How Much Does a Staircase Remodel Cost?

A staircase remodel can take a home’s visual appeal to new heights, but how much does this project cost? The national average staircase remodel cost is $2,051, with a typical range of $953 to $3,253.

By Rochel Maday | Published Nov 30, 2023 3:28 PM

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A person uses a sander to finish stairs.

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Highlights

  • Most homeowners will spend between $953 and $3,253 for a staircase remodel cost, but the average is about $2,051.
  • The cost to remodel a staircase is made up of several important factors: the material, size, and style of the staircase; the installation location; the project scope; necessary permits; and labor fees.
  • Homeowners can increase their home’s value and feel more secure using their stairs when they schedule a remodel to resolve a variety of issues, including creaking or damaged treads, bowing or sagging stairs, water damage, structural damage, or loose railings and posts.
  • An improperly installed staircase can spell disaster for a home’s occupants, which is why most homeowners skip the DIY route and hire a professional staircase installer to ensure a safe and professional installation.
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Homeowners wanting to give their home’s staircase a makeover can choose from several options, from adding a fresh coat of paint or a carpet runner to constructing an entirely new layout. The extent of a staircase remodel determines its cost, but homeowners can expect to pay anywhere from $953 to $3,253 to update or repair their home’s stairs.

Several factors can influence a final staircase remodel cost, including the style and materials chosen, the need for repairs, and any permit requirements. However, the national average staircase remodel cost is $2,051, according to Angi and HomeAdvisor.

Learning about the average cost of a stair remodel can help homeowners considering a staircase remodel understand cost factors, discover the different types of staircase remodels, and learn how to save a little money in the process. Armed with this knowledge, homeowners can make informed decisions about their remodel and experience a result that’s functional and beautiful.

Factors in Calculating Staircase Remodel Cost

A man uses a tool during a staircase remodel.

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No two staircase remodels are alike. Several factors influence the final remodeling cost, from job scope to materials and location. When homeowners estimate a staircase remodel cost, focusing on the following factors can help calculate a proper budget.

Style

The style of a remodeled staircase can significantly influence the overall cost, with complex styles leading to higher prices and simpler stairs being more budget-friendly. Standard stairs start at around $1,900, offering a sound and structural staircase for a minimal investment.

However, floating staircases can cost up to $5,000 or even $30,000 due to the need for specialized invisible supports, while arched or curved stairs typically start at $8,000. A curved staircase’s complexity and unique construction process increase the time, labor, and material costs for the homes that can accommodate such a style. Admittedly, they’re more suitable for larger houses with the appropriate space.

Staircase StyleAverage Cost (Materials and Labor)
Arched or curved$8,000 to $20,000
Floating$3,000 to $5,000
Straight$1,900 to $5,000


Location

The location of a staircase in or around the house directly impacts its remodeling cost. Differences in accessibility, visibility, and intended use all come into play. Areas that are difficult to reach may require special equipment during a remodel. On the other hand, easier access tends to lead to more efficient work and savings on labor costs.

Staircases in highly visible areas often serve as a focal point and may require higher-quality materials or finishes. Less visible staircases can be more practical in price and materials. Finally, the intended use of a staircase influences the pricing. Stairs with less frequent use can be built with more basic materials and simpler designs. However, primary staircases require more durable materials, which can lead to higher costs.

Installation LocationAverage Cost (Materials and Labor)
Attic$500 to $900
Basement$920 to $2,800
Main$2,400 to $4,000


Material

Staircases can be made from a wide variety of materials, each with its own price points. The most common materials include hardwood, concrete, glass, metal, and stone.

Hardwood is one of the lower-cost materials and is a common choice for interior stairs. However, the price reflects the overall quality of the wood. Homeowners can expect to pay between $100 and $200 per wood step, with wood railings costing between $750 and $1,250.

Concrete is another budget-friendly material commonly used for exterior stairs, as it holds up well to the elements. Concrete steps cost about $300 each.

Metal or steel staircases are ideal for industrial styles or spiral designs. A metal step costs about $200, while a stainless steel staircase costs between $4,060 and $5,390. Steel pipe rails range from $1,200 to $2,700.

Glass and stone are two of the most expensive staircase materials. Glass staircases range from $3,300 to $6,880, with glass railings costing as much as $8,500 due to the complex installation techniques. Stone staircases cost more due to the weight and luxury status of the material. For example, a marble staircase can cost as much as $10,000.

Project Scope

When it comes to staircase remodels, project scope can mean many things. The process may involve simple updates like repainting or recarpeting. Replacing or repairing treads, handrails, or balusters is a more advanced task, while changing a staircase’s structure, style, or layout encompasses a wide project scope that will likely require permits.

