Step Up Your Stairwells – Part 1

by Carmen Corbin on November 28, 2011

Often when homes are remodeled, the stairways don’t gain much attention.  We’re so busy choosing living room flooring or new kitchen cabinets that we completely forget about these important points of entry.  Even if you live in a one-story house, you most likely have a stairwell going down to your basement, or a small set of steps leading up to your front porch.  Read on for some great ideas on how you can improve the stairways in your home.

Refinish, Replace, Remove or Relocate?

Planning any type of home improvement project involves looking at the big picture.  Open stairways, especially those in an entry room, can be a striking focal point (good or bad!).  They’re often the first thing people see when entering your home, so it makes sense to give them the attention they deserve.  Some other topics to consider are:

  1. How often are the stairs used, or are they even used at all?  Older homes often have more than one set of stairs leading to a second story or lower level.  Eliminating a rarely used stairwell can create more wall space, closet space or room space.
  2. Do your stairs need any safety improvements?  Shaky or missing banisters are an obvious sign, but your general contractor can also help evaluate whether those annoying squeaks are just annoying, or whether they mean your foot is about to go through.  Replacement may be your best option if several stairs are in dire need of repair. 
  3. How do you feel about the appearance of your stairs?  If the condition of the wood looks like it has seen better days, but the overall integrity is still intact, then hiring a home improvement professional to refinish it would be a worthy investment.  On another note, if your main stairwell is hiding behind a wall, why not open it up?  You may be able to widen it at the same time if necessary, and you’ll now have a beautiful banister to decorate for the holidays. 
  4. Are your stairs in an awkward place?  Maybe you’ve decided to finish the basement, and the current stairwell location is blocking the perfect spot for that big screen TV.  Talk to your contractor about the possibility of relocating the stairs to another suitable location in your home.

For more ideas on how to improve the stairways in your home, call or visit your local home improvement contractor.

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