Contract work or do it ourselves?

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Posted by: from Saint Hubert
3/13/2017 at 9:21:31 PM

We moved into our home and installed beautiful maple hardwood floors. The stairs have the original steps, no stain which are oak. The rails are the original metal. We want to replace the post, rails, and sand/stain the steps to match our floors. We are not sure whether to buy the material install it, but hire someone to stain for us. Realistically we want to be within budget. But are not sure if we should contract it out or do it ourselves. What are the risks. Love a professional opinion!

Contract work or do it ourselves?
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Steven from Fellows Flooring in New Hamburg
Date/Time3/13/2017 at 10:14:10 PM

It's always best to get a pro for stairs to ensure quality and safety. Rail are not really a DYI.

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Kami from Reno Plus in Ottawa
Date/Time3/13/2017 at 10:24:13 PM

From the pictures presented here, my professional advice is if you are comfortable with the removal of that railing and installing new wood on those steps then all the power to you. But if you have not done a project to this scale I recommend watching some DIY videos.

If still you have doubts, then get a professional to do it. Before you take this on I would however get a price on sanding the wood down and retaining them. It might just be in your budget.

I hope this info was helpful.

Good luck.

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Christopher from D.C Contracting YEG in Edmonton
Date/Time3/13/2017 at 11:18:46 PM

Personally the accomplishment feeling from doing yourself will always be there as you use your stairs and is why I do what I do but if you do it yourself watch different how to videos on how to apply stain properly and evenly .. it's nice to test your stain on the same material before actually doing the project .. stain can get messy and the finish coat can always be sanded with a 800 - 1500 grit sandpaper fir smith finish (clear coat)

Christopher Woods

D.C Contracting YEG

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Date/Time3/14/2017 at 6:53:58 AM

Trying to match stain to existing is an art. I would suggest you get it professionally done for best results.

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Date/Time3/14/2017 at 10:39:16 AM

Hi Christal,

Yes, part of this can be done by your self. I would recommend only the stairs however. First carefully remove the railing. To insure your steps do not have anything on them , you may want to scrape them ( by hand ) with a very sharp paint scraper, obviously only scraping with the grain. Having a couple of these scrapers handy is good. Keep them very sharp and be carful not to gouge the wood.

Now get at least a couple of estimates from a Stair railing company to install the style of railing you would like The wood should be Oak if in fact that's what your steps are but you could get maple to match the rest of the floor but it would not match your steps, so stick with oak. Once the new railing is in place, buy a small piece of matching oak lumber and many little cans of stain and see which stain matches up best and then finely

sand your steps and railing , remove all the dust and then stain and finish it all. Stain you will have to leave dry over night but water based urethane, you can put on 3 coats a day. Be sure to hand sand min. 220 sandpaper

after first coat. After that you should be fine. The more coats you put on the hand rail and steps the better protection.

Good Luck.

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Brad from Leggo Kitchens in Brantford
Date/Time3/14/2017 at 1:48:48 PM


Unless you have good experience with carpentry, this is one I would avoid do yourself. Your railing needs to be secure or there is a safety risk. If you wanted to do the tear out to try to save perhaps that might be best.

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Matt from MRC in Regina
Date/Time3/14/2017 at 5:20:06 PM

I really like your DIY spirit. There's nothing like getting something done for yourself, that's the truth. However, stairs need to be perfect or as close to perfect as possible. That's strictly a safety concern. If it's a high traffic area, used by children and the elderly, there's no question, hire a professional.

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Date/Time3/14/2017 at 11:14:11 PM

Such jobs needs a professional to have it done probably!

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Date/Time3/15/2017 at 12:04:44 PM

Hi Christal,

I find its really easy to say, just hire a professional but i'm sure that's not all you want to hear. I agree that installing the railings is a safety concern. Watch a few diy's and pro videos and if you still do not have the confidence in ensuring it's strength, then don't. But as for staining the stairs, I find its a very simple but tedious and time consuming process for any DYI'er.

Make sure you have a checklist for all your material such as drop sheet, brush/sponge, turpentine to clean any mistakes or your tools up. Sandpaper from tough grit to a fine finish, use a pre stain wood conditioner, the stain and a protective finish.

The most important thing with choosing a stain is making sure you get a stain that looks the same way the stained maple looks but on the oak. All woods adsorb stains differently and the colour on the maple will definitely look different on the oak.

Hope that all helps, Good Luck!

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