Generally speaking, the broader the scope, the higher the remodel cost due to increased materials, labor, and time. It’s important for homeowners to remember that when they are planning a staircase remodel, a well-defined scope can help create a realistic budget and project timeline. Scope is a factor that the homeowner determines, not the contractor, though it’s best to rely on a professional to provide recommendations for structural and safety issues.

Labor and Permits

Labor and permits are two crucial factors to consider when homeowners are estimating a staircase remodel cost. To start, labor costs vary based on the contractor’s experience and the complexity of the remodel. However, most general contractors charge between $50 and $100 per hour, and the total can range from $1,000 to $5,000 for the more ornate types of staircases. Fast remodeling jobs can take as little as eight hours, while more complex projects can take several weeks.

While not everyone will wonder how to build stairs or even how to build a winding staircase, budding DIYers may be curious to know whether it’s worth trying to save on labor costs. However, in the end, remodeling staircases is typically best left to the professionals, who have the time and expertise to build stairs that will keep the home’s occupants safe.

Some staircase remodels may require a permit. This is especially true if the project involves structural or layout changes. Permit costs vary by location but typically range from $200 to $500.

Inspections are often necessary when homeowners are switching up layouts or doing a complete overhaul of a staircase. Inspection fees range from $100 to $300 per visit, and several visits may be required for final approval.

A close up of unfinished stairs and a tube product in the middle.

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Types of Staircase Remodels

Some staircase remodels are quite simple, while others are rather complex. Knowing the appropriate type of remodeling for a staircase is one of the most important steps a homeowner can take. This makes it easier to set a budget or choose an experienced contractor.

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Full Removal and Replacement

Full removal involves taking out an existing staircase and installing an entirely new one. It’s much more intensive than a basic remodel and is typically considered when a staircase has significant structural issues. Rebuilding stairs completely is also a preference some homeowners have when they’re working on a significant design change.

A full removal and stair replacement can be a significant financial investment compared to a simple remodel. Costs vary widely based on design complexity, materials chosen, and labor requirements. There’s the potential for additional expenses as well, such as permits, demolition, disposal of the old staircase materials, and modifications to the surrounding walls, floors, and other elements. For an accurate estimate, homeowners will want to speak with several contractors.

Custom Staircase Installation

The staircase renovation cost varies widely. With such diversity in design choices and custom features, homeowners can pay anywhere from $2,000 to $30,000 for a one-of-a-kind staircase. For example, more intricate designs tend to be more expensive. Material choices also play a significant role in pricing. Finally, custom features such as under-stairs storage, stair lifts, and additional landings can add to the overall cost.

Custom staircases can significantly increase a home’s aesthetics and value. Working with a designer or architect on a custom staircase can ensure the project is functional, visually appealing, and safe.

Staircase Painting

A new coat of paint can significantly enhance the appearance of a staircase or stairwell. A painting project offers an affordable way to update the space without bringing in a demolition crew. Homeowners can choose from a wide range of colors to match their vision and home’s current decor.

The average cost of painting a staircase is about $590, including preparation work such as sanding and priming. Pricing is typically calculated at $4 to $12 per linear foot, depending on the type of paint or stain used. Generally speaking, longer and wider staircases will cost more to paint than shorter, narrower designs. Hiring one of the best house painters (such as CertaPro Painters or 360° Painting) can ensure a professional experience and high-quality result.

Staircase Refinishing

Staircase refinishing is a process that renews the surface of the stairs rather than altering the entire structure. The process typically involves removing or sanding the existing material, fixing any minor issues or damage, and applying new finishes, materials, or stains.

Refinishing is preferred over doing an entire remodel for structurally sound staircases that merely have noticeable cosmetic wear. It’s the ideal choice for homeowners when the goal is only to update the look of a staircase or even restore it to its original appearance.

The cost to refinish stairs is generally less expensive than the cost to remodel and offers budget-friendly DIY potential. However, a homeowner may have fewer style options with a refinishing project than with a complete remodel.

Staircase Component Replacement 

Staircases are made up of several components, all of which need replacing over time due to use. For example, carpet runners add style and comfort to stairs, but with daily foot traffic, they can begin to fade and stain.

Treads and risers are the visible components of each step. They’re available in different styles and materials, so upgrading them can transform a simple staircase into a focal point.

Balusters support handrails, adding both style and safety to a staircase. A quick replacement can make all the difference if they become loose or outdated. Additionally, the handrailings or banisters may need to be replaced if they’ve been damaged or are worn out. For style purposes, replacing the balusters and indoor stair railing simultaneously may make sense.

