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Cost of Staircase Makeovers

How to Replace Your Stairs and Railings

When you think about renovation projects, you probably imagine redoing an outdated kitchen or bathroom. But more obscure areas of the home, including your staircase, can easily date or cheapen your home - even if the rest of the space has been upgraded.

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A staircase renovation can involve replacing all or some of the staircase components, refinishing existing wood or a combination of replacement and refinishing. The extent of the project depends on the condition of the staircase and the look you desire, but the ultimate goal is to beautify and refresh one of your home’s most noticeable features.

Makeover Options

Staircase makeovers can involve replacing some or all of the following:

  • Treads and risers - Treads are the part of the stair that you step on, and risers are the pieces of wood that make up the back of the stairs.
  • Handrails - The railings that you hold onto when using the stairs.
  • Balusters - Decorative pieces that help to support the handrails. These can be made of several materials, including wood or iron. If you have the treads replaced, you’ll also have to replace the balusters.
  • Shoes - Small pieces that are attached to the bottom (and sometimes the top) of balusters to disguise the hole that’s cut for balusters.
  • Newel posts - The large posts that support the handrail. Newel posts tend to be fairly spaced apart with several balusters in between.
Cost to Remodel Your Stairs

The choices above are primarily for wooden or wrought iron stairs, but there are many other design options if you want to get creative. If your home is more modern, for example, opt for combinations of materials such as stainless steel and glass.

Cost of Staircase Makeovers

The cost of a staircase makeover depends entirely on the extent of the project. The price usually ranges from about $1,000 to $10,000. On the low end of that range, you can replace a single element or component. A complete makeover for a standard staircase falls on the mid or high end of that price range.

  • New treads and risers usually cost about $1,800 to $2,500.
  • New balusters usually cost about $1,200 to $1,600.
  • A complete makeover including treads, risers, balusters, a handrail and newel posts usually costs $4,000 to $8,000. (This if for standard-size staircase; larger or oddly shaped staircases will cost far more.)
  • Adding a carpet runner might cost $500 to $2,000.
  • Refinishing existing handrails and posts rather than replacing them might save you money, but in some cases it can be just as expensive as replacement. Be sure to compare costs before choosing one option over the other.

Keep in mind that some companies have minimum labor charges. This is because staircase makeovers require highly skilled workers and custom designs. In many cases, that minimum charge is $500 or more.

Choosing a Contractor

Many flooring companies offer staircase makeovers, but there are also companies dedicated exclusively to staircase makeovers. Either way, you want to find a reputable company that offers a fair price. Here are some tips:

  • Always seek multiple quotes to compare prices. Throw out any bids that come in suspiciously high - or low. Seeking multiple quotes will also allow you to compare various design plans and choose the one you like best.
  • Do some background research on any company you’re considering. Ask for references - and check them. Find out how long the company has been in business. Check the company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Ask to see before and after photos of a company’s previous work. Make sure you like the final looks. Any company can promise you the world, but you want to make sure the company can actually deliver on that promise.
  • Ask what the company is doing to make sure the stairs are up to local code requirements. Code requirements are in place for safety, and a staircase that doesn’t meet those requirements is dangerous. Kids can slide between the rails, for example, or get caught between them.

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