a tack hammer, framer square, rubber hammer, carpet tool or dull chisel and knee kicker, which is tool used to stretch carpet, as well as a solid supply of carpet glue if you plan on cutting carpet. You will also be using what are known as tackless strips to anchor the carpet in place, a thin piece of wood that is studded with dozens of nails.

When installing the carpet, first attach the tackless strips and prepare the padding: Since stairs are typically 76.2cm wide, the carpet runner needs to be 66cm wide, with the tackless strips measuring 62cm. Simply measure the width of the stair, then subtract the width of the runner, and divide by two. Then, measure this distance on the stair and then mark it, being sure to use the framer square for a square line. The tackless strips will then be attached to the back of the treads, making sure that they are centered and that the barbs of the strips face the risers.

Cut the pad accurately and attach with precision: The pad must be cut so that it can run from the edge of the tackless strip to the underside of the nose, and when attaching, use a staple gun to butt the pad right up against the tackless strip.

Square your runner and begin by rolling it out at one end: While it doesn’t matter if you start at the top or the bottom of the stairs, it does matter that your runner lines up with the marks and remains square. After lining the runner up against it’s marks, position the knee kicker so that it is directly across from where the riser meets the tread, and once your knee puts pressure on the tool, the runner should then attach to the tackless strip, if a bulge appears, lift up and try again. Once it’s aligned, you can use the rubber mallet and chisel to tightly pack the runner against the riser, and then staple the runner directly to the stair. Repeat this process until the runner is completely attached.

Stairs Makeover 101: Replacing Your Carpet With Hardwood

Sometimes, we’re not just happy with what our stairs look like. Sometimes, our whole house is dazzling and then when you glance upon the stairs, you just know that something’s wrong there. Most cases where the homeowner is not happy with their stairs are the following:

  1. They bought a previously owned house and they have a different preference than the old homeowners;
  2. They bought a new house but it was finished and the designer had different taste than theirs;
  3. The stairs has gone boring over time; or
  4. The carpet of the stairs had been stained or torn.

If you’re not happy with your what your stairs look like, maybe it’s time for a stairs makeover! Your stairs deserve a transformation too!

In this article, we will give you tips on how to remodel a carpeted staircase into a hardwood staircase. Let’s start your staircase makeover now!

NOTE FROM ISTAIRS: First of all, determine whether this project is within your capabilities.

iStairs appreciates those who know that their stairs are a big part of their home and want to create a staircase masterpiece on their own. But if this makeover is beyond your abilities, consider getting professional help. iStairs can assure you that we can transform your carpeted staircase into a stunning hardwood staircase. But if you believe that your DIY skills is up for the challenge, then give it a go.

Just make sure that if you get stuck along the way, it’s best not to aggravate the situation and just call iStairs for help. If you have custom staircase, then you would most likely need our help. Always remember that iStairs is just a call away, ready to give your stairs a complete transformation.

If you believe that this project is well within your limits, then here are the steps to follow in your carpet to hardwood makeover:

  1. Out with the old.

Remove the carpeting, banisters, and spindles. Make sure you are left with bare stairs. No railings, just the treads and the risers.

  1. In with the new.

Measure each tread carefully and accurately and cut your hardwood into the measurements. After measuring, cut the hardwood, then install them. Make sure that each hardwood is securely installed. If possible, also change the wall moldings of your staircase.

  1. Beautify your new stairs.

After installing hardwood into each step, it’s time to work on making your stairs an eye candy. Stain and or paint the risers and the hardwood into your desired color. Your risers can be the same color as your hardwood but painting your risers white can make a beautiful work of art, giving more emphasis to the hardwood. Re-install the railings and make sure your rails and newels match with the hardwood for a perfect look.

  1. Enjoy your new stairs.

Your new staircase is bound to be beautiful. Hardwood truly is a strong and wonderful staircase design. Again, if you need help in any of the steps in giving your staircase a makeover, just give us a call.

DIY Stair Project

Believe it or not, the staircase is actually one of the main visual focus points of your home, and even the smallest of changes or remodels to the stairs can offer a big improvement.

An outdated staircase can be an eyesore, so why not look into some creative ways of improving your staircase today?

So if you are considering a new stairs project as a way to improve the aesthetics of your house, don’t rush into hiring an expensive contractor just yet! Instead, look into the variety of do-it-yourself projects and improvements you yourself can do. With a little creativity and some basic equipment and labor, you can completely change the look and style of any set of stairs and add some unique flair to your home!

From a simple staircase makeover, to a more complex remodel of a set of stairs, the possibilities for DIY stair projects are endless.

