Wednesday, 23 December 2015

How You can Maintain Your Classic Wooden Staircase

In many period homes, the staircase is a reflection of the style and status of the owner. They are often highly detailed with complex construction. The style may vary, with the most ornate section near the entrance, to be seen clearly by visitors. The next level may be simpler, intended for use only by the family. And the topmost level may be completely plain, meant to be used only by domestic staff. Whatever the décor and embellishment, the staircase is integral to the character of your home.

Common Problems

  • Creaking treads can often be fixed by screwing through the tread into the riser to tighten it. If required, they should also be re-glued. If the creak is due to loose-fitting joints between the tread and string, you need to use wedges and glue to tighten them. If the treads are badly worn, they should be replaced.
  • If powdery deposits are seen on the stairs, it may be due to beetle or termite infestation. Have the pests removed by an exterminator before checking for damage to the wood and doing any repairs.
  • Spindles and balusters can become loose with time and use. Besides the danger of falling, the looseness could cause the wood to split or crack. Do not delay repairs.
  • Besides increasing the risk of tripping, worn or damaged nosing on the front of the treads expose to damage the wood below it. Replace them immediately.
  • Staining on the wood, especially near any metal components, could be a sign of rusting. Remove the stains and check for worn metal and damage to the wood.
  • Any dampness around the staircase could cause the wood to rot. Locate the source of the moisture ingress, and ensure it is fixed before examining the staircase for any damaged wood.
  • If a wooden staircase needs to be repainted, remove all the old paint before applying new coats. At times after removing the old paint, it may be seen that detail has been lost due to the buildup coats over the years. In such cases, the layers should be stripped to allow the true wood the show.

Wood is a wonderful material, but it does show the ravages of time. If you live in an old home with a classic wooden staircase, you need to care more for it. If you do not, it may become unsafe and unusable. Replacing it will be a major project – an expensive one.

The signs of deterioration are often hard to identify, and only an expert will be able to spot and fix problems in time to save wood. And if you should decide to replace it as part of a remodeling, an expert is again the best person to do the job. He will be able to build a new staircase that blends into the new look of your home.

Builders and remodeling contractors can repair and make new staircases. But when staircase construction and repair specialists are available, why not use the best? It will not cost more and you will be assured of a staircase that looks great and will last for a long time.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

How You can Maintain Your Wooden Staircase

A wooden staircase does add character and elegance to any home. If you are remodeling your home and you want to give it a new look and ambience, wooden stairs is definitely something that is worth considering. If you already have one, you know how important it is that it looks clean and well maintained. A shabby looking staircase can have a negative impact on the looks of a home.

Maintaining a wooden staircase is not difficult. All it requires is a little care and effort. Here are some ideas for you.

Basics of maintenance

Clean regularly: Daily vacuuming and sweeping will minimize the dirt and grit that collect on the stairs. These can be abrasive and each footfall can grind them into the finish, acting like sandpaper. Avoid using water on the stairs. Even with careful drying, some moisture may remain in the corners and crevices. This will soak into the wood and leave stains or even cause warping. If a thorough cleaning is required, use a cleaner that is made specifically for the floor finish on the stairs, for example a solvent-based liquid wax for waxed stairs.

Remove scratches and dents: Small scratches and dents need to be fixed promptly before the damage spreads. The best way to do this is by applying a fresh layer of wax on the scratched/damaged area. If it is a little deep, rub the area with penetrating finish and steel wool before applying the wax.

Remove mold: Mold can develop and spread quickly on wooden surfaces in humid conditions. Wiping it away is not enough as it will return rapidly unless the spores are killed. One way of doing this is to use a cleaning solution of half a cup of bleach dissolved in a gallon of water. Wipe down not just the spots where mold is visible, but the surrounding areas as well because the spores may be starting to grow there. Once the mold is removed, the stairs can be refinished.

