Taking Steps Toward Custom Stairs

Stairs for your Home Addition or New Construction

Previously, we discussed the important terms to know when ordering your stairs. However, you may be asking, “Where do I even start in designing and working custom wood stairs in to my project?” We have been answering these questions for customers since we started our business in 1976. Here we outline a quick and easy guide of how to incorporate reclaimed wood stairs into your home addition or new home construction. 

1. Choosing your stair design: First things first, you need to know what style and design you would like for your stairway.Get inspiration of what style stairs you would like to incorporate into your project. Check out our gallery page for past customer projects completed using our stair parts. 

2. Work with your architect: Chances are if you are adding on to your home or building a new home, you might have an architect. Show your architect your design inspiration in order to have him or her draw up your dream design. Your architect of choice may have some follow up questions on your design. To make the most of your meeting and to ensure your stair design is understood, consider the following questions that your architect may ask. 

Stair design questions your Architect may ask: 

Would you like wood handrails or a metal handrail? Both can be beautiful! It just depends on the look you are going for. Also, consider if your stairs are going inside or outside of your home. 

Would you like open or closed risers? If you remember, the risers are the wood pieces that create the base of the step. With risers, there are two distinct looks. Open risers means you can see between the stairs for a more modern look and closed risers (pictured left) that give a more traditional appearance. 

Is your stair case between 2 walls or is one or both sides open? This will determine which stair tread edges need nosing if you choose one or both sides of the stair case to be open. If the stair case is between two walls, the starter tread will be the only one that might need additional nosing and you would be ordering straight treads which have nosing on the front edge only. 

Would you like natural wood stairs or painted stairs? This will also determine what you order down the road. If you want painted risers, balusters and/or handrails, you will not purchase stain grade wood. If you want all natural treads, risers, balusters and/or handrails, make sure you source high quality stain grade wood to ensure a beautiful result! 

3. Work with your general contractor: Once you have a blueprint of your stairs from your architect, the general contractor will make these stairs become a reality. He will assign a finishing carpenter to create the basic framing for the stairway during construction. 

4. Order your stair parts from a reputable supplier like Albany Woodworks: You want to make sure you source your wood from a reputable supplier to ensure the stair parts are made to exact detail and measurement. 

Design concepts to consider when ordering stair parts: Some of the design decisions you made with your architect will carry over into the ordering process. Below are some design concepts to include during ordering. 

Is your stair case between 2 walls or is one or both sides open? This will determine what stair treads need nosing if you choose one or both sides to be open. If the stair case is between two walls, the starter tread will be the only one that may need nosing and you would be ordering straight treads.

What kind of design would you like your starter tread to have if it is open on one or both sides? The common option is to have nosing completely around the exposed rectangular edge or you can opt for a curved radius style nosing finish.

What kind of handrail, baluster and newel post would you like? Balusters (aka spindles) come square instead of rounded. If you are choosing a natural wood handrail, a stain grade handrail can be provided in square or rounded handrail. We offer several styles of newel posts from exposed rustic beams to more refined, traditional options. 

5. Installation and finishing of stairs: Make sure you have allowed time to order your wood flooring and stair parts so that when the walls and ceilings are nearing completion in your home addition or new home construction, you will be ready to have your hardwood flooring and stair parts installed. 

All flooring and stair parts from Albany Woodworks are supplied unfinished, allowing them to be finished on site by your professional finisher. On site finishing allows for a beautiful, high grade result! 

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