Take an old wooden style banister with carpeted stairs for example; one way of improving this staircase would be the DIY stairs project of painting and staining the stair railing a modern black, followed by removing the outdated carpet and painting the risers and steps black as well. A project of this size is likely to be accompanied by other DIY makeovers in the areas surrounding the staircase, as you will want to match the appropriate color schemes and designs to your new and improved stairs.

A simpler way of adding some flair to your set of stairs is with the addition of a runner, or the rug and rug pad that runs through the middle of the typically wooden stairs to add cushion and noise reduction. You can create this DIY stairs project with the appropriate materials in very little time!

There are so many unique and creative ways to remodel handrails for DIY stairs projects as well, and while several require more time and money than others depending upon the size of the project and the type of material, it’s nearly always a good idea when you choose to invest in your home by creating something of your very own design inside.

Consider remodeling the railing of your staircase with anything from repurposed old wooden doors, stainless steel cables, to even glass enclosed in a wooden frame. Another way to remodel one of the sections of a staircase railing is simply to create a bookshelf in place of the balusters, handrails, and shoe rails, typically at either the top of the stairs, or at the bottom landing of the stairs.

DIY stairs projects like the bookshelf-railing idea are ideal because they are beautiful to look at, and they function as a space-saver for storage purposes as well.

Looking for a way to keep your toddler or pet from getting up or down the stairs, but haven’t found an affordable one in stores that actually works? Well, a DIY stairs project could be just the solution you are looking for, because there are multiple cheap and creative ways to create a functional do-it-yourself baby gate for your staircase! For a spiral staircase, you can create a baby gate that slides back and forth and rests between the spindles simply by fastening a length of fabric to PVC pipes.

For something a bit more artsy, you can repurpose a barn door, old kitchen door, or wooden pallet and attach it with hinges and a lock to the bottom of stairs, almost like a garden gate.

 

How to Build Stairs

When it comes to designing and constructing a quality staircase, the old carpenter’s adage of ‘always measure twice and cut once’, is something you will need to remember and practice throughout the entire process on how to build stairs.

Since functionality is the most important element of a staircase for basic safety reasons, it is imperative to make precise and accurate measurements and cuts when designing and constructing your stair design. But prior to actually starting the process of stair design, be sure to consult both local and national building code requirements to be certain that your staircase will be safe and up to all standards. Remember: the art of the carpenter-built stair is not one easily mastered, so it will take more than the basic information presented here to understand the more nuanced details of measuring and cutting.

A Guide on How to Build Stairs

There are several measurements you will need to calculate and verify in order to complete your stair design, here are some of the fundamental measurements you will need:

  • The size of your stairwell, leaving sufficient headroom so as to have enough space for your head when walking up and down the stairs (believe it or not, it is actually not uncommon for carpenters to forget this calculation only to realize at the end of construction that the stairwell is too short!).
  • The number of risers (the vertical space between the treads) and the number of treads (the horizontal walking surface).
  • The length of the stairwell-the width of the upper floors vertical shaft in which the stairs are located).

Once all of the calculations and measurements have been checked and rechecked, it is time to start assembling your stair design. Here are the main constructing steps, summarized but not limited to the following 11 steps:

  1. Lay out the stringers, which are the support of the treads and risers, by setting the rise and run of the stair on the framing square.
  2. Mark off the number of treads and risers, being sure to start with the first riser and end with the top riser, followed drawing in the second floor line.
  3. Repeat for all 3 of the risers.
  4. Double check the stair design by making any necessary final adjustments to the stringers, after taking into account any changes to the top and bottom risers.
  5. Once the stringers are correctly laid out, it’s time to cut the triangle portions off of the framing square. Check the accuracy of the stringers by placing them together to see if they align; if they do not, you must make adjustments.
  6. Position the right and left stringers on top of the 1-by-12 inch skirt boards, which are nailed together, so then the stringers, can be nailed directly on top of the dry wall (if no dry wall, you must fill out the stringers to the thickness of the wall and nail or screw in place).
  7. Mount the center stringer to the top of the header and the blocking at the floor.
  8. After the stringers are in place double check all the tread cuts for level and plumb, in every direction, and also to make sure that the top and bottom risers allow for the finished tread height.
  9. Next, rip and nail the risers into place and then glue them as well.
  10. After cutting the treads to the correct length, glue and nail them into place.
  11. Finally, you will likely need to mount a handrail, be sure to mount it all 34 inches above the leading edge of the tread, and that it contains a wall rail bracket screwed into a stud or backing every 4 feet.

Building stairs can be a difficult and confusing task. That is why iStairs is ready to help you get the stair design you want. Call us today to find out how we can take care of everything for you!

