Staircase Renovation – What You Need To Know

Staircase Renovation – What you need to know.

Over 30 Years Of Staircase Renovation

In our over 30 year history at Great Lakes Stair & Millwork Co., we have done hundreds of staircase renovations for both residential and commercial customers. We help our customers determine if it is better to remove and replace a staircase, or if we can renovate the stairs. We are a company that specializes in staircases and can guide you on what to do and what to avoid when considering a staircase renovation.

Is It More Cost Efficient To Renovate Stairs Or Replace?

One of the questions we get asked frequently about renovating staircases is “Is it more cost efficient to renovate my staircase, or replace it?” There is no “one-size-fits-all” answer here, as it depends greatly on each individual customer’s circumstances. In some cases, it may be more economical and efficient to renovate the staircase, but in other cases in may make more sense to do a complete staircase replacement. We evaluate the needs and desired end result for each customer, provide different options to meet those needs and expectations, and develop a solution that meets your budget. With our 30 year education in staircase design and installation, we can provide options that less experienced staircase companies and designers (and trim carpenters) cannot offer.

What Are Some Reasons To Consider Renovating A Staircase?

There are many reasons to consider a staircase renovation. A staircase is the most functional piece of furniture in your home or business. Here are a few reasons to consider a renovation:

  • To provide better flow and make it easier to traverse.
  • One of the biggest reasons people leave their homes when they age is, they can no longer navigate going up and down their stairs. We can provide a staircase renovation or redesign to make the stairs easier to traverse, which may enable the elderly to stay in their homes longer. We can also evaluate and renovate exterior staircases for these same reasons.
  • To update the overall design as well as bring the staircase up-to-date with today’s codes. A staircase is the first thing people see when entering a home and often the last thing visitors see when they leave your home or business. People tend to congregate around the staircase especially at family gatherings for photos.
  • Home staging when selling: a staircase renovation can update the look of your home, make it more modern and create an incredibly unique experience often for less money than you would think. We often work with realtors, designers, and architects who turn to us for our expertise in staircase design and renovation.

Are Certain Staircases Better Candidates For Renovation Than Others?

From our standpoint, all staircases can be candidates for renovation. We have performed some very unique stair renovations; we specialize in “Unique, Challenging stairs”!  We have the experience, know-how and ability to handle any type of stair renovation project.

How Long Does A Typical Stair Renovation Take?

The length of time for a staircase renovation depends on the complexity of the project with our top priority being safety. We have seen averages of 2 days to 2 weeks depending on the extent of the staircase renovation. We can provide a turnkey experience in our renovation projects including pre-finishing, drywall repair, associated trim as well as paint, stain and finishing. We do as much in our manufacturing facility as possible, so we do not inconvenience customers with finishing odors and additional construction time in their homes or businesses.

What Makes Great Lakes Stair The Ideal Partner For Your Staircase Renovation?

With over 30 years’ experience in our field and our continuing education in the design, manufacturing and installation of both residential and commercial staircase projects, Great Lakes Stair is uniquely positioned to save you money and provide a successful outcome on your renovation project. We know what questions to ask our customers, and what mistakes to avoid with stair renovation projects. We invite you to take advantage of our experience with your staircase projects; give us a call at 330-225-2005 or contact us today to discuss your requirements.

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    Commercial Stairs: Beauty and Functionality Combine with Quality You Can Count On

    Commercial Stairs: Beauty and Functionality Combine with Quality You Can Count On. Custom designed and manufactured by Great Lakes Stair

    For over 30 years, the craftsmen at The Great Lakes Stair & Millwork Co. have been designing, manufacturing, and installing custom commercial stairs for a wide variety of customers including:

    • Commercial office buildings
    • Institutional buildings such as hotels and nursing homes
    • Resorts
    • Historic renovations and replications

    If you are a commercial contractor or architect, commercial building owner, supply house or wholesale provider give us a call today to discuss your project requirements. We will review your blueprints and specifications, discuss the anticipated end result, and work with you for a successful project outcome.

    When It Comes To Commercial Stairs, Experience Matters

    Our team at The Great Lakes Stair & Millwork Co. have worked on hundreds of custom commercial stair projects and we bring this vast experience to each new project. We can offer suggestions based on similar stair projects we have completed prior that can help streamline your process and provide you with additional cost savings. We have been down the road many times before and we know what works and does not work when it comes to commercial stair projects.

