To refinish or to recraft your staircase
By their transitional nature, staircases get a lot of traffic Years of thumping, stepping, and kids and pets running up and down an leave a permanent mark on their surface. At Virgina Top Floors we get a kick from making staircases in Northern Virginia look like new.
Sometimes a staircase has been hiding for years underneath soiled old carpets or runners. On the other hand there are wood staircases that have never been covered with carpets that are simply worn by years of traffic. Now that the kids are gone, the pets are older (or gone with the kids) it’s time to showcase their true beauty.
There are several ways to address your staircase renovation. Either by refinishing, or by recrafting them.
If there is wood you can refinish it. Oak, maple, mahogany or the typical woods used for flooring (finished in place or pre-finished), make your staircase an excellent candidate for refinishing. The process for sanding and refinishing a staircase is similar to a regular sanding and refinishing job except the equipment is hand held and a lot smaller. You can read more about it in our hardwood floor refinishing page.
Sometimes though, plain yellow pine is discovered underneath the carpet. Although pine can be refinished, it will not yield the results of a finer wood. A staircase going into the basement is an example where refinishing pine is widely accepted.
Recrafting is the process by which a new layer of wood is installed on top of the old structure.
Step 1: Carpet removal
On this first step old carpeting is removed and the surfaces are rid tack strips, nails and staples. This process yields the clean leveled surface required from proper wood installation.
Step 2: Bull nose removal
Each step in a staircase is composed of a tread (where the foot lands) and a riser (the vertical piece). The bull nose of a tread is the rounded part facing you as you step up. This rounded part that protrudes is cut so that the riser is flushed with the tread, creating a flat surface against which to install the new tread and riser.
Step 3: Measuring and cutting
although a staircase may seem perfectly square, it never is. Thus the treads and risers need to be measured and cut to fit each individual step.
Step 4: Installation
Once all the pieces–treads and risers–have been customized, they get installed by attaching them with glue and nails.
If the desired result is to match the color and finish to a previously refinished neighboring floor, then sanding and refinishing is recommended. Read more about this in our sanding and refinishing page. If on the other hand the adjacent floors are pre-finished, then it is recommended that pre-finished treads and risers be installed.
As with any other hardwood floor, if your wood staircase is in pretty good condition and is only showing dullness, scuff marks or light scratches, it may simply be buffed and recoated.
Handrails and balusters
Depending on the complexity of the posts and handrails they might be refinished.
Turn your staircase into a beautiful updated fixture in your home by calling the experts at Virginia Top Floors. 703-537-9699. Each case is individually assessed.