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Stair Parts & Stair Design: Remodeling Stairs—What Can Be Changed?

Stair Parts & Stair Design: Remodeling Stairs—What Can Be Changed?

Stair design can dramatically change how a home feels and the style of decor the staircase either compliments or contrasts.

Walking in the front door of most two-story homes, the staircase is one of the first things you see. It’s right there—front and center. Yet, many owners often ignore their stairs or staircase when it comes to the design and style of their home decor. Around $500B was spent in 2017-2019 on home improvement and remodeling1. The average spent per project in 2021 was around $18,0002.

Despite all this spending on home improvement—and the prominence of a house’s stairs to the look and feel of the home—remodeling a staircase in large part, is frequently overlooked. 

Perhaps one of the reasons remodeling stairs isn’t more common is that people don’t know the different parts of the stairs that can be rather easily changed or they imagine its very expensive. However, stair parts in general are very affordable and even small changes can have a dramatic impact. First, however, comes understanding what the various stair parts are and then learning what options you have for each. 

The following stair parts can be updated or changed when remodeling stairs:

Stair Treads 

Stair treads are the part of the stair you step on as you climb up or down the staircase. Treads are usually made of wood and can either be stain grade or raw/treated wood covered by carpet. In remodeling your stairs by updating stair treads, you can:

  • Remove carpet and change treads to hardwood treads
  • Re-stain/refresh existing wood stain on stair treads
  • Change the species of stair treads
  • Re-paint/paint stair treads
Stair Rail

Stair rail or handrail is the rail you hold on to as you climb or descend your stairs. Stair handrail for interior staircases is usually wood—stained or painted—or metal/“iron.” Here are some of the ways you can change or update your stair rail:

  • Re-stain or re-paint wood stair rail
  • Change from stained handrail to painted handrail
  • Change from wood handrail to metal/“iron” handrail
  • Change from iron rail to wood handrail

Stair newels are the wood “posts” at the top, bottom, and direction changes of your staircase. Newels attach to the handrail. There are several different types and styles of newel posts that may be present on your staircase now or that you can choose from to change/update. 

Newels are also available in different species of wood and can even come primed for painting. (See our Anatomy of a Stair – Stair Parts Diagram for additional information.) 

Here are some of the ways you can remodel a staircase by changing or changing out newels:

  • Change your starting newel
  • Change your intersection newel
  • Change your balcony newel
  • Change newel style (as of the writing of this article, box newels are very popular)
  • Change newel finish or paint color

Stair balusters are sometimes called “spindles.” However, “baluster” is the correct term when it comes to the posts that attach to your stair rail and treads at even intervals along your staircase. Stair balusters are almost always made of wood or metal but come in a variety of species and finishes. Wood balusters can be stained or painted. 

Here are some of the staircase changes you can make with your balusters:

  • Change balusters from wood to metal
  • Change balusters from metal to wood
  • Change the finish of metal balusters
  • Change the style of metal balusters (change to balusters with baskets or twists, for example)
  • Change the species of wood balusters
  • Change the stain of wood balusters
  • Change the paint of wood balusters

Stair baluster shoes are only used with metal/iron balusters and attach to the bottom of the baluster where it meets the tread and where the baluster meets the rail. Baluster shoes have become popular in the last decade but can be found in a limited variety of finishes. Black baluster shoes are by far the most common choice. 

Generally, baluster shoes can only be added when changing out balusters. The good news is that today there are some innovative products—such as the Evermark TapNTwist and Evermark SlipNGrip—that can make adding shoes to balusters much easier. 

Of course, the items above are not the only things you can change when it comes to remodeling your stairs but they are the most common. 

Really, it’s important to just look at your existing staircase and the decor and style of your home to see where change might be needed. Then, check out your options such as stair parts by Evermark at Home Depot. And of course, if you have questions, feel free to reach out to our team! 

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