Prevent damage: Place rugs near the staircase to remove gravel and grit from shoes. Otherwise, scratches will develop quickly. When you move furniture or large/heavy objects up or down the staircase, it is better to take this precaution: cover the legs, corners and any projections of those objects with foam padding or bubble wrap to prevent the stairs from getting damaged. Avoid using the stairs when wearing heavy shoes with studs, stiletto heel or other soles that could cause damage to the wood finish.
If your wooden staircase looks old and worn, the best thing for you to do is to call in a professional staircase manufacturing and renovation company. They will have the knowledge, experience, tools and materials to do the refurbishing and repairs that are needed to bring it back to life and add character to your home. DIY can only do so much. Delaying specialist care could render stairs irreparable, necessitating replacement.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Staircase Styles for You to Consider

If you are building a new home or remodeling the one you have, the staircase will play a major role in your design plans. It is in many ways the fulcrum of your home – it connects the different levels to create a unified whole. There are no set rules for staircase design: within the limits of safety and structure constraints, you can do just about anything you want. However, it is important for you to have a staircase that blends in with the décor and look of your home. To help you decide on the staircase that is right for your home, here are the basic style options. Once you decide on the style, you can work with a staircase design and manufacturing company to add or do away with design elements to get exactly what you are looking for.

Custom Staircases

While most staircase designs are based on the use of a certain amount of standard parts and components, custom staircases are made using only custom-made parts. This allows for complete freedom in the design and the materials used. These are not the stairs you will see at home centers, because they are of a kind, made to meet the homeowner’s specifications down to the last detail.

Contemporary Staircases

A contemporary home is one that has a fresh look, is uncluttered and normally filled with light clean colors to give it an open feel. The contemporary staircase uses the same concepts to create stairs that match the look of the home. This particular design concept allows for a great freedom in mixing and matching materials and colors.

Modern Staircases

These are similar to contemporary staircases, but use standard parts, materials and design concepts (to varying degrees) to create a modern staircase, without the uniqueness of contemporary stairs.

Luxury Staircases

These stairs can be based on any design concept, but are typically traditional in their look and the materials used. They are usually large and sweeping, with wide stairs so as to create a look of grandeur and opulence. These are normally found only in larger homes.

Traditional Staircases

These are usually made of wood and based on designs, commonly used in the ‘average’ home. They typically have painted balusters, and square newels will give a ‘homely’ feel to a family residence.

Glass Staircases

These are made using glass panel rail sections. Since the complete staircase is transparent and visible, it has an open look. This style is a good idea to consider, if space is limited and stairs should not dominate the surrounding spaces. Glass treads are often used to complete the transparent effect.

Designer Staircases

These are staircases uniquely created that ignore all standard design concepts. Unusual designs and material combinations are used to give the stairs a completely unique look. These stairs can be used to add glamor to a home that needs a stand out architectural feature with a lasting effect.

These are just concepts and nothing is set in stone. The best way to get the kind of staircase you want is to seek the assistance of a professional staircase manufacturing company that has exceptional design capabilities, is quality conscious and is focused on customer needs. This is how you will be able to examine all the possibilities before deciding on what you want exactly, and then modify the concepts to match your needs.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Don’t Waste the Space under the Staircase

Extra space is always welcome in a home. Modern design has come up with a vast number of space saving storage ideas. But one part of a home which in most cases lies unused and wasted is the area under a staircase; it is never used imaginatively or is just taken as a place to dump unwanted things like a broken table or chair. There is a lot you can do with that space; so think about the way you can use it when you remodel or build a new home. Here are a few ideas for you to consider.

