Remodeling

Remodeling your stairs is a great way to freshen up the look of your house, but remodeling should go beyond design – it has have function that equals its form. There some factors we tend to overlook, and for that, we’re providing your with tips and other guidelines that can help you on your next stair remodeling project,

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.

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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.

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?

How a custom staircase can makeover your home

Staircases are one of the most versatile pieces of your home’s structure. In some spaces, they are the showcases of a grand entrance hall. In others, they are simply a required element in the home that blends into the rest of the house.

No matter how you incorporate your staircase’s design, you want it to enhance your home. There are a few things to think about when it comes to custom staircases.

Space: When you decide to build a custom staircase, you first have to look at the space that is available to you. If you have a small area, a spiral staircase might be your best bet. If you have a large front entry you have a lot more space to be able to put wide stairs with a number of different types of railings for effect. Having a spiral staircase in the corner of a small room can add texture where a blank corner would have just looked drab and empty.

Access: After determining the space allowance for your stairs, you need to look at the access to your stairs. In smaller access areas, you aren’t going to want huge banisters that make it difficult to maneuver around. You will need to go with something sleek and more minimalistic to fit in the area allowed. Again if you have a small access area, going with no railing might be an option to open up the access area. There are lots of different ways to design around your access point. Adding flair and paying attention to detail in your access points can really make your staircase a true focal point. Especially if you have a large access point, having a large staircase with an impressive banister can open the area up and really draw your eyes to your staircase.

Material and Design: When deciding what type of material and design you want for your stairs, it is wise to look around and figure out what the design of the rest of your house is and fit your custom staircase into that design scheme. If you have a country style house, you aren’t going to want an intricate metal railing. You would want to go more with a wooden type banister to fit in with the rest of the wood in your house. If your house is more modern there is a large variety of new designs and colors available to truly customize your stairs to your surroundings and your personality. This is where you can truly make the area of your house with your staircase a showstopper. There are so many different materials available these days, and the designs are endless when customizing.

Economic: Staircases can range from the low end of cost with DIY pre-fabricated kits, to very high-end expensive hand crafted. Being aware of your budget and what you are able to afford will help determine what material and design you will use for your custom staircase. If you choose the DIY route, be aware that if anything breaks it is up to you to fix it. Most staircase companies offer some type of warranty. This can be very helpful in the future if something breaks or is not how it was intended to be.

Versatility: Staircases can be used for more that just walking from one floor of a house to another. Staircases can be transformed into bookshelves, or moveable walls that lead to hidden rooms. You can cut a hole in your floor and add a spiral staircase tucked away in the corner that leads down to a wine cellar, or basement when there is limited space available for a larger staircase.

There are many different design options available when customizing your staircase that allow you to create a beautiful stair that you would be proud to show off.

Top traits of modern railing systems

A beautiful staircase has the potential of becoming a stunning focal point in any home. In fact, the staircase is an accent piece by nature. It has been an eye-catching element from the beginning and, as its design evolved over the years, its status never changed. In fact, it became more and more important and interior designers have made it the star of many of their projects.

A beautiful staircase is defined by several different aspects. The design is, of course, very important. But, most often, it’s the handrail that makes it stand out. The handrail has gradually transformed from a simple element designed to provide safety and protection to a wonderful and chic design detail. In the new modern design it does goes without says that less is more when designing your railing. Minimalistic designs can still be chic and provide an elegant focal point. Many modern staircase railing designs incorporate industrial materials such as glass and steel. Simple color palettes, open spaces, and geometric elements are common modern design aspects as well.

Using a modern stainless steel handrail system, that can compliment free-standing stairs, can be very beneficial if you have a small living space. Using this open riser construction concept can allow unobstructed vies across your space. The steel bars can also allow additional openness and add to your space’s modern appeal.

Another option for free-standing stairs is to have a sleek glass railing that is of course designed and constructed for ultimate safety and quality. Using glass can further open your space and help to make your space appear larger than it really is.

Using a cable rail is an excellent way to accent a straight stair. These unique staircase systems can include a combination of open and closed risers, with the upper segment open and transitioning to closed risers below. The parallel lines of the stainless steel cable railing offer a simple contemporary look.

The staircase is also a design element that provides you with the opportunity to add an artistic touch to the décor. Even though they are quite rare, staircases that are entirely made of metal can be an interesting focal point. They usually have an industrial-inspired look. You would want to make sure that the rest of your house was designed in the same fashion so your staircase doesn’t look random and like it doesn’t belong in the space.

A very common combination in the case of modern staircases is that between wood and metal. That’s because the resulting design is usually somewhere between classical and contemporary. If you are remodeling and want to do something new to your staircase, this is the easiest option. Tearing out a railing but keeping wood stairs is an inexpensive option to turn an old staircase into something breathtaking. Wood staircases can easily be stained or painted to match the rest of the house, while the railing can be torn out and changed to add some personality to your staircase.