How to Paint Your Stair Design

Having someone paint your stairs can be a little costly. If you have some spare time, and if you think you are skilled enough, then you can consider painting your stairs yourself. Not only will you be able to save money, but it will give you a proud feeling when you finish painting your beautiful stairs, with a stair design that you thought of, and you worked on by yourself.

So get your paint and brush and let’s start on the stair painting project as you follow these easy steps from iStairs Stair Design:

Step 1: Conceptualize on your stair design

Would you opt a solid color? Or do you want to play with different colors? Get your thinking cap on and decide on the stair design that would work for you. For more ideas, you can check out our blog post, Great Ways to Decorate your Stairs, which you can find in this link. Stair designs are great if it jives with your house. So if you need help in deciding on what stair design suits your house, you can always seek iStairs for help.

Step 2: Get the materials you need.

Now that you know what stair design you want, go grab the materials at the nearest hardware store.  Make sure that you have the right paint color, and the right brushes so you can have perfectly painted stairs.

Porch and floor paints are good choices for painting your stairs. These are more durable and comes in high-gloss or stain, which would make your stairs very beautiful.

For safety purposes, purchase a slip-resistant additive as well. This will help prevent slipping for your stairs. Don’t worry, this mixes well with your paint. Your stairs will be both safe and beautiful!

Step 3: Clean your stairs and fix minor damages

Before starting on actually painting your stairs, do clean it thoroughly. Remove foreign materials from your stairs. If your staircase was once carpeted, ensure that staples are completely removed. For your safety, do remember to use pliers when removing staples!

If you find holes in your stairs, you can use putty or wood filler to fill them in. If your staircase is made of cement, epoxy would do – just make sure that it is made for filling up holes!

When cleaning the stairs, sweep them, vacuum them, then wash them. If your stairs are rough, you may want to sand it smooth. Once your stairs are squeaky clean, you’re ready to go with that paint job!

Step 4: Paint away!

Here comes the fun part: the actual painting! Paint every other stair so you won’t step on wet paint. Once the first set dried up, paint the unpainted set. Apply a second coat for a more durable paint job. Always make sure that you dry your paint well enough before putting the second coat and ensure that you have uniform shade all over if you decide to have a solid-colored staircase.

If you are in need any assistance in stair design, give iStairs a call! We can help renew your space by building and installing beautiful wooden or specially stairs that will make you love the space you live or work in!

Stair Design 101: Installing A Stair Handrail

Anyone can build a house, but it takes a little something to build a home. When it comes to turning your house into a home, there’s a very special feeling you get when you know you did a part of your house yourself.

How To Install a Stair Design Handrail

A simple stair handrail may not be too special, but knowing that you installed it yourself will make it the best handrail around. So let’s start with your DIY handrail installation!

Step 1: Do the necessary preparations

If you already have a previous handrail and you just want to replace it, it will be a lot easier than if you would have to install a handrail for the first time. We wouldn’t recommend installing the first handrail by yourself because you might end up spending a lot more than if you have specialists working on it. Most of the time, the reason why you would want to replace your stair handrail is because you’re trying to change your stair design. Or, if the installers placed a handrail that does not much the stair design you have. (Friendly note, you would never have mismatched stairs and handrails with iStairs).

So if you ever have a need to replace your stair handrails, the first thing you need to do is to plan your handrail installation project. Think of the handrail you wish to install. Does it match your stair design? Is it made of high quality material? Are your brackets screwed tight enough? Do these checks to ensure that your handrail will be able to provide the support that it should provide. Should you need help in matching handrails to a stair design of your liking, iStairs can surely help you.

If you have old rickety brackets or loose screws, replace them with new ones to ensure that you will have a perfectly steady handrail.

Step 2: Cut and install the handrail

When you have chosen the handrail that fits your stair design, buy the perfect material for it. Make sure to measure it accurately so it will fit correctly. Make sure to properly saw the ends of each handrail and also make sure that it will perfectly fit with where you wish to install it. Screw your handrail tightly and securely to avoid accidents and to ensure that you have a handrail that you can count on.

Step 3: Sand and coat the handrail

Make sure to sand your handrail smooth so that you won’t get scraped off when you use it, even if you’re in a hurry. Don’t miss the bottom of the handrail!

Coat your new handrail with varnish and stain to give it a good shine. Once dry, buff it up for the perfect look.

ENJOY YOUR NEW HANDRAIL

There you have it. Your DIY Handrail installation project is complete. Should you need more technical help, you can always ask iStairs for help. It’s always great to be able to do things yourself, but to ensure that everything’s done efficiently, call the experts at iStairs and we can send our professionals to help you install the perfect handrails for your home!