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Balusters or Banisters?

February 24, 2020

How to Silence Your Squeaky and Creaky Stairs

If you want to keep your midnight snack a secret, the first thing you need to do is fix your squeaky and creaky staircase. But before we reveal how to address this irritating or even spooky sound (especially in the dark), let’s first discuss its main cause. 

The creaking sound is mainly caused by the tread starting to rub against the riser. Over the years and due to wear and tear, the binds that keep them together can become unstuck, causing this spooky sound every time you take a step. The wooden section’s rubbing against a metal nail or screw may also be the one causing the irritating sound. 

Now that we have explained why your staircase produces this squeaky sound, now let’s delve into the methods that can help “silence” the problem. 

Fasten wood blocks or brackets from underneath

If your staircase allows easy access to the area beneath it, you can do this repair by using three small triangular wooden wedges (also called glue blocks) for each creaky step. First, apply wood glue to each block’s two shorter sides and then press it into the right angle between the riser and the treader. 

Afterward, place one glue block in the middle of the step and the other two at the opposite edges. Make sure that you remove all the air bubbles by slightly wiggling the blocks into position. 

Once the blocks are glued into place, drive two screws into each one to make them more secure. 

(Note: If you can’t find pre-made glue blocks at your local hardware or home improvement store, you can make them yourself. Simply take a 2-inch wooden cube, then cut it in half diagonally to create two equal-sized triangular pieces.)

Once the blocks are glued into place, secure them further by driving two screws into each block; one screw running horizontally into the riser and the other screw running vertically into the tread.

Nail into the riser

If the squeaks come in the back or sides, you will most likely need to use at least three stringers–one on each side and one in the middle. But if your stairs are notably wide, you probably need to get more. 

First, create two pilot holes (or guide holes) on the side of the tread right next to the wall. Then, space them around two inches apart and drill the nails (8d or 10d) at opposing 45-degree angles so the succeeding nails will face away from each other. 

Repeat the instructions above on the side of the tread right next to the balustrade. Doing this tightens the bond between the tread and the stringer.

Make sure that the nails’ heads are not poking above the wood surface to prevent injuring someone’s foot. Then, you can use a hammer to flatten them out, followed by a dab of wood fillers. 

Use a lubricant

If the squeaks are coming from the sides or back of the tread, you can fix the problem by filling the crack between the rise and the tread using a lubricant like talcum or graphite powder (avoid oil-based products). 

Then, insert a piece of paper against the back of the tread so you can pour a little powder (using your finger) into the cracks. The powder reduces the creaky sound by eliminating the friction between the two wooden pieces rubbing against each other. 

Secure the treads

If the squeaking sounds come in the front, screwing down the treads can help solve the problem. Meanwhile, the ideal screw size for this repair is #8.

Drill three evenly spaced pilot holes along the front of the tread where it aligns with the riser. When you drill the screws, make sure that you sink them marginally below the tread’s surface. Once they are placed, use wood fillers to conceal them and some slight indentations. 

Final Words on How to Silence Your Squeaky and Creaky Stairs

Sometimes, DIY hacks are not enough to correct a squeaky and creaky stair; this is particularly true if there is visible wear and tear. If you need a more involved or complicated stair project, you may want to hire a pro to make sure that your new staircase adheres to safety standards and building codes. 

If you need a professional staircase contractor, contact iStairs at 916-853-1499 or visit their showroom at 11270 Pyrites Way, Gold River, California, 95670 (30 minutes east of Sacramento). They are open Monday through Friday, between 6 am and 5 pm

Why Choose iStairs as Your Professional Stair Contractor

If you want to install or remodel your staircase, you have two options: you can hire a general carpenter or work with a professional stair contractor who provides additional advantages because of his niche skills. 

However, not all stair contractors are created equal. When looking for a professional builder, the general rule of thumb is to choose someone with insurance and licenses, an extensive portfolio of past projects, and a roster of happy clients. 

At iStairs, our quality craftsmanship has made us one of the leading one-stop-shop staircase builders in Northern California.

