Of course, being one of the most frequented areas of the home, your stairs are bound to experience some wear and tear over the years. But if you’re noticing more signs than usual, it may be time to replace it.

But how do you replace an old staircase? In this post, our staircase experts explain, step by step, what you need to do.

Staircase Terminology 

When removing your stairs by yourself, it’s important you know the names of different parts and their function. Some terms you might come across include:

  • Newel – the large post that can be found at the top or at key junctures on any flight of stairs.
  • Mortise and tenon joint – this joint consists of two parts – the mortise hole and the tenon tongue – and is used to join two pieces of wood at a 90-degree angle.
  • Apron – a facia covering the ends of the string and the joists of the landing.
  • String – the panel on the side of the staircase that the treads and risers are attached to.
  • Treads – the horizontal part of the step that is trodden on.
  • Risers – the vertical space between two steps.

Removing your old staircase

Whether you’re new to DIY projects or you’re a seasoned pro, all it takes is two simple steps to remove your old, worn-out stairs:

1. Remove the rails

Most rails are either nailed or screwed to the face of the newel – but it’s not uncommon for them to be glued and others may be fixed to the centre using a mortise and tenon joint. No matter how your railings are fixed to your stairs, though, all you need to do to remove the rails is saw a short distance from the newels.

If the top rail isn’t fixed to the top post, and instead meets the apron or ceiling, then cut the rail near to wherever it’s fixed – leaving enough room to aid removal later on.

2. Removing treads and risers

The treads and risers are likely what needs replacing the most – thanks to the years’ worth of wear and tear they have incurred.

The best way to go about removing them is by prying up to the front edge of the tread and, to loosen it, hammering the side closer to the riser down, as this will make it much easier to remove.

Once all the treads have been dismantled, you can then do the same to your risers, knocking the back to loosen them up a little.

Wherever possible, make sure to work from top to bottom so that you’re never left stranded on the floor above.

Fitting your new staircase

Whilst we recommend that a qualified joiner installs your new staircase for you, we understand that this isn’t always an option and that you might be wanting to tackle the job yourself.

We have a full guide to installing our staircases, but here are the basic steps to get you started:

  1. Attach the new stringers.
  2. Add a brace for extra support and to minimise wear and tear.
  3. Place the new risers at the top and work your way down, using wood glue to hold them in place and securing them permanently with nails and wood putty or filler.
  4. Install newel posts, fitting them snugly around the step, making sure they’re straight and secure with lag bolts.
  5. Prep for and install your spindles.
  6. Attach the rail fasteners.
  7. Tighten the post and fasteners.

Need further advice?

Whether you’re looking for staircase inspiration, or you need more expert tips on how to replace your old staircase, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our staircase specialists here at Pear Stairs.

Call 01938 553 311 to chat with us directly, or reach out to us via email at webenquiries@pearstairs.co.uk, and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible with more information!