A solidly built staircase can last the lifetime of a house. Still, there are times when homeowners decide to replace their staircases with something completely new. One option is to order a custom staircase kit that comes delivered to your door and ready to install.
Customization is always an option for replacement staircases. In fact, the ability to customize is one of the things that prompts people to replace their staircases. You might have a homeowner who is just tired of the look and feel of his current staircase. He wants something new. He wants something that looks totally different.
At any rate, all of this leads to the question of how difficult it is to install a custom staircase kit. Remember that kits come with everything you need already measured and cut. All you have to do is assemble the parts in place. But wait. Kit installation isn’t extremely complicated, but it’s not simple either.
Start with a Drawing
The experts at The Iron Spindle in Atlanta, Georgia say that every custom staircase starts with a drawing. This could be the most crucial aspect of your job. Whoever builds your kit must come up with an accurate drawing first, so it’s best to leave this part of the process to an experienced architect or engineer.
Some kit builders insist on sending their own engineers to take measurements and create CAD drawings. Others are willing to work with local contractors to handle that aspect. In either case, drawings will have to be approved before the kit is built. You will have to approve them as the customer; local government approvals might also be necessary.
When the Kit Arrives
Following design approval, the kit builder sets about building your staircase in their facility. Every part is measured, cut, and installed just as it will be in your home. This includes handrails, spindles, and newel posts. The reasoning here is to guarantee that everything fits and functions properly.
Once complete, the staircase is disassembled and crated for shipping. When the kit arrives at your home, you have several options. The route you decide to take really depends on your skill level. If you are comfortable tackling major DIY projects, you might assemble and install the kit entirely on your own. If not, you might hire contractors to help.
The Iron Spindle says your typical trim contractor is capable of doing the job entirely. Likewise, you could contract with the kit builder to send its own expert crew. You can even mix-and-match – hiring professionals to do some of the work while doing the rest by yourself.
It is fairly common to have a trim contractor install the structural supports along with the treads and risers. Then the homeowner takes over to complete the balustrade. The homeowner also handles finishing. The amount of work you ultimately do on your project is entirely up to you.
Your Tools and Knowledge
It goes without saying that any amount of work you do is commensurate with the knowledge you possess and the tools you own. In terms of knowledge, there is plenty of helpful information online. You can find entire video collections explaining exactly how to install a new staircase.
A more pressing issue for many homeowners is the tool issue. As with any construction job, installing a staircase kit does require certain kinds of tools you might not have on hand. If you have the tools or you are willing to go buy them, you will be in good shape.
Are custom staircase kits easy to install? That depends on who is doing the installation.