Here, we compiled a list of reasons why our clients hire us to design, install, and remodel their staircases. 

We offer quality craftsmanship.

We design and create stairs with attention to detail–i.e., we ensure that the joints and spindles are tight and the fasteners are not visible. Our quality craftsmanship stems from years and years of practice and training. 

Good communication and transparency are at the heart of our business. 

We believe that good communication starts from designing, planning, price quoting, and invoice (that include every project detail) to the actual installation. 

We are experts in safety staircase design. 

Our licensed stair builders have in-depth knowledge of safe and ergonomic design, including gentle rise, longer runs, predictable width and height of the steps, non-slip rail grip, additional hand railings, etc. 

Furthermore, our builders follow the recommended staircase measurements determined by building codes and standard safety practices.

For example, the ideal tread depth (the distance between the stair nose face and riser face) for seniors is between 280 mm and 330. Another viable design for these people is a staircase with low-rise steps with intermediate landing platforms. 

Meanwhile, even the slightest irregularity in a walking surface (e.g., ⅛ inch or more) can increase the risk of slip and fall, regardless of one’s age. 

We customize staircase design. 

We will sit with you to design and plan your staircase based on your floor plan, the size of your home (and household), the interior design, the people who are going to use it (elders, children, people with mobility issues, etc.), and other factors. 

We cover big and small projects.

Our portfolio of past work includes tiny houses and charming cabins to sprawling mansions and commercial buildings. But regardless of the scope of the project and budget, we can always assure quality craftsmanship and materials that can stand the test of time and high foot traffic. 

We have a staircase showroom. 

To demonstrate our products and craftsmanship to our clients, we have a showroom at 11270 Pyrites Way, Gold River, California, 95670 (about 30 minutes east of Sacramento). Our venue is open Monday to Friday, between 6 am and 5 pm PST; you can also visit us on Saturday provided that you schedule an appointment in advance. 

To learn more about our staircase installation, renovation, and other services, call us at 916-853-1499 or visit our website

Creative Staircases for Tiny Houses 

Gone are the days when everyone wants to have that big American dream house with a white picket fence. As land and materials get more expensive, and minimalism shines brighter, more people want to have tiny houses instead.  

The tiny house movement is a growing movement that started in the 2000s. As straightforward as it can be, it is an architectural and social movement that gives preference and encourages living in a tinier space. At first, it would seem that this tiny house movement is supported by people who cannot buy big homes. However, it is not always the case. A lot of tiny house owners join the club to live simpler lives. They used the tiny house movement as a means to eradicate what is unimportant and unnecessary.  

According to the 2018 International Residential Code, a tiny house is a residential unit that measures no more than 400 square feet. For the American-style of living, doing this sounds impossible, especially with all the bulky and large household items. But, with the right design of tiny houses, a lot of people have proved that it is indeed possible.  

There are many things you can have custom-made to fit a tiny house, but let us start with a basic one – stairs! 

Tiny houses need not be single-story units. A lot of designs incorporate multiple stories and even balconies! Here are some stair designs perfect for a tiny house.  

Staircase with storage 

Just because you are living in a tiny house does not mean you cannot have decent storage. Many tiny house owners designed their stairs to double as storage. It is a great way to save space and be functional.  

Spiral staircase 

Everyone knows that a spiral staircase is the ultimate space saver. The steps go around a central pole keeping the unit intact and sleek. It is also a great way to introduce some character to your house. Why not go for an industrial style spiral staircase inside an all-white ensemble? 

Short straight staircase 

One way to introduce a staircase in your tiny home is to use a short and straight type of staircase. A lot of owners use RVs or container vans as their base. With that base, the length of the house is significantly limited. A short straight staircase is a perfect fit for these spaces. You need to consider the height of the residents of your tiny house and their foot sizes.  

Floating staircase 

By using a floating staircase, you are avoiding the need for a bulky foundation. You can use this space for other things you need. You can set up a reading nook, a hobby area, day bed. Trust us; your imagination only limits you! 