    Code-Compliant Commercial Stair Projects

    One of the most challenging aspects involved in the production and installation of commercial stairs are the myriad of strict Commercial code requirements. With our 30 years of experience at Great Lakes Stair, we know the codes and specifications for commercial stair safety and collaborate closely with our customers to ensure that all code requirements are met for the project.

    What Makes Great Lakes Stair the Best Choice For Commercial Stair Projects?

    Quite simply, we have a 30+ year education on commercial stair projects! We know what questions to ask and what pitfalls to avoid when working on these types of stair projects. With our experience, we can save you money and ensure a successful outcome….every time.  We would not be in business today if we had not completed hundreds of commercial projects correctly and on time. Take advantage of our experience for your next commercial stair project, give us a call today to discuss your job and design requirements.

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      Straight Stairs Offer Beauty and Simplicity

      Straight Stairs Offer Beauty and Simplicity

      At The Great Lakes Stair & Millwork Co. we are working with customers all over the world to create unique, custom straight staircases for their homes and commercial projects. Straight staircases offer beauty and simplicity and are one of the most efficient uses of space for a stair system. Furthermore, they are the simplest form of stair to traverse due to the cadence of the walk pattern, which is quite easy to anticipate. Your feet and mind easily remember the walking pattern of a straight staircase, allowing quick and easy access from one floor to another in your home or commercial building.

      Advantages of Straight Stairs

      While simple in form, straight stairs can be gracious and grand as well with the right design and implementation. Typically used when you have longer walls or longer areas of run up against a wall, a straight staircase can add a degree of simplicity and elegance in your square or rectangular space. Additionally, straight stairs offer an easy path for moving furniture or other large items between floors.

      Straight staircases offer an efficient use of material sizing, thus saving money.  And generally speaking, straight stairs are easier to layout and install, and are more economical than other types of staircases, such as circular or curved stairs.

      Not all room shapes or layouts can accommodate a straight staircase, so be sure to contact us to discuss your project requirements and have one of our design specialists help you determine the best staircase approach for your space.

      Your Number One Provider for Custom Straight Staircases

      Straight stairs can be challenging sometimes due to space constraints and room size/shape in order to achieve building codes. With over 30 years of experience in designing and installing straight stairs, The Great Lakes Stair & Millwork Co. is your number one provider for custom straight stairs. We have done thousands of straight staircase designs and installations and know how to make them function properly and look amazing in your commercial or residential project. We enjoy collaborating with our customers by sharing photos, evaluating your space, understanding your specifications, and then turning your dreams into reality!  Remember, straight stairs not only can be re-designed and replaced, they can also be remodeled, renovated or repaired…..let us help you decide what is best for your project.

      Please give us a call at 330-225-2005 or contact us via email when you are considering a new staircase for your home or commercial project. Any of our stair specialists at The Great Lakes Stair & Millwork Co. will work tirelessly to help you get the correct staircase design to fulfill your exact architectural desires and functional needs.   We will do this all at a price that works with your budget, along with optional expert installation and Premium Pre-finishing services, to provide a staircase that fits, functions and meets all of your design criteria.

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        Understanding Spiral Stairs

        Understanding Spiral Stairs

        We at The Great Lakes Stair & Millwork Co., receive a wide variety of requests for many different styles and types of spiral stairs. We have designed and built many of these aesthetically different and exceptionally functional spiral staircase systems in the last 30 years of our extensive history.  However, we have found that many people use the term “spiral stairs” almost generically, the same way the terms “tissue” and “Kleenex®” are often interchanged. We would like to take this opportunity to talk about spiral stairs, their advantages, disadvantages, and how they are different from other circular, curved or helical staircase systems.

        What Is A Spiral Staircase, How Is It Different?

        The term “spiral stair” is widely used (somewhat generic term) to describe a radius / diameter turning staircase such as a curved stair, circular stair, radiused stair, or a round stair. The implication is a staircase that does some type of radius turn. The actual definition of a spiral staircase is the following:

        • A spiral staircase is a round stair system that uses a radius or diameter and wraps around a center pole.

        Other turning staircases can be defined as:

        • A circular staircase rotates in a round fashion around the circumference of