Where to start

Every house needs a staircase, but with so many different types available it can be a little confusing

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The options are to hire a joiner to design and fit a bespoke staircase, or, if you are designing a significant new feature or planning any changes to the overall plan (such as repositioning), enlist an architect or structural engineer to design a significant new feature.

For a simple replacement that you can fit yourself, an off-the-shelf kit will provide a good, affordable result and, given their modest price tags, there are some impressive designs available. ‘Staircases in most houses fit into one hole in the floor, so you can simply slot the new one into its place,’ says structural engineer Stuart Tappin.

Manufacturers offer clear planning and installation advice, and with ready-to-fit staircases starting at £1,000 plus the cost of a joiner, it needn’t break the bank. ‘On average, people pay £6,500-£8,500 for us to design and fit a staircase from start to finish,’ says John McClafferty of staircase specialists Deller McClafferty Design.

To visualise what you need, Oakleaf Industries recommends that you start by making a sketch of the space with measurements of the floor-to-floor height, floor-to-ceiling height, size of the stairwell opening and available floor space on the upper and lower floors. Make a note of any obstructions that may affect how you use the stair. ‘It’s important to carefully consider what suits the place you’re in,’ says architect Sarah Featherstone.

Staircases in most houses fit into one hole in the floor, so you can simply slot the new one into its place,’ says structural engineer Stuart Tappin.

There is a myth among self-builders that changing the whole balustrade is difficult and time consuming. This certainly used to be the case. Now though, designs are becoming more innovative, with stair parts designed as a DIY project’, says Dave Richards of balustrade manufacturer Richard Burbidge.

Manufacturers offer clear planning and installation advice, and with ready-to-fit staircases starting at £1,000 plus the cost of a joiner, it needn’t break the bank.


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