Tiny houses do not mean tiny visions! Given the right partner, a perfect tiny house is possible!  

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Allow us to be your partner in this journey! Our team in iStairs has time again proved that no vision is too crazy! We have constructed thousands of staircases. We have spent countless man-hours in perfecting our craft. We know stairs like nobody else! 

Call us today to learn about how iStairs can help you reach your staircase goals!

Staircase Trends for 2020

Gone are the days when staircases merely served a functional purpose. Stairs have become a great way to introduce character and style in your homes. The year 2020 is no different! The design of your staircase is one of the first things that you should invest in to elevate the look of your home.  

These are the hot staircase trends of 2020 that you should consider if you are renovating or building your home. 

The U-shape Staircase 

U-shape stairs may have a rap of being too commercial. It is predominantly used in buildings and warehouses. However, if combined with the proper design and materials, this rather simple style can be a great architectural feature. Instead of using common materials such as wood and concrete, why not combine them with glass or metal to make it more interesting.  

The Zig-zag Staircase 

Zig-zag stairs are made for multistory houses. It is the most popular choice in structures which features the stairs as the main design element. Zig zag stairs can be quite tricky to make. Without the proper materials and construction, your space can appear to be stuffy and cramped. One common way to avoid this issue is to add a lighting solution in the stairs area. By doing so, the place will brighten up. It will create the illusion that the area is more spacious. 

The Spiral Staircase 

If you haven’t noticed before, the spiral staircase is the ultimate go-to style for those who want a bold statement in a smaller space. This style is not going anywhere. This 2020, the spiral staircase is still your best choice to spruce up a small space! 

The Cantilever Staircase 

Nothing screams modern than cantilever stairs. Imagine having the illusion of floating steps. Even with just one color or material, this type of stairs is a head-turner.  

The Straight Staircase 

The straight staircase has always been regarded as the simplest type of staircase. Despite its plainness, it is still a solid design choice for 2020. The recent years have seen a trend favoring the minimalist movement in design and architecture. A straight staircase is part of the arsenal of minimalist designers. It produces clean and crisp lines in a home. This design is often combined with newer choices in materials to keep the look updated.  

Spiral Staircase

In terms of materials, decorative trends show wood as the primary material for 2020. The best choices are pine, oak, mahogany, or imitation wood. To give the classic material a 2020 facelift, it will often be combined with glass. For instance, wooden steps will be paired with glass railing.  

Natural metals will also take the spotlight this year. The industrial design trend is not ready to bid us goodbye. It will still be apparent in 2020. Gold and copper are the best choices for decorative elements. You can see it in railings, balusters, or embellishments.  

The staircase should be treated as a crucial element in the overall appearance of your home. It does not just function as a connector between floors. With proper design, it can be the central feature of the house. Thoughtful design is critical in its execution. Your choice of contractor is vital. A single misstep can spell disaster.  

Choose iStairs, Inc., for your next staircase renovation! Our talented installers are the top experts in the field. They can make your vision come to life! Call us at 844-STAIR-4U to learn more about the services we offer. From design to execution, we will be with you every step of the way!  

Balusters or Banisters?

The general public seems to be a little confused when it comes to these two terms. Which one is it? Is it Balusters or Banisters? How do you know the difference?  

Luckily, you do not need to find out and differentiate anymore. Today, both terms are acceptable to describe short pillars or columns in a staircase. It is the part that supports the handrails.  

The terms balusters or banisters have been used in different contexts before. Traditionally, balusters refer to ornamental design incorporated into staircases. It comes from the French word balustre, which means a wild pomegranate flower. It has been used as early as the 13th century, primarily as a decorative piece.  

But nowadays, the terms are used interchangeably. So, homeowners need not be meticulous about the terminologies anymore.  

Speaking of being meticulous, there is still one thing homeowners should always keep in mind. While it does not matter if you call it baluster or banister, it is important to make sure that it is properly installed and maintained. Technical terms do not matter, but safety does.  

In building and keeping your homes, the number one concern should be safety and security. Every corner of your home should be up to code so that each one of your family members is protected from any mishaps.  

