Installation

Choosing a staircase is a lot of work, and requires an experienced designer and contractor to do well. Know about what to look out for in choosing your materials, placement, and design.

iStairs Stair Parts

April 22, 2016

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.

Sources

How to choose the right staircase company

To create a monumental staircase it takes more than a truly unique design and exceptional materials; bringing a beautiful staircase to life requires a knowledgable staircase company who can also offer a comprehensive set of construction services. And when it comes to finding a trusted staircase company for the job, keep in mind that the following qualities are characteristics to look for:

Knowledgeable design and engineering teams

A staircase company with the skills can only construct a truly monumental staircase and the expertise to create it, so when choosing the right company to partner with it’s important to find a company like iStairs with experienced design and engineering teams that can bring your vision to life. And when working with the creative design and engineering teams at iStairs, no staircase is too big of a challenge to handle!

Attention to detail and building regulations

Now when in the business of staircase design and construction, a highly qualified contractor is one who never stops thinking about safety and passing all building codes and regulations with flying colors, which is why the entire team at iStairs remains dedicated to producing beautifully made staircases according to the highest safety standards in the industry.

Comprehensive approach to staircase construction

Whether dealing with design and construction, acquisitions of materials, construction management, or customer communication, each step in the process of building a unique staircase requires attention to detail and inclusive management practices to get all members of the team on the same page. At iStairs, all teams and departments work as a comprehensive unit in order to streamline the construction process and work towards the continued satisfaction of our clients.

So when you’ve decided to create a one of a kind staircase, why take a chance on a staircase company without all the above qualities? Give us a call today to see how we can help you bring your staircase vision to life!

Keep the Kids Safe this Holiday Season

Now that the Holiday’s are in full swing and Christmas parties are being planned, it’s a good time to refresh ourselves and our families on some common sense safety tips, especially for the youngest of us in the bunch! With all of the merry-making going on, it can be easy to forget about some of the simple ways we can look out for the safety of our little ones while on Christmas break this year. Let’s take a look at 3 simple safety tips below for a quick reminder.

  1. Clear those stairs of clutter! A few decorations and tinsel is always festive, but remember to keep your staircase free from clutter including shoes and clothes, and things that tend to pile up on the stairs, as one small slip on the stairs could result in a big fall! Don’t make it tempting for the kids to play on the stairs by leaving toys and things to slide on either, as many accidents happen when kids try to play and slide down the stairs or railing.
  2. Invest in baby gates: Even if you don’t have a crawling baby, lots of traffic from kids a running up and down the stairs can be a recipe for disaster. Installing baby gates at the top and bottom of the stairs can hep prevent accidents by slowing the kids down as they move from upstairs to downstairs. Bonus: Baby gates also help to keep pets in rooms as well (at least for dogs anyways!)
  3. Show your kids how to be safe on the stairs: Kids sometimes just need a reminder when it comes to safety so this holiday season show all the kids in your house how to safely go up and down the stairs, reminding them to use the handrail and to be careful when wearing socks as stairs can be slippery! When hosting a party at your house, try to keep an eye on the kid-traffic going on at the stairs, because as previously mentioned, kids really do like to play on stairs!

There are of course several more ways to keep your house and kids safe this Christmas season, but don’t forget the less often thought of areas like the stairs when making sure your kids will be safe this during the holidays!

Do I need a Professional Railing Installer?

Every now and then, we release tips and guides for those who would opt to work on their homes. Do-it-yourself or DIY projects are very popular and we try to help those who are interested in them to use their own skills and knowledge. We at iStairs, one of the best known names in Sacramento for stair installation, are particularly fond of people who are inclined to DIY projects. For some people, DIY works, but for some, they end up coming up with results that are way different than what they intend to do.

When it comes to railing installation, when really does one need professional help? Is railing installation a task that can be entrusted to yourself?

The answers to the above questions depend on the complexity of the stair and the railing that you wish to install. Take note, however, that your mathematical and carpentry skills will be taken to the test!

If you believe that you have what it takes to be able to install your stair railings properly, then your DIY railing project may just be a success. But if you are worried about how your railings will turn out to be, then you should consider getting professional help from top Sacramento stair installation companies such as iStairs!

Things to consider when deciding whether or not to get professional railing installer

If you are still thinking whether or not you will need professional help with your railing installation, then the following may help you decide:

  1. Installing a full balustrade railing is like a giant puzzle.

 A lot of us learned to construct with puzzles and with blocks. Installing railings is somehow like playing with puzzles, only with giant pieces, and you will need lots of different tools to install a full balustrade railing.

