Stairs is set of steps or flight leading from one floor to another. It is designed to provide easy and quick access to different floors. The steps of stair may be constructed as a series of horizontal treads and enclosed space between treads known as riser. The part of building containing a stairs known as staircase.

Geometrically stairs constructed in many shapes according to space availability categorized as:

  • Straight Flight Stairs.
  • Half-turn or dog legged stairs.
  • Open Well Stairs.
  • Quarter Turn Stairs.
  • Spiral Stairs.
  • Circular Stair.
  • Curved or Elliptical Stair.

Materials for Construction of Stairs

Materials most commonly used in the construction of Stairs are

  • Stone,
  • Timber,
  • Steel and
  • RCC.

Stair Maintenance

Staircases are exposed to a lot of wear and tear. Small amounts of damage are not uncommon but can be dangerous, so you shouldn’t put off fixing them. Check your staircase regularly for any minor problems. Joints can loosen over time, or wood may crack, but the affected parts can almost always be easily fixed or replaced.

Creaking or Damaged Treads or Risers – Treads and risers are usually wedged tightly in position. The wedges can loosen so the stair moves and creaks. If this happens, you should carefully check all the stairs, and carry out any repairs necessary, from below the stairs if possible, or from above if not.

If the treads or risers split, they can be replaced in an open-string staircase. Remove the balusters and the fasteners from the damaged tread or riser (fasteners are under the stairs). Slide out the broken part and use it as a template to cut a new one. Slip the new part into place and replace the fasteners and balusters. You will need professional help to replace treads or risers into a closed-string staircase.

If the nosing of a tread is damaged, it can often be fixed without removing the whole tread. Cut away the damaged area and use it as a template to cut a new section. Then glue and screw the patch in place. This is a method similar to that used for window sills.

Loose-Fitting Newel Post – Take the loose joint apart, clean it, then install it with glue and screws. Adjust the fit of a modular newel turning into the newel base by using wedges and dowels if required. Resin can also be used to form a strong joint.

Repairing Creaking Stairs From Below – If a wedge is loose under the squeaking stair, remove it. Use it as a template to cut a new wedge, and apply wood glue to its sides. Drive the new, glued wedge firmly into place. The wedge needs to fit tightly to prevent any movement in the joint. Once the wedges are tight, glue a reinforcing block across the joint between the tread and riser.

Drill pilot holes through the block and into the stair, taking care not to penetrate the outer surface. Screw the block tightly into place.

Repairing Creaking Stairs From Above – Drill pilot holes through the squeaking or moving tread and into the edge of the riser below. Screw tightly into the riser. The screw head should recess into the tread. Fill the hole when you have finished. Repeat along the riser edge.

Repairing a Broken Baluster – If you have a closed-string staircase, simply replace the broken baluster as shown here. If the baluster is secured into the tread of a step, it may be necessary to remove beading around the step in order to replace the spindle. If lots of spindles are damaged, you can replace the whole balustrade.

Lever up the fillet below the broken baluster using a chisel. Take the damaged baluster out and use it as a template to trim a replacement. Replace the fillet and pin it into place using a panel pin. You can then decorate to hide the repair.

Regular Cleaning – Clean wood stairs regularly by vacuuming and sweeping them. Avoid leaving wet spots and spills on the wood for too long, because they can soak into the wood and warp it or leave stains. When the stairs need a good cleaning with something wet, use a cleaner designed specifically for the type of floor finish on the stairs, such as a solvent-based liquid wax designed for waxed floors.

Damage Prevention – Prevent damage by putting rugs near entrances. Rugs help keep tiny pieces of gravel off the bottoms of shoes, which prevents them from scratching wood floors and stairs. Avoid wearing dent-causing shoes, such as skinny and hard high heels, on soft wood stairs. Protect stairs from scratches when moving furniture by padding the legs and corners of furniture with soft socks, foam padding or bubble wrap.

Scratch and Dent Removal – Hide small scratches and dents in waxed wood floors by applying and buffing a new layer of wax on top of the damaged area. To get rid of a scratch or dent on stairs with a penetrating finish, rub the area with some extra penetrating finish and steel wool.

Refinishing Wood Stairs – With lots of heavy traffic, the finish on wood stairs might become worn or cracked. Penetrating finishes can be repaired at worn spots without refinishing the entire floor. To repair worn spots in a penetrating finish, apply new finish to the worn spots with steel wool. Surface finishes, such as varnish and shellac, need to be completely removed and replaced when they wear out. Remove finish by sanding it away either by hand or with a oscillating tool equipped with a sanding accessory. Start out with a relatively coarse 20- or 60-grit sanding abrasive and finish by smoothing the floor with 120-grit abrasive. Clean up all of the dust and dirt, and then apply the new finish in accordance with its manufacturer’s instructions.

Mold Removal – In humid or moist areas, mold can start to grow on wood floors. Although mold often appears to go away when wiped up, it usually continues to return until a disinfectant actually kills the mold spores. To kill mold spores on a wood floor, North Dakota State University recommends cleaning with a solution of 1/4 to 1/2 cup of bleach in a litre of water. Before finishing or refinishing stairs in a home with a mold problem, look for a finish designed to help prevent mildew and mold from growing.

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