Whatever you decide to do to your staircase, make sure that it includes your personality and flair, because you will be looking at it everyday!

Choosing Between Spiral and Straight Staircases

Straight or spiral staircases?: Which design is the best choice for your home

If you’re moving into a new home, or are remodeling your house then chances are that you have already thought about how important the staircase is to complete your home. And since there are a number of staircase designs and materials to choose from, you want to make sure that you find a staircase that fits the style of your home and the needs of your family.

Two of the more popular staircase designs are straight and spiral staircases, each of which have their own pros and cons. To help you learn more about straight and spiral staircases and what the advantages and disadvantages of both types are, we have compared some of their features below.

Pros of spiral staircases include:

  • Spiral staircases offer a modern and space-saving alternative to the inefficient layout of other traditional stair designs, providing more efficient floor access than the average layout.
  • A traditional flight of straight or winding stairs can eat up lots of area in a room, making it difficult to perform the full range of activities that you would like to in your home. A spiral staircase on the other hand, virtually cuts the amount of space being taken up by the actual stairs in half due to the corkscrew design.
  • A spiral staircase can be placed in any corner of your house, unlike a traditional staircase which has a limited amount of placement options.
  • Moreover, the spiral staircase design is safe and timelessly attractive. A spiral staircase can be implemented in almost any small space, inside and outside.

Pros of straight staircases include:

  • Straight staircases can be designed for any interior design style; 3 of the straight staircase designs made primarily from metal include:

-Single stringer (also known as mono stairs): straight staircases made with single stringers are usually the most popular among straight stair designs, and for good reason too, as a single stringer staircase is incredibly durable, and precisely engineered.

-Double-stringer: this staircase design is ideal for creating an open, unique look that is also an economically sound option for homeowners.

-Pan-type: a pan staircase design can be designed as an architectural addition to your home, or simply used as an industrial set of stairs for a garage or workshop, and can be filled with stone, cement, or tile treads.

Additional factors to take into consideration:  

  • Materials: While a professional staircase contractor can engineer stairs out of most construction materials, contemporary spiral staircases are typically made with steel or plywood, while straight staircases are more than often made from hardwood with carpet on the treads. The key is to choose a staircase material that will fit with your interior design, your budget, and your family’s needs.
  • Safety: Spiral staircases are by no means dangerous and when engineered and installed by a professional staircase company, they are just as safe and secure as any other stair design; however, homes with small children or people with mobility issues may find a straight staircase a better fit for their needs.
  • Space: As previously mentioned, a spiral staircase is particularly efficient when it comes to space-saving, which is why it’s always a good idea to make sure you have the necessary floor space and plan prior to committing to a straight staircase design.

Please feel free to get in touch with your Sacramento stairs contractor, iStairs, if you have further questions about the differences between straight and spiral staircases.

Your Staircase Can Complete Your Home’s Décor

When redecorating the interior of your home, it’s easy to forget about incorporating the staircase into the design because we don’t usually think of the stairs when planning home improvements projects. It’s time to start rethinking the way we look at role our staircase can have in completing the overall décor of our homes. After all, the staircase is a focal point of the interior design of many homes so it makes perfect sense to use your staircase as a way of completing your home’s décor!

One of the first things you need to understand when deciding on what style of staircase will best complement your decor is the differences between the main types of design that staircases are modeled after, namely modern, contemporary, and industrial.

–Modern: Often referred to as Mid-Century Modern because the style harkens back to the 1920’s-1950’s, a staircase in the modern design would be one that is simple, sleek with straight lines and basic geometry in the curves and angles. A home with a modern sense of decor can be complemented by a functional staircase, with clean lines, and neutral colors and materials.
–Contemporary: Contemporary design on the other hand refers to a style that is always in flux based on what is in ‘in’ at the time, so whereas modern design is based on a specific time period, a contemporary decor focuses on bold color, neutral elements, and basic shapes and forms. Contemporary staircase trends include stainless steel and glass features.
–Industrial: One style that is on the rise in popularity is industrial interior design, and there are many creative and unique ways to complete your home’s overall industrial decor with a strong staircase design. The industrial look is often characterized by the use of rough and earthy metal and wood, utilitarian objects, and a combination of other styles to create a sort of warehouse, manufactured appearance.

Once you understand the difference between what the various styles have to offer in terms of your home’s interior decoration, you will then have a better feel for what type of staircase can best complement that design. A professional staircase contractor can also help you figure out a staircase design to complement the interior features and accents of your home, so don’t hesitate to ask for help before choosing a design!

Another option that is always available when it comes to improving the interior decor of your home is creating a custom staircase. Choosing a custom staircase is ideal for completing a redecorating project because you can design a custom staircase in any style that you desire, be it modern, contemporary, or industrial. A custom staircase design gives you the opportunity to make a unique statement with the interior of your home, and whether you are looking for a modern wooden open staircase or an industrial steel spiral staircase, working with your stairs contractor will give you all the opportunities you need to make the right choice for you and your home.

