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Old 07-28-2008, 06:43 AM   #1
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My staircase is a wreck


My husband and I recently purchased our first home. One of the biggest problems that we noticed right away was the stairway in the living room. The previous owner thought he was a carpenter, but all he did was make a mess of things. He took a circular saw to the bottom step to install the banister, leaving huge saw marks all over the steps. Then he proceeded to install a new railing, but at the wrong angle, so the railing gets progressively shorter as you go up. Also, there must have been some sort of cover on the side of the steps, but for whatever reason he removed it. We got a good deal on the house, and I figured we would have plenty of time to do the necessary repairs. From our perspective, the stairs were a minor issue when compared to some of the other houses we had seen on our hunt. Does anyone know how we can fix this or where we should even start? Even if I replace the lower step, I doubt I could match the stain on the rest of the house. It is a 20 year old house and the stain is probably not available anymore.








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Old 07-28-2008, 06:49 AM   #2
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My staircase is a wreck


It's a mess.

I would advise doing your research and re-doing the hole ugly thing. There is no overhang on the tread sides, the bottom tread is a mess, and then you have your railing height issue. The whole thing should be re-done.

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Old 07-28-2008, 07:08 AM   #3
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My staircase is a wreck


Even he would not think he was a carpenter. Much less anyone one else. Get some books and read up on building stairs. With that knowledge and this forum you can do it.

You can't do any worse than he did. Good luck.
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Old 07-28-2008, 07:16 AM   #4
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My staircase is a wreck


Atlantic said it right. Start with a crowbar and then move to your Visa card. A good paint store can match stain if you can't find a close ready mixed product. If it were just one problem, it would be fixable, but you've got problems that effect the whole ballister/railing/stair assembly. Any kind of repair at this point will look like a patch.
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Old 07-28-2008, 07:26 AM   #5
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My staircase is a wreck


Agree! replace the stairs. And order oak steps not basement or carpet grade. this is your focal point if the stairs are located by your front entree way. BOB
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Old 07-28-2008, 07:40 AM   #6
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My staircase is a wreck


I sort of thought I would have to do the whole thing over. Who should I hire? A carpenter, or a builder? Since this is my first home I am sort of new to all this.
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Old 07-28-2008, 07:46 AM   #7
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A good Carpenter! Or go in the yellow pages and look under stairs and railings. BOB
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Old 07-28-2008, 07:51 AM   #8
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My staircase is a wreck


You want an experienced FINISH carpenter.

Please be selective about this. There are so many shmo's out there that "call" themselves a carpenter, because they can cut and nail some sections of wood.

Trust me, it takes an experienced finish carpenter, with all the right tools to do the proper work on wood stairs, and make it all come out nice. It will not be a cheap price to do this, but you DO NOT want this job done cheaply. Someone already attempted that, and you can see the results.

The Oak stair materials are not cheap either. You don't want some bozo wasting the stock, while he's learning how to attempt the job.

Good Luck!
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Old 07-28-2008, 07:54 AM   #9
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My staircase is a wreck


Okay, thanks for the advice! I was hoping there was something I could do to fix it but I suspected I might have to redo the whole thing. I will do some research on finishing carpenters and see what I come up with. Thanks again!
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Old 07-28-2008, 08:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlanticWBConst. View Post
You want an experienced FINISH carpenter.

Please be selective about this. There are so many shmo's out there that "call" themselves a carpenter, because they can cut and nail some sections of wood.

Trust me, it takes an experienced finish carpenter, with all the right tools to do the proper work on wood stairs, and make it all come out nice. It will not be a cheap price to do this, but you DO NOT want this job done cheaply. Someone already attempted that, and you can see the results.

The Oak stair materials are not cheap either. You don't want some bozo wasting the stock, while he's learning how to attempt the job.

Good Luck!
Well put .
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Old 07-29-2008, 05:32 PM   #11
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My staircase is a wreck


Check your local Yellow Pages under "millworks". They can most likely refer you to a local professional who can do the job.
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Old 08-03-2008, 09:32 PM   #12
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My staircase is a wreck


Unfortunately, I have to agree with everyone also..rip it out. From the photos and your description of the handrail problems, any fixes will still look like a patch job. I can't imagine what the thought process was with flush cutting the outside of the treads to the skirt board, or using that material for treads, combined with the mismatched balustrude. He also had no clue about the proper layout of the balusters and starting newel locations. The stain can be matched, that is the least of your problems here.
Like said, be sure you get a "real" trim carpenter, even a simple stair like this one will separate the men from the boys.
Also, check with local inspector to see if he will accept only two ballusters per tread. Those thin "candlestick" style ballusters will actually mathematically exceed the legal spacing at their narrow tops when set on a 11.25" standard factory tread.. Most inspectors still let it slide, as it is very close, but some take the PITA road on this issue.

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