The Ups and Downs of Staircase Renovation

When you are doing renovations, even if your staircases are obscured, they should be renovated to match the new aesthetic of your home.  The innovative builders at Gordon James ensure staircases remain as stylish as they are functional. Consult the following article to learn more about the basics of the process.

Old Bones, New Character

An existing staircase can be rehabilitated if its framing is still solid and strong. Components like the handrail, balusters, and newel posts may need to be refinished or replaced, depending upon the project. For more information about the terms used in this article, see the graphic below.

a photo of staircase terms

Stringing Along

As an example renovation, our staircase will receive a new stringer (also called a skirt board). It will be installed over the existing stringer or if the old stringer is removed. Treads, handrails, balusters, and newel posts will be removed, refinished, and put back in place. As you remove each element, mark it’s original location, so that re-installation seamless. Original risers will remain in place.

The new stringer will be long enough to reach from top to bottom of the staircase run and wide enough to span the tread width and riser height. Typically, renovation teams use a 1×12″ board. Because a staircase is often a showpiece fixture in the home, quality lumber is the best choice; “clear, A-grade” lumber (containing no knots) would be ideal.

The new board is attached to the exterior edge of the staircase, and markings are made where the stringer meets the risers and the tread tops. After the board is cut at 90-degree angles along with the markings, it is test-fitted against the existing stringer. The board should fit snugly below each of the treads, and the riser cuts should be flush with the face of the original risers. The crew will then affix the new stringer to the staircase once the proper fit is achieved.

Finally, the handrail, balusters, and newel posts are reinstalled. Hollow newel posts are often fit over existing support bases. The lower end of the handrail attaches to the bottom post, the balusters are fastened into their treads. Then the handrail is attached to the baluster tops, and the upper end of the handrail is affixed to the top post. The renovated staircase is now complete!

A picture of a renovated staircase in a Gordon James custom home.

A curving renovated staircase in a Gordon James custom home

Beautiful Kitchen & Living Room with a staircase renovated to match the style of the room by Gordon James

Orono Distinction, a custom home with a renovated staircase from Gordon James

A custom renovated staircase in a Gordon James custom home

A renovated staircase in a custom Gordon James home

Wayzata Cottage Classic - A Custom Home with a renovated staircase by Gordon James

Wayzata Cottage Classic - A Custom Home by Gordon James with a renovated staircase



Though the considerations listed above may seem complex, rest assured that Gordon James will handle all the “ups and downs” of construction with skill and technical acumen. Contact us today to begin your own home renovation journey!