Staircase ComponentAverage Cost (Materials and Labor)
Balusters$1,200 to $1,600
Carpet Runners$500 to $2,000
Posts and Banisters$35 to $550
Railings$340 to $580
Treads and Risers$1,800 to $2,500


Do I need a staircase remodel?

In some homes, a staircase is the focal point of an entryway, for good or bad, and in other homes, it serves a strict functional use for navigating between levels of the home. How does a homeowner know when it’s time for an update? Several key signs can help signal that it’s time for a staircase remodel.

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Creaking or Damaged Treads

Treads are the horizontal parts of a stair where people step to move up or down the staircase. They can take a beating, especially in homes with heavy foot traffic.

Homeowners are advised to consider a staircase remodel when they notice excessive creaking sounds while they’re using their stairs or when they see visible signs of wear, such as cracks, splits, or warping. Unstable or loose treads can be dangerous to the home’s occupants and will certainly only worsen with time.

Treads can be temporarily secured, and there are several possible solutions to fix squeaky stairs. However, consulting with a professional is in a homeowner’s best interest. Contractors can determine if only a few treads need to be repaired or if hidden issues indicate that the entire staircase should be replaced.

Bowing or Sagging Stairs

Seeing or feeling dips or curves in one or more steps can be alarming. Bowing or sagging stairs can indicate structural weakness, deterioration, or underlying issues with a staircase’s supporting framework. No matter the cause, it’s an issue that homeowners are advised to address.

Unfortunately, bowing or sagging stairs are a definite sign that a staircase is in need of a remodel, as simple repairs are insufficient to resolve structural issues. A remodel that involves replacing or reinforcing the affected areas ensures residents’ long-term safety.

When addressing bowing or sagging stairs, homeowners are advised to assess the entire staircase structure, not just the visibly affected steps. Considering upgrading materials for better durability may also be worth the added investment for homeowners.

Water Damage

Water damage can present itself in several ways on a flight of indoor or outdoor stairs. If there is discoloration or dark spots on the wood or any swelling, warping, or softening of the material, water damage is a distinct possibility. Mold or mildew growth is another telltale sign that water damage has occurred frequently.

Leaks from nearby plumbing or the roof can cause water damage. Flooding can be another cause, especially in basements or lower levels after a significant storm. High humidity can also cause water damage to stairs.

To fix the issue, homeowners will need to identify and address the source of the moisture first. Next, all the damaged areas, including treads and risers, need to be replaced. Any mold or mildew also needs to be treated appropriately to prevent potential health hazards. Remodeling a water-damaged staircase addresses both aesthetic and structural concerns.

Structural Damage

Structural damage in a staircase can have several possible causes, from aging and natural wear and tear to poor initial construction, excessive weight, or environmental factors such as earthquakes or flooding. Structural damage can present as cracks in the stringers, a significant gap between the stairs and the wall, or noticeable movement in the staircase while residents are climbing or descending.

No matter the cause or presentation, structural damage must be addressed quickly to ensure safety. Structural damage is not a DIY repair, and hiring a professional contractor is necessary to assess the staircase. A complete remodel can offer a more durable and aesthetically pleasing solution than patchwork repairs, which may only temporarily solve a structural issue.

Loose Railings or Posts

Normal wear and tear on a staircase can eventually lead to loose railings or posts. When railings or posts move when touched, they may also have visible screws or fasteners that stick out—or are missing entirely. This issue can also be caused by wood shrinkage or expansion due to humidity or temperature changes.

Loose railings or posts can pose a serious safety hazard and need to be fixed immediately. Even if the mobility is minor, the issue can rapidly worsen and increase the risk of falls or injuries.

Since loose railings or posts can indicate an underlying issue with a staircase’s structural integrity, a full remodel can be the best way for the homeowner to address the problem while improving the visual appeal of the staircase at the same time.

A close up of a paint brush being uses on a white railing.

Photo: istockphoto.com

Staircase Remodeling: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional 

When it comes time to upgrade a staircase, homeowners often ask themselves whether it’s a job they can take on themselves or whether it’s better to hire a professional. After all, taking a DIY approach to building stairs can save a homeowner between $1,000 and $5,000 in labor. However, they must possess a specific skill set, including understanding building codes, working with different materials to precision, and assembling the materials for stability, functionality, and aesthetics.

There are also inherent risks that must be addressed. A miscalculation of treads or risers can be disastrous. There are potential safety concerns for residents, along with the possibility of code violations and long-term structural issues.

