Live in any Metro D.C. home long enough and you’ll be undertaking repairs, perhaps a major renovation. One area of the home that is easy to overlook is its stairs, particularly those that lead from the first floor to the second floor.
If your Metro D.C. home’s stairs are in terrible shape, only an entirely new staircase may help. That project is expensive, one where you’ll probably have to call in a team of professional Metro D.C. remodeling contractors to handle.
You can renovate your stairs on your own, a project that may be as simple as bringing out a hammer, some nails and a sheet of sand paper to start. Follow these steps to make your staircase a showcase:
1. Inspect each step. Bring along your hammer and walk up each step, hammering in any nail that isn’t flush with the stairs. Replace broken or bent nails with nails of the same size as needed.
2. Fix cracks. You may be able to save the stair’s tread by using a filler to fix cracks. Ask the Builder’s Tim Carter recommends that metro D.C. homeowners first insert “expanding urethane glue or a heavy-bodied epoxy” in the crack and top it with wood filler. Use stain or epoxy to make the crack disappear. You’ll need to sand the tread first and then follow the other steps.
3. Tighten treads and risers. Stairs are made up of three main parts: stringers, which hold the stairs in place; treads that you walk on and risers that are perpendicular to the treads and support each tread. Tom Silva of This Old House magazine, notes that glue and or nails often holds these pieces together. Plan to scrape off the old glue before applying a new coat of glue. If you have access to underneath the stairs, you can tighten the stairs that way too.
4. Baluster and railing — The wood spindles holding up the railing are called balusters. These may need tightening, especially if screws are already present. Or, you can add new screws to secure each one. The post at the bottom of the stair is a newel post and that can be best secured by refastening it to the stair stringer. Install screws to connect and use gorilla glue to hold in place.
When sanding, you’ll want to carefully remove debris, something you can accomplish with a damp towel or a vacuum. Stairs should be completely dry before applying your first coat of stain. Follow the directions on your can of stain to know when to apply your second coat. Once your done, your stairs should look like new and perhaps you have saved yourself from an expensive and unnecessary renovation.