To ensure this, you should trust a one-stop-shop for all your staircase needs such as iStairs. When building or renovating your home, the staircase is one of the things that you should really give attention to.  

If you are in need of a service provider for all your staircase need, contact iStairs

iStairs is a residential and commercial stair contractor that is determined to give you the best possible service you can imagine. Call us today to learn more about our products and services. Dial 844-STAIR-4U today! 

Which Staircase is Right for your Home?

Your staircase is probably one aspect of building a home that does not get a lot of attention. Most homeowners focus on things such as the design of the wallpaper, the exterior paint color, the kitchen layout, etc. It is understandable because a lot of people think that these are the most important aspects when building or purchasing a home.

However, we are here to convince you to think otherwise. The shape and style of your stairs are equally as important. Staircases come in different shapes. The variance among these designs is not just for aesthetic purposes. It serves various functions as well like, cost-efficiency, easy navigation, and maximizing spaces. 

The type of staircase is probably one aspect of building a home that does not get a lot of attention. Most homeowners focus on things such as the design of the wallpaper, the exterior paint color, the kitchen layout, etc. It is understandable because a lot of people think that these are the most important aspects of the house.  

The layout of your home will dictate the best shape of the staircase for you. In some cases, the design of the house accommodates multiple staircase designs as well.  

We listed below different types of staircase shapes and their attributes, so you can decide for yourself which one is the best for you! 

Straight stairs 

Straight stairs are the simplest staircase type. It is used widely across the world because of its simplicity. It is popular because it is convenient, cheap, and functional. It requires less effort to make since there are no additional support structures necessary to install them. The builders do not even sweat anymore when building this type of stairs. It is easy to make due to its linear structure. One disadvantage of having this type of stairs is that it consumes more space. If you have a small home, then this choice may not be for you.  

Spiral stairs 

Spiral stairs are beautiful space savers.These are usually compact since they are attached to a pole. The steps go around the pole in a spiral motion. They are also not too difficult to install since these only consume a smaller space. If you want your space to look cute and quirky, then the spiral case is for you. You can even mix and match colors in your rails and risers to make a statement! 

Curved stairs 

If you think about castles and mansions, you immediately associate it with curved stairs. Curved stairs spell elegance and grandiosity. Grand staircases are always in this shape. Add a touch of gold, and it inevitably becomes a statement. For those who are willing to splurge more on their stairs, you can consider this shape. These are the perfect stairs for large spaces and high ceilings.  

L-shaped stairs  

From its name, you can immediately imagine what L-shaped stairs look like. It has a 90-degree turn, usually in the middle. It is a space saver. The only downside of this type is its lack of visual impact. It is generally tucked away in a corner, so it does not offer a lot of elegance. However, when you are just after functionality and cost-efficiency, then this is an excellent choice for you! 

The choice of stairs builder is as important as the design of your stairs. The exceptional design is of no use if your contractor cannot build stairs correctly! That is why iStairs is here for you. Whatever design you have in mind, we promise to execute it with expertise and finesse!  

Considerations for Your Commercial Staircase

Having a commercial space is not as easy as people think. Depending on its function, there are a lot of considerations to keep in mind in terms of building within the space or maintaining it. Commercial spaces follow certain restrictions the government has imposed. They must be code-compliant. Everything, from the handrail to the risers, from the steps to the balusters, should meet certain standards. 

1.     Shape 

Choosing the shape of your staircase should not be done without thought. You have to consider the function of your building before doing so. You have to ask yourself what the space is for. Straight staircases are the most common types of staircases. As the name suggests, they do not have any intricate shape. The bottom is connected to the top in a straight manner. They are straightforward to build. The good thing about this staircase is that it utilizes only one side of the room. It can be neatly tucked against a wall to conserve space. If your commercial building has limited space, this type is an excellent choice for you. Likewise, the L-shape stairs are also popular. If it can be installed in the corner of a room. The L-shape is a type that is easier to climb. Are you expecting little children or older people to visit your building? Then, you may consider this one! 