Contact iStairs for more information on how you can get the perfect stairs to go with your decor!

Anti-Skid Products for Stairs

Whether in your home or your office, safety should always be a top priority. Stairwells are inherently dangerous places as nearly everyone fall down a staircase at one point or another. Today, there are many ways of injury-proofing a staircase to make it a safer place and protect your friends, family and coworkers. Here we will review some of the simplest ways to make your stairs skid proof.

Anti-skid products are not too expensive and they are very simple to install. Such simple products are capable of preventing very serious accidents.

Anti-slip tape is an industrial-strength liner especially designed to increase the traction on any surface. This tape is designed in all varieties of shapes, widths, colors and textures, and you can apply it to almost any material. Although this tape is not always the most aesthetically pleasing addition it reducing danger greatly. This durable tape is a common choice for public staircases, such as schools and local government buildings. Any tape can be custom cut to fit perfectly to your staircase.

Another common option are rubber treads. These anti-skid treads are molded of top quality rubber and designed for mostly commercial and industrial use. These treads can also be trimmed to match the exact size of each step, but each Easily trim rubber treads on site to the exact size of each step. The tapered nosing allows for a better fit while the smooth rear border allows for easy cleaning and maintenance. This makes them an ideal option for use in heavily traveled public stairways including office buildings, condominiums, apartment buildings and retail stores.

Perhaps, you do not want to cover your entire stairs because, although you want to ensure safety, you are proud of your stairs and still want to show them off. For these circumstances, there are non slip nosing options. Nosings come in a variety of materials, including carpet, concrete, rubber, adhesive tape and even glow in the dark sightline material. These various treads fit just along the outer lip of each stair to provide traction and protection without compromising the beauty of your staircase.

Possibly the most aesthetically pleasing option is something relatively simple. There are certain paint products that rather than drying slick like an acrylic paint, they produce more traction once they dry. These final finishes can be applied after a staircase is completed to add an extra layer of protection. This serves the double purpose of improving safety for people and also extending the useful life of the stairs by shielding them from everyday use.

The process for applying this traction paint to a staircase is relatively simple and can be accomplished in only a few hours. Using a 3/8″ nap roller, evenly apply the paint to the treads and allow it to dry. The risers usually require a slightly different style, using an angled brush to evenly apply the paint. However, many people choose to only paint the outer lip of the treads to apply sort of a nosings effect. This is effective because it calls attention to the border of the stairs by expressly defining where the edge of the stair ends. This way, not only are the stairs equipped with more traction, but people are more aware and alert, which helps eliminate falls.

Why Balusters are Important to Staircases

If you’re currently in the process of having a custom staircase designed or installed in your home, then you are going to come to the point when you need to decide between installing your painted balusters at the same time as the stairs, or after.

First and foremost, you need to understand what these are, why they are an important component of your stair system. The balusters are the vertical shafts, sometimes called the stair spindle or stick, made of either metal or wood which stand on top of the unifying footing, while supporting the handrail of the stair system. Sacramento Staircase contractors and designers implement a variety of styles when creating balusters for custom staircases, so there are many looks to choose from.

If after choosing your staircase design and materials with your Sacramento stairs contractor you have decided to have a stair system with balusters in a contrasting material to that of the handrail and footing, then your Sacramento stairs contractor will need to know when you prefer to have the finished balusters installed, either with the staircase as a whole, or after they are painted and finished? In other words, if for example, you want an oak staircase with painted balusters, do you want it installed with the stair already pre-painted, or after once the stairs have been finished?

Installing Balusters

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you might want to have these installed at the same time as the stair for your custom staircase.

Basic structural strength of the staircase:

Staircase engineers will tell you that the structural integrity of the rail is at its optimum when the rail is set directly onto the balusters, rather than gluing the pre-finished balusters onto the rail after the stair has already been set into place. Having the balusters installed at the same time as the stair also helps to prevent dangerous, unnecessary rail movement, as well as allows for the proper amount of cure time before the staircase is used.

Safety concerns:

When you have it installed after your stair is finished, you run the risk of having an accident happen since there is a temporarily an empty spot where those should be.

Additional construction means more time:

Having the balusters installed after the stair also means that you need to remember to schedule additional time near the end of construction (i.e., when the painting process is about to start) to have the balusters installed, which basically just means more steps added to the process.

Consider the finished result:

The rails will need to be removed and then re-set if it is to be installed after the stair is finished, which means that much of the handy work, like the sanding off the joints, will also need to be redone.

 

Now you know just how important it is to the staircase unit as a whole, and you can be sure to ask your Sacramento stairs contractor and engineer the right questions regarding balusters and your custom staircase design. Call iStairs today to find out how we can help you build the perfect stairs for your home!