  1. You will need knowledge on different stair parts.

Not all railings are the same. Depending on the design you chose, and the type of stairs you have, you will need different materials for your railings. If you opt to continue with your DIY railing installation project, our friendly staff at iStairs will gladly help you out in choosing the right parts.

  1. You will need different tools.

You will also need to be familiar with the different tools needed for rail installation. Not only will you need to know your tools, but you need to have such tools. A professional railing installer is equipped with the needed tools but how about you, do you have what you need for a DIY railing installation?

Finally, you will also need to know how to use these tools so that you can come up with the desired output.

So, do you need a professional railing installer?

With above considerations, you will now have a better idea whether or not you can do the railing installation yourself. If you think that you lack the needed skill or knowledge required to successfully install railings, then you really do need to get professional help.

For the best partner in railing installations, get in touch with Sacramento’s number one stairs installation company, iStairs!

iStairs will help you with all your stair needs. With our help, your railings will be installed perfectly! iStairs is excited and willing to help those that are wish to do their railing projects themselves by giving tips on how to do the job right. But for those who need professional help, iStairs is ready to serve!

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.

Installing New Stair Treads and Railings

iStairs wants to help those who share the passion of making stairs and DIY projects. In this article, we will teach you how to upgrade your current stairs to a more beautiful staircase by installing new treads and railings.

Step 1: Prepare the tools and materials you need.

For stair treads and railings installation, you will need the following:

Tools: Tape measure, drill, hand stapler, drill, drill bits, tapping block, rubber mallet and pneumatic finish nailer.

Materials: Stair treads, handrail, risers, balusters, wood flooring, support brace, lag bolts, wood putty, screws and finish nails.

Step 2: Cut your stair treads and install them.

Depending on your stair case design, your treads will be of slightly different sizes. Measure each thread to fit its place perfectly. Cut as measured.

After you cut your tread, it’s time to install them. In installing treads, always start from the bottom and start your way up from there. Screw them tightly and securely. You should consider adding a brace between the stringers on the top step for added support.

Step 3: Install your newel posts

For half newel posts, have your posts pre-drilled and also make sure to prepare holes on your walls for toggle bolts. Then insert screws for toggle bolts and then attach the toggles on the other side. Insert toggles to the wall and then tighten the screws.

For newel posts, position the post securely with lag bolts.

Step 4: Cut the rail

With your treads and newels installed, it’s time to measure the railing. Mark it for an angled cut, and then cut it. For an accurate cut, mark the rail as you rest it along the stairs.

Step 5: Install your balusters

After having your rail cut, you don’t immediately install it. You need to install the balusters first. Have your treads pre-drilled for the balusters. Use a stair bit that creates a thread to accept the baluster bolts. As for the balusters, drill on the center and insert baluster bolts there. Securely screw your balusters to your treads.

Steps 6: Attach your railing

With your balusters and newels in place, it’s time to attach the railing. Attach rail fasteners to the newel posts. Guide your railing to the rail fasteners and insert the balusters to the holes on the railing.

Step 7: Tidy up your project

Now that you have installed your new stair treads and railings, tidy it up for a clean look. Make sure to fill screw holes with matching wood putty. You may also consider installing new base moldings for a better look.

Seek professional help as needed

iStairs love people who take stairs seriously. True enough, stairs can be a work of art and it can make you proud to have built your own stairs – your own masterpiece.

But always make sure that you seek professional help when you need it. You will need a well-built staircase and you should consider asking for help when you’re not sure how to do a specific step.

And who is the best to ask for help? iStairs of course! So just give us a call and we will give the help you need!

iStairs Stair Parts

As one of the main statement pieces of your home, the staircase is a focal point that can really set a home’s interior apart. If you are looking for a Sacramento stairs company to assist you in a stairs project or stairs renovation for your house, then iStairs is just the company you need! Whether you are in need of a specific type of stair part in a design that matches the unique style of your custom staircase, or need help with an entire stair-remodeling project, iStairs is practically a one-stop-shop for any and all Sacramento stairs related issues.

iStairs is one of Northern California’s most trusted companies when it comes to providing a comprehensive selection of high quality stair parts for custom staircases, home renovations, as well as the average do-it-yourself projects. The wide variety of stair parts offered by iStairs is one of the reasons why we are one of the premier Sacramento stairs companies, in addition to the fact that our products are made of only the highest quality materials.

iStairs provides a variety of stair parts and accessories which are guaranteed to give you the aesthetic look you want and quality you deserve, all at a price you can afford! From staircase accessories like rosettes, wood newels, and iron baluster shoes, to unique products like our selection of Bruno Stair Lifts, you are guaranteed to find whatever stair part it is that you are looking for at iStairs. Additionally, iStairs has the expert contractors and installers to help you with putting your new stair parts together!

