attic · stairs

Faking It: A Stair Solution

Because our attic is brand new living space, one of the things we needed to address during our renovation was a brand new set of stairs. Have you ever looked in to new stairs? Even low-end models made with cheap wood and no extra details go for thousands of dollars. Of course, that includes measurements, manufacture, and install – easy peasy.

We’re not easy peasy people though, and we don’t have multiple thousands of dollars floating around to spend on a set of stairs. DIY time!

It’s not quite done yet, but the hardest parts have been figured out and executed, and the Husband is pretty proud of his work. So, how did we do it?

We started with this:

The Husband and his dad built a strong, but not exactly pretty set of stairs out of fairly cheap wood. They felt amazing after months and months of living with a kind of rickety set of temporary stairs. These stairs became the base for the final product.

We found a company nearby that specializes in restoring and recovering stairs. Most of the work they do involves ripping up carpet and covering the basic wooden stairs beneath with higher quality wood. This is essentially what we were doing, except that we never started with carpeted stairs. We called them in, had them take plenty of measurements, and ordered all the pieces. We thought briefly about hiring them for installation too, but, in the end, the Husband wanted to take a crack at putting it all together.

When the pieces finally arrived, it took the Husband a little bit of a learning curve to put them all together. There were still cuts to be made to get the standard pieces down to the right size and a little creative thinking necessary for figuring out how our railing fit into the whole picture. But, finally, many weeks later, we’ve got a set of stairs stained and sealed and only missing some white spindles. (The company made a mistake in ordering our spindles and didn’t order any longer ones to go up the angle of the stairs. So, we only have half for the stairs.)

Other than trim, these stairs are pretty well the last thing to finish in the attic, and certainly the last thing required for us to close out our permit. Of everything, in some ways, these stairs were the most exciting part of the attic renovation to see come together. We had no stair building expertise before we began, and yet, by carefully muddling through, we figured it out and have ended up with a finished product that, to me, looks just as good as something installed by professionals.

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