Staircases – steps for a stand out project

A staircase is often the first thing that visitors see when they enter a property, so making it a central feature in a home can really make a positive impact on the value of a project. Phil Chimento, general manager at JELD-WEN provides tips and advice on creating a stand out staircase from initial specification through to final design.

Before specifying a staircase for your redevelopment or new build project first consider your budget and what finish you are after; whether you want a high-end exposed oak finish or whether the treads and risers will be covered in carpet. Next think about the configuration; how much available space is there and will there be enough room for other walkways and doorways on the landing and ground floor? Do you need a winder or straight flight and will it span just one flight or multiple?

For every developer, time is money, so it’s crucial that stairs are measured accurately so not to cause delays to your housebuild project. Where available it is worth asking the stairs manufacturer to conduct a site survey to ensure the measurements are accurate, meet Building Regulations and that there is at least two metres headroom clearance.

Stand out staircases

Timber stairs can act as a key differentiator to other homes on the market. Quality designs can improve the aesthetics of a project and give them a stand-out first impression, as well as command a higher property value, making them worth the initial investment.

If you have a larger budget and are looking for a high-end finish, then there are a number of staircase options to choose from. A staircase with wide spindles and larger newel posts creates an immediate impression of sturdiness and luxury. Adding a bullnose step or curtail step will complement an oak staircase giving it a decorative finish. The larger step also provides support for adding a sweeping continuous volute handrail.

A cut and bracketed option creates a distinctive look when a project features a staircase that is exposed on one or both sides. By mixing and matching oak with metal a contemporary impression can be achieved, or to introduce more light and the illusion of space into the design, choose a staircase with glass panels.

Saving time on site

As well as having a large range of designs to choose from, top timber manufacturers are developing innovations which make installations as quick and easy as possible. For example, the latest technology means that some timber staircase manufacturers can now supply factory pre-cut, pre-notched and pre-drilled staircase components that are ready to be installed immediately; minimising the labour required to manually cut on site, speeding up installation time and improving the overall finish. Pre-assembled balustrades are another time-saver – installation ready they eliminate the need for time consuming sawing and cutting on site and simply require positioning and securing in place.

One of the most time-consuming parts of stair installation is decoration and when working to short timescales and a tight budget there’s no time to waste. Housebuilders now have the option to choose staircases that are supplied part-finished, with a factory applied three coat primed finish, meaning only a quick top coat is required on site.

To protect staircases while under construction, ask your manufacturer for easy peel film protection that can simply be peeled away after painting leaving you with clean treads and risers.

Choosing timber

Timber not only looks good but also has great environmental credentials; choosing CE marked full chain of custody products from high quality manufacturers is great for sustainability credentials and ensures longer guarantees for home buyers, and ultimately a good reputation for the housebuilder.

An incredibly versatile material, timber sourced from premium manufacturers will meet the strict specification criteria, carbon targets and regulatory demands of most developments – from listed buildings and conservation areas, to communal living spaces and new build properties.