2.     Material 

The right material of your stairs also greatly depends on the purpose of your building. Concrete, wood, and metal are some of the most common materials used. Does your commercial building have an aesthetic function? Consider wood instead! With wood, you can introduce specific designs to the balusters and handrail. Is your building purely for storage? Maybe you can choose concrete or metal for more durability.  

3.     Code standards 

The commercial staircase used by the general public must be compliant with the International Building Code Guidelines. Stairs follow specific standards. For instance, risers must be 4 – 7 inches. The tread depth must be 11 inches minimum. The minimum headroom required for all parts of the stairway must be at least 6 feet 8 inches. Balusters must pass the 4-inch ball test.  

The design and build of a commercial staircase must consider multiple factors. Only a professional trained for the job can be trusted to complete this task. A lot is at stake when it comes to building on a commercial space- the safety of the public, the flow of work and business, and much more. That is why any commercial building owner should only rely on reliable and licensed contractors.

iStairs has years of experience working within commercial buildings. We are a one-stop-shop that will ensure excellent output from the design stage to installation. Our talented team is ready to help you build the right staircase for your space. You can choose from our vast design portfolio, or you can customize the staircase of your dreams.

When it comes to stairs, iStairs is your best choice! 

Benefits of Custom Stairways

Having your dream home built means that you get to decide on every aspect of it. From the doorknobs to the tile, you get to choose your pick. Your vision is turned into a reality, and you see it come alive. There are many reasons why personalizing every part of your home is ideal. But, let’s start first with the benefits of customizing your staircase.  

Creativity 

There’s no better way to express your creativity than applying it to your own home. By having a customized stair design, you can choose the color, material, accents, and more. Combining materials and colors will surely elevate the look of your home. You can also dictate the ambiance you are going for -be it rustique or modern, fancy or simple. The staircase becomes more than just a tool; it becomes a work of art that is a part of your home.  

Investment 

Having a beautiful staircase offers more than just an aesthetic purpose. It also adds value to your home. In case you ever decide to sell your home, you can put a higher price tag on it. Undoubtedly, the potential buyers will be wowed and captivated by a beautiful staircase. Don’t you ever wonder why all the big houses and palaces have a grand staircase? Beautiful stairs add a premium feel to your home. It removes the utilitarian feel and gives your home a luxurious ambiance.  

Safety and durability  

By having customized staircases, you get to decide on the material of each part of your staircase. You can choose the most durable materials for the balusters, the steps, and even the risers. You can personalize it according to the needs of your family. Do you have a lot of kids? Maybe sturdy balusters are what you need! Is your family comprised of mostly responsible adults? Then you can perhaps give glass railing a try! You can embrace any style you want, according to your taste and needs of those living in your home. 

In building a customized staircase, you will need a trusted partner. One who is vested with the vision and the skill to pull things through. You need someone with a superb level of engineering skills and creativity to make your staircase dreams come into fruition. If you are ready to give your home a makeover by having a customized staircase, there is no one better team for the job than iStairs, Inc. 

iStairs, Inc. is a one-stop-shop that houses all your staircase needs. We offer staircase customization, so your every need is taken care of. But, we also have a vast design portfolio you can choose from. 

Your staircase is more than just a tool. It is an essential part of the home that offers both functional and embellishment purposes. So next time you think of saying things such as “It’s just stairs!”, we urge you to think again! Stairs add character and dictate the feel of the home. 

Are you ready to give your staircase a makeover? Call iStairs, Inc. today! 

Best Paint Finishes for Stairs

Painting your stairs is not like painting your walls. There are certain limitations when it comes to the paint types and finishes you can use. In doing any task, you have to consider the function of the item first and foremost. Since stairs are something you step on every day, you have to take into account how slippery the treads become after coating them with paint.  