Hiring a professional when homeowners are redoing stairs can eliminate nearly all of the risks mentioned above. Professional staircase contractors bring knowledge and skills to a job site that can be obtained only through years of hands-on experience. They understand the pros and cons of different materials and are skilled at installing the ones they specialize in.

Professionals can also offer design insight and staircase remodel ideas while ensuring the finished staircase meets all building codes and safety standards. Working with a professional also provides peace of mind for homeowners who want the job done correctly, even if it costs a bit more. A full staircase remodel is a complex and serious home improvement endeavor. It’s a job best left to the professionals.

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How to Save Money on Staircase Remodel Cost

Remodeling a staircase is a popular home improvement project that can add aesthetic appeal and significant value to a home. However, the average cost to remodel a staircase is a sizable investment that can cause some homeowners to wonder how to reduce the cost. Several helpful tips offer practical suggestions for saving money on a staircase renovation without compromising charm.

  • Compare quotes. For any major construction job, homeowners are advised to obtain multiple quotes from different contractors to better understand market rates and standard services.
  • Choose materials wisely. Opting for materials that meet aesthetic needs without going over budget can reduce the final cost. For example, homeowners can choose engineered wood if solid hardwood is beyond the budget.
  • Refinish instead of replace. Homeowners may want to consider refinishing an existing staircase rather than replacing it entirely, especially if it’s structurally sound.
  • Simplify the design: Avoiding overly complex patterns or custom designs can keep costs for labor and materials low. Homeowners may also want to consider prefabricated stairs over custom designs.
  • DIY when possible. Staircase remodels can be complex, and most of the process is best left to a professional. However, experienced homeowners may save on labor costs by doing some of the painting or staining themselves. Learning how to measure stairs for carpet can also help homeowners feel confident laying their own carpet on newly remodeled stairs.
  • Shop sales. Homeowners can be on the lookout for sales on materials or fixtures throughout the year.
  • Practice regular maintenance. Once the remodel is complete, homeowners can handle routine maintenance to ensure they get the most out of their investment while avoiding costly repairs.

Questions to Ask About Staircase Remodeling

Finding the best contractor for a staircase remodel is crucial to the project’s success. One way to avoid unexpected costs, unsatisfactory results, or unwanted delays is to vet potential contractors. Here’s a list of suggested questions a homeowner might ask when meeting with a contractor to help narrow their choices.

  • How experienced are you with staircase remodeling?
  • Are you licensed and insured for this type of work?
  • Do you have a portfolio or list of references you can give to me?
  • Do I need a full removal and replacement or just a replacement of a few steps?
  • What is the estimated timeline for my stair remodel?
  • Can you provide me with a detailed quote?
  • Will I need a permit? If so, who obtains that?
  • What materials do you recommend for my remodel?
  • How do you handle project changes or unexpected issues?
  • Do you have any design or pattern suggestions for me?
  • If I want to change the entire layout, will I need to hire an architect or engineer?
  • How much more will it cost to remodel with hardwood stairs but upgrade to metal railings?
  • Do you offer any warranties or guarantees on your work?
  • What are your payment requirements?
  • What is the recommended maintenance process to follow after the remodel is complete?

FAQs

A staircase remodel can significantly improve the visual appeal of a home. When properly executed, remodeled stairs can also boost the market value of a house while enhancing its safety and functionality. The average staircase remodel cost is undoubtedly an investment, but most homeowners find it often provides several rewarding returns. The following answers to frequently asked questions offer additional information about staircase remodels for those considering this type of home improvement project.

Q. How long does it take to remodel a staircase?

It typically takes one to two days to complete a standard, straight staircase. More complex designs, such as spiral or curved staircases, tend to take longer. Made-to-order staircases can take several weeks to construct, and some materials will take longer to order and install than others. For example, concrete stairs take longer than wood to install or remodel due to their weight and the need for more precise workmanship.

Q. How wide is a standard staircase?

A standard residential staircase width is approximately 36 inches. This is considered the minimum width for safety and functionality. Staircases in public or commercial spaces may need to be wider to accommodate higher traffic or emergency evacuation requirements per local building codes.

Q. How do you clean a staircase carpet?

Cleaning a staircase carpet may be as easy as using a stiff brush or broom to remove dust and debris. Staircase carpets can also be deep-cleaned with carpet shampoo (though this method is not recommended for wool carpets). Regular cleaning maintenance can extend the life of a staircase carpet, which is why homeowners can benefit from one of the best vacuums for cleaning stairs for effective results.

Sources: Angi, HomeAdvisor, HomeGuide, Forbes, Homedit

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