  • An entertainment center: The space is ideal for installing a built-in entertainment center with a large flat screen TV, receptacles for DVD players, gaming consoles, drawers for remotes and whatever else you want to add. There will be enough space to have a cabinet to store your DVDs, and maybe even a small bookcase to keep your entertainment related reading material. 
  • A reading nook: A banquette under the stairs with a nice mattress and lots of pillows can make a great place to read in peace or just lie back and do nothing. A nice light and a small shelf along the wall to keep a few books will complete the picture. Cabinets at the base of the banquette will give you extra storage. 
  • A display area: Why not create an alcove under the stairs to showcase your treasured keepsakes? Give the alcove a different paint and some special lighting and you have a display area that may even detract from the items on show. 
  • A place for the kids’ stuff: Kids always need space to dump things, especially when coming home. Hooks along the walls, a bench with cubbies under it, with baskets for keeping their things in and a mat to place wet/dirty shoes on will keep the clutter under control and the rest of the home looking tidy. 
  • A work space: A built-in table, below table cabinets and drawers and a few small shelves along the wall is all you need to make a nice little workspace. Remember to put in outlets for the computers and other gadgets you use.  
  • A pet space: Your dog will love to have a space to call his own. A washable mat, a bowl for water is all he needs. Put in a few shelves to keep his toys, leash and other accessories and both you and he are organized and happy.  
  • A bookcase:  If your staircase is narrow with not-much-depth under it, a books case is a good idea. It will maximize the vertical storage space and free up other areas for other uses.
Use it as you want
These are just a few ideas to think about. You can use the space under the staircase for almost anything. To maximize the potential, have your staircase built or remodeled by a company that specializes in staircase design and construction. They will be able to give you designs and ideas that only a professional will know. That way you not only get a staircase that enhances the look of your home, but also gives you the extra space you always wanted.

Did you find these ideas useful? Leave a comment. Tell us what you would like to read further.
More in our next post.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Feng Shui And Your Staircase

At the outset, let’s be clear – no one is asking you to believe in Feng Shui. Whether you believe in this ancient Chinese belief or not is your choice. However, you should know that many people today adoptits principles in designing their homes. Why don’t you spare a few minutes to look at what it says about the designing of buildings? 

Feng Shui is the belief and practice of positioning buildings, rooms and objects to achieve harmony with nature. Designing of buildings should respect balanced patterns of yin (the negative, dark, and feminine) and yang (the positive, bright, and masculine). When this is done the flow of chi (the vital force) will be unimpeded, which is essential for good health. Here are the 4 basics of a good staircase according to Feng Shui.

  • It is Better to Avoid Open Risers: Staircases without risers (vertical parts of stairs/steps) are incomplete. Open risers lead to the dissipation of Chi, as it moves through the home. In a two story house, the second floor will not receive the energy flow it should: those who spend a lot of time there will be affected by this loss of positive energy.
  • The shape and location of the staircase is important: Spiral staircases that look like they are boring into the house have a negative effect on the Chi.  A curved staircase helps the energy to flow freely through the home. A staircase located at the center of the house allows for energy loss, especially that which helps to create wealth. It will also affect the wellbeing of all those who use it regularly.  Stairs on the side of a room and along walls are the best.
  • Where the staircase ends matters: A staircase should not end at the front door. This results in draining out of energy from home. The same problem applies to stairs, ending at or near a bedroom door. Those sleeping in the room will have their positive energy drained away.
  • Scissors style staircases affect relationships: A split or scissors style staircase acts like a pair of scissors. It cuts ties and affections and relationships between those living in the home. It is worse if the stairs are facing the front door as is seen in many split-level houses. To counter this, a long strand of ivy, or any similar vine (real or artificial) can be wound around the handrail. This will act to bind the residents of the home together. A plant placed where the stairs split will also serve the same purpose.
Whether or not you believe in Feng Shui, the staircase is a critical feature that affects mobility in the home. Believers and nonbelievers alike should bear in mind  three important factors: – safety, ease of use and appearance. Whether you are building a new home or remodeling one, the right staircase will impact the look and feel that it has. A company that specializes in staircase construction and remodeling will be able to work with you to create a staircase that will add to the appearance and comfort of your home.