High gloss finish 

In choosing your paint, always think about where you are going to apply it. Since stairs are prone to dirt, dust, and stain, it is best to use paints high gloss finish. This type of paint is easier to clean. Wipe it with a damp cloth, and you’ll be good to go. Make sure to look for high gloss paint that is not slippery. Some hardware stores have paint samples applied on different materials so you can see the effect. If this is not available, you can try buying a small can of paint for you to try first. The important thing is you did your research and testing correctly before painting the whole thing.  

Latex paint 

Nobody wants slippery stairs. It is hazardous for anyone living in your home, especially to children who love running up and down the stairs. If you are repainting your stairs, you can use latex paint first. Then, top it with water-based paint to make it more durable. If you are going to DIY your painting jobs, this won’t be too hard of a job. Latex paint is easy to work with and dries quickly. Oil-based paints are also an option, but they are challenging to apply, and it takes a lot of time to dry. They usually have a smell as well, so staying in your home during the paint job is not advisable, especially to those with young kids. 

Dark color finish 

The best option for painting your stairs are dark colors. Try to avoid using any light-colored paints for the treads. If you really want bright colors for your stairs, limit its use to the balusters or risers. Neutral dark colors such as black and dark brown are most popular among homeowners since it can hide dirt and dust. For busy homeowners who cannot mop their stairs on an everyday basis, dark-colored paints are a lifesaver. You need not spend countless hours cleaning the treads, because the color of the material does not highlight the dirt.  

If you’re on the market for new stairs, call iStairs! Give us a call today!  

Signs it’s Time to Replace Your Staircase

Your staircase is an integral part of your home. It leads you to other parts of the house and they are essential to your everyday routine. Because of its function, your staircase takes a beating day in and day out. Inevitably, your stairs will eventually give out. 

Find out if that day is today! Here are the signs you should look for when deciding if it’s the right time to replace your staircase.

Recurring squeaky sounds. 

Squeaky sounds are some of the most annoying problems a homeowner can have. Think about all the late-night trips to the kitchen to sneak in a few snacks. It sounds like a good idea, right? Imagine the people who will be awakened by those squeaks as you go down the stairs! 

While this problem does not seem like a big deal, you should not merely brush it off. Squeaky sounds are one of the many indicators that something is wrong. It only means that the parts of your stairs are not as well-installed, as they should be. The tread and the riser have a significant gap between them, which produces that horrible sound. You can try to fix it by gluing them together correctly, or you call in a pro. 

If the sounds recur over time, it’s best to consider replacing your stairs. 

Rotting wood 

Wood is a common material used for stairs. It is sturdy and beautiful if installed correctly. However, wood is not invincible. One common issue with wood is its susceptibility to water damage. 

Whether it is caused by flooding due to weather, or consistent spilling of liquid on your stairs, wood is bound to be affected. The material can eventually rot. It will lead to the weakening of the structural integrity of the stairs. 

If this is the kind of issue you want to address, do not attempt to do it yourself. Water damage needs the attention of experts, as it may also affect the electrical components of the house. 

Broken parts 

Usual wear and tear can cause the breakage of different parts of your stairs – be it the riser or the treads. Immediately after identifying this issue, you must have the problem fixed. Inattentiveness and broken stair parts are a recipe for disaster. 

Be a responsible homeowner by always making sure your stairs are well-maintained. Otherwise, you will be putting the safety of everyone in your household at risk.

Wobbly balusters     

Balusters or columns are the ones the connect your steps to the rails. It is a significant part of the staircase because it provides safety and protection. If a baluster is wobbly, it cannot perform its function properly. It may not be able to support your body weight in case of accidental slips or falls. 

If you are encountering this issue, make sure to address it right away. Seek the assistance of professionals to solve the problem. 

Loose handrail 

Alongside with the baluster, the handrail protects you from accidents. It serves a barrier that will guard you against accidents. If the handrail is loose, the chances of you falling are higher. 

Consider the safety of your loved ones and call experts to help you in this matter! 

Are you in need of professional assistance? Bring the iStairs team in! iStairs is a one-stop-shop ready to help you with any issue you have with your staircase! A team of courteous and qualified individuals is waiting to assist you! Dial 844-STAIR-4U today!