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Average Cost To Install Or Replace Wood Stairs And Railings

The most popular form of stairs, wood stairs and railings are found in many homes. Because they see a lot of foot traffic, the stairs or railing may need to be repaired or replaced over time. Even if your stairs are in good shape, you might be looking to upgrade your home's interior by replacing a carpeted stairway with a modern hardwood look.

If you're ready to install or replace your wood stairs and railings, use our free lead generator to find a local contractor in your area who can help you with an upgrade that works with your budget.

Table of Contents

  1. Wood Stairs & Railing Cost
  2. Wood Stairs & Railing Cost Considerations
  3. Wood Stair Costs Vs. Other Materials
  4. Interior Vs. Exterior Stairs & Railings
  5. Railing Cost Considerations
  6. DIY Or Hire A Pro?
  7. How To Install Wood Stairs & Railings
  8. Find A Pro

Wood Stairs & Railing Cost

On average, each wooden stair tread costs approximately $36 to $51, while a wooden handrail measuring 17 feet costs between $69 and $85. The labor for stairway installation can run from $62 to $152 for two hours of work, while additional supplies and tools may be anywhere from $69 to $98. Railing labor and supplies can cost even more, ranging from $336 to $572. In total, for an average staircase with 12 steps and the included handrail, you could be looking at costs ranging from $1,169 to $2,043. This is assuming you are building a standard, economy wooden staircase with a basic contractor-grade railing.

Wood Stairs & Railing Cost Considerations

Wood Stairs & Railing Cost Considerations

There are many factors that can influence the cost of your stairs and railing, including:

  • The location of the stairs inside or outside your home
  • The number of stairs
  • Placement of the staircase (main stairway vs. attic stairway)
  • Pre-existing condition of the staircase
  • Shape of the staircase (spiral or split-level may cost more)
  • Railing placement (against wall or balusters)

Wood Stair Costs Vs. Other Materials

Wooden stairs are the most common, and they're also on the less expensive side. Here's a look how they compare to other stair materials:

Stair Material

Cost Per Step

Wood

$36 to $51

Concrete

$300

Metal

$196

Carpet

$15 to $25

Stone

$150

Interior Vs. Exterior Stairs & Railings

Exterior stairs are different than interior stairs since any wood needed outside for both railings and stairs needs to be pressure-treated and able to withstand the elements. Exterior stairs often need more maintenance and may require repair or replacing more often. Because they need additional treatment, exterior wood stairs and railings are generally more expensive than interior stairs and railings.

Railing Cost Considerations

Railing Cost Considerations

There can be a considerable cost difference in the railing depending on where you place it. Railings that attach to the wall are usually less expensive than railings that attach to the stairs through balusters and newel posts. Additionally, the type of wood and length of the railing can drive the cost up or down.

Although the railing definitely completes the look of the staircase, its job is more than just decorative. The railing makes the stairway safe. It usually needs to be set at a certain height, often between 34 and 38 inches, and it needs to support at least 200 pounds at any angle. There may also be local regulations regarding its distance from the wall or from other structures. Every community has different local building codes.

DIY Or Hire A Pro?

It is possible for an experienced do-it-yourselfer to install or repair stairs, but you must pay careful attention to the details of the project. Since stairs are used daily and are a main focal point of the home, this isn't a job you want to take lightly. Hiring a professional takes the stress off and ensures that the work is done correctly.

How To Install Wood Stairs & Railings

If you do want to give this project a try on your own, then follow these steps:

  1. Measure and cut the stair treads to size. Install the treads starting at the bottom stair, using 2 1/4-inch trim screws. Space the holes on the treads evenly.
  2. Before adding the final top tread, add a 2x4 brace between the stringers at the top step to offer extra support.
  3. Use wood putty to fill all the screw holes.
  4. If necessary, install the hardwood landing. Use a nosing border cut at a 45-degree angle and attach it with 2 1/4 inch trim screws. Insert a spline to create a tongue flooring to connect to. Tap the hardwood planks into position with a mallet, then secure with a floor nailer. Fill any nail holes with wood putty.
  5. Install the half-newel post. First pre-drill holes in the post and holes for the bolts in the wall. Insert screws for the toggle bolts, and attach the toggles. Insert the toggles into the holes in the wall, and tighten the screws.
  6. Install the newel posts. Notch the bottom of the first newel post so that it sits snugly around the top step. Secure it with lag bolts. Attach the second newel post the same way, fitting it around the bottom step.
  7. Cut the stair railing to length.
  8. Pre-drill the landing and treads to install the balusters. Use a special stair bit to drill the hole. Then drill out the center of the balusters, and insert the baluster bolts into the bottom. Screw the balusters into the floor.
  9. Attach the rail fasteners into the newel posts.

Watch the video below to learn how to extend your hardwood flooring to cover your stairs:

Find A Pro

Installing or replacing a wood staircase and railings is a great way to update your home's look and value. Get started today using our free lead generator tool to contact local contractors in your area who have experience with this kind of work.

Last updated on Nov 17, 2016

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