Easy Weekend Projects

Simple steps to a new set of stairs

Most homes have a set of stairs, but many are construction grade or severely dated in regards to the rest of the house. Unless you built the house yourself, the stairs will probably look exactly like dozens of others you'll see in your life, but it doesn't have to stay this way. Installing a new set of stairs can be one of the easiest home improvements you ever accomplish.

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Quick Fixes

You can start by looking at ways to update your stairs without a major renovation. If the staircase is unattractive or dated, a new one can be a less expensive and easy way to give the stairs an entirely new look. Many houses built during the 1950s have a wrought iron stair railing, which can be removed with only a screwdriver and a few hours of your time. You will probably need a helper to hold the railing while you unscrew it and to help you carry it out of the house.

Easy Replacement

Another quick update is to change the look of the stairs themselves. Some older homes have hardwood stairs hidden beneath carpeting. You may want to pull up a section of carpet to check the condition of the wood underneath. If the wood is in good condition, you're all set. Otherwise, you might need to sand the wood and restain it. Restaining the wood is a great way to make the stairs match the rest of your home. For those who already have wood stairs, a simple area rug (in a tone complimentary to your home decor) can be an excellent way to change the look of your house. Check with your local home improvement store for more ideas.

Get Help

If you do decide to install an entirely new set of stairs, the best option is to hire an experienced professional. It may seem like an easy job to start, but it should only be attempted by an experienced builder. Even a weekend handyman or a furniture builder will most likely have problems installing a set of stairs. The last thing you want is to attempt the project on your own and discover a set of lopsided stairs that are too narrow, or too wide, for most people to walk up.

If you still think it is a project you can do yourself, consider the steps involved - demolishing the old stairs, replacing the floor boards, leveling, finding a new set of stairs, etc. Not to mention that you're house will be without stairs for the duration of the project, and if you experience problems, you may be unable to reach the second floor for weeks or even months.

If you're trying to change the look of your stairs, there are dozens of ways to update their appearance without breaking the bank or spending weeks of your time.

By Jennifer Eblin

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