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How Much Does It Cost To Refurbish a Staircase

As you consider ways to improve and update your home, one area that can date the interior of your home is the staircase. A staircase renovation can add value and a more up-to-date look to your home, with less of a financial investment than most bathroom and kitchen remodels.

But refurbishing a staircase involves numerous components and could become more complicated. Different types of stairs have different average costs, such as spiral staircases versus stairs leading to the basement. 

The project itself includes different components, including possible demolition, rebuilding, moving, repairing damage, carpet runner replacement, painting, refinishing, rail repair, or replacement.

The cost of refurbishing a standard staircase runs between several hundred dollars and several thousand dollars, depending on the project’s complexity, square feet of stairs involved, materials used, the extent of work needed, and whether a contractor or contractor does it like a do-it-yourself job. If you do the job yourself, plan to pay between $1.25 and $3.50 a square foot, compared to the $4 to $8 a square foot spent on a contractor.

During home construction many decades ago, the builders often treated the staircase as an afterthought. But now that you are the homeowner, you can decide to transform the staircase into a stylish and more functional option in your home.

The overall cost of the project depends on how far you want to go. Materials such as wood or wrought iron, or even a combination of glass and stainless steel, can all change the cost of a project.

You may need to replace a few components or the entire staircase. Replacement could mean refreshing existing wood, painting, or finishing. 

Different components of a staircase may need repair or replacement. The treads, or the actual step on the stairs, receive lots of wear and tear. The risers, or the back of the stairs, may require work if the house is older.

Handrails along the stairs often need refurbishing, along with the decorative balusters that help support the handrails. The more decorative elements, like the shoes attached to the bottom or top of balusters to cover holes or newel posts supporting handrails, also require work when renovating or replacing a staircase.

The wide range of costs for a staircase renovation really boils down to the type of work needed. If you need to replace a single component, that project will be at the lower end of the expense range.

If you want to replace the entire staircase, that job will cost substantially more and require a number of tasks, including taking great care not to cause damage to the surrounding area while working. Let’s look at the cost of different parts of the job. 

Cost to Remove and Replace Staircase

In some cases, a staircase needs replacing or removing because it is in such disrepair. Demolition of old stairs costs between $300 and $2,000.

The variation in the price comes from the type of material removed and the extent of demolition needed. It is uncommon to truly demolish stairs. Contractors disassemble them instead of using a sledgehammer to destroy them.

This is done to reduce any damage to the surrounding area when stairs are removed.

Cost to Move Stairs

A new staircase can change the design of your home. You can convert a dark, narrow staircase from the kitchen to an upstairs bedroom into an entry statement in the front of the home that leads upstairs. But you will pay more for that type of job.

If you want the staircase moved to a different area in your home to open up new space, this requires a contractor because the job is more complex. You will need to eliminate the stairs in one area and create new stairs in another.

This part of the project costs up to $2,000, assuming a couple of carpenters can do the job in about 12 hours. But the job may include additional costs for drywall, painting, and other work, depending on the location of the old and new stairs.

Cost to Repair Stairs

If a staircase requires repairs, the job could cost much less. A handrail may break, or a hole develops in a step or a riser that needs repair. A property owner can spend between $4.50 and $8 per square foot on a contractor for stair repairs.

Replacing the handrail costs an additional $30 to $45 per linear foot. The total average project cost runs between $306 and $1,068.

Cost to Refinish Stairs or to Replace Carpeting 

A big part of the staircase remodeling job involves the hardwood stairs finishing or the material that covers it. A property owner pays between $60 to $75 an hour to refinish a 10-step wooden staircase, which takes about two hours to complete.

The total price to complete is between $120 and $150. The average cost to replace carpeting on a 10-step staircase runs about $400, which includes about 40 square feet of carpet.

Cost to Install Banisters

A staircase banister extends along the length of the stairs, serving as a prominent piece that can add to the beauty of the home. A new banister can change the look of a staircase.

Property owners spend between $30 and $47 per linear foot on replacing a banister, which includes labor materials and fittings. A typical job involving a 10-foot banister takes between three and four hours to complete.

If all of the vertical spindles need replacing, that can cost several hundred more dollars, while repair on a single spindle is much less.

Cost to Install Newel Post and Handrail

A property owner pays between $300 and $450 to replace a 10-foot handrail on a staircase. This price for stair railing includes labor and materials if hiring a contractor.

The average price to install a newel post is $365, including labor costs and mid-range materials. Single posts cost between $35 to $550.

The price depends on the dimensions and type of material. One post is used at each end of the rail.

Cost to Paint Stairs and Stairwell

Your staircase renovation job does not need to be expensive. Sometimes all you need to do to update the stairs is apply a new coat of paint. A property owner pays between $500 and $600 on average to paint a staircase.

It is the many corners, nooks, and crannies that take so long. If you go through the trouble of painting the staircase, make sure to also update the paint in the stairwell or the area around the stairs.

It costs between $350 and $450 to paint a stairwell.

Cost to Customize Staircase

If you really want your staircase to make a statement in your home, there are numerous custom options you can consider. This, of course, increases the complexity of the renovation job.

It likely requires hiring an experienced contractor who can help design and plan the project based on your desires. Custom stairs cost anywhere from $2,000 to $40,000, depending on the project, how ornate the design is, the size of the project, and the quality of materials used.

Some property owners can pay tens of thousands of dollars for high-end jobs that use imported materials and uniquely crafted components like handrails, newel posts, banisters, and other elements.