Getting to the Next Level: Staircase Renovation or Elevator?
When your home has at least two levels, one of the most overlooked elements in building design is how to get from floor to floor. It should be convenient, attractive and easy to navigate. If you don’t climb steps with the vigor you did 20 years ago, stairways can be inconvenient and even painful. For older homes, especially Colonials, a single long staircase can make parents of little ones nervous. The solution could be to renovate your stairs or replace them with a new design. You can also eliminate them entirely with the convenience of a home elevator.
Renovating or replacing your stairs can make your home look very different. Some remodeling choices in staircase design include traditional wood staircases, spiral ones, floating stairs and steps without a rise panel across the back.
• Stress and Safety – Stairs can take a beating, and in some cases they may need renovating – or at least refinishing. Look for boards that move or gaps where the boards should come together, as well as cracks or warping.
• Size – If you feel crowded, nervous or cramped when you go upstairs or down, you could benefit from a re-design.
• Efficiency – If you have a large home and only have one set of stairs, you probably have to travel to the other side of the house and back again to go up to the room above. Adding another staircase can improve your convenience. This is also something to consider if you’re planning a large addition.
• Maximizing Space – The amount of room that your staircase takes up could be changed to maximize the space for something else. Check into a spiral staircase or one with a landing that reverses direction of travel.
• Walls – One way to open up space is to remove all or part of a staircase wall. This is a great option when the wall isn’t a load-bearing structure.
• Codes – Depending on when your house was built, the zoning requirements for railings and banisters have probably changed. Check with your remodeling contractor to make sure your ideas are within code.
• Railings – You can change the whole look of the stairwell by changing the length, angle, height or style. Using a combination of wood and metal for railing and banister materials has become quite popular with staircase designs.
• Styles – Home elevators don’t look like the large metal boxes you see in office buildings. They’re smaller, and they’re made in different shapes and sizes.
• Wraps – A recent trend is to have an elevator with a staircase contoured around it. This takes up less space than two separate structures and improves continuity.
• Lifts – Similar to an elevator, a lift has no walls. It’s ideal for an open floor plan and for short level changes.
When it comes to your home remodel, it’s helpful to think about both your immediate and future needs. Renovating and replacing staircases can take your home’s interior to a whole new level.