Here are just a few of the other stair parts and products offered and supplied by Sacramento Stairs Company, iStairs:

  • Fittings: for both post-to-post and over-the-post rail systems
  • Handrail products: several different profiles and sizes available
  • Hardware and tools: wall brackets for mounting rails to the wall, and tools such as
    stair wrenches, bolt drivers, and other tools specific to staircase projects
  • Newels and posts: available in a wide assortment of styles and types.
  • Skirtboard, trim, and moulding: various pieces and accent parts, which help pull together a finished, look for a custom staircase.
  • Spiral staircase products: iStairs also provides spiral staircase installation services.
  • Treads, risers, and caps: all of the essential staircase components are available in an array of styles.
  • Staircase renovation and remodeling: not only does iStairs provide homeowners with exceptional staircase products and tools, but we also lead the Sacramento stairs industry when it comes to custom staircase design and installation–from complete do-it-yourself projects to having your entire staircase refinished, our dedicated team of professionals is committed to doing the job well.

So whether you need to just get a quick quote or an estimate on a staircase project or part, are trying to find a unique staircase design for your home renovations, or simply want to consult a professional for some advice about the stairs in your home, your best bet will always be with the friendly and knowledgeable staff at the Sacramento stair company, iStairs.

What to Look For when Hiring a Stairs Company

When researching the right company to help you in planning and constructing a staircase for your home, you must choose wisely and carefully because the stairs are an important element of your home that require precise measurements and quality construction.

There are a handful of key ways to identify a quality stair company that can be trusted, so if you are seeking to have a new stair design constructed in your home you need to know how to choose a certified and reliable place of business.

Hiring a Sacramento Stair Company Checklist

So when hiring a stairs company to come and work in your home, be sure that they meet all of the following standards:

  1. Examples of previous work: A quality stairs company will proudly display a collection of their work online so as to show future customers their previous stair designs and workmanship. If a stairs company does not have a way for you to access pictures of their previous work, consider looking elsewhere.
  2. Knowledgeable staff: One sure way to test if the salesperson with whom you are consulting knows what they are doing and is being straightforward is to as them all of the right questions; for example, by seeing how they respond to the proposal of a physically impossible dimension of a stair design (such as 8 inch risers), you can gage whether or not you are really dealing with a legitimate stair company.
  3. Positive reactions to unsatisfied customers: Since it is unrealistic to assume every single job performed by a stairs company was 100 percent satisfactory to every single customer, look at how the company’s negative reviews were received and responded to by the company itself, in order to see how they treat even unsatisfied customers.
  4. Will they complete the job on the stair design, including finishing and staining: Believe it or not, not all stair companies will complete the job with a staining and finishing process and many homeowners end up having to hire another company entirely to complete the step of finishing and staining, so if the company you are looking at does not do the job 100 percent, find one who will!
  5. Do they allow for a meeting with an owner or manager if making a large purchase?: A quality stairs company will gladly make the time to meet with a valued customer should they receive ample notice, so if you are not feeling like a priority to the company you are paying good money to, you should look elsewhere!

Now that you know exactly what to look for when hiring a stairs company to execute the stair design of your dreams, you can narrow the search down even more and get you that much closer to construction!

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!

DIY vs Hiring a Sacramento Stairs Contractor

A stair remodeling project is by no means a simple task so if you find yourself contemplating the DIY approach for a construction task of this magnitude, make sure you are fully prepared for what you will be in for! While doing a stairway remodel on your own is likely to save you a considerable amount of money on labor-related costs, the benefits associated with a DIY approach do not necessarily outweigh the costs of hiring a professional contractor. There are a few key elements to stairway remodel you must keep in mind when you are choosing between the options of hiring a professional or the DIY method. But remember, no matter what option you decide, make sure to still consult the experts at a Sacramento stair company for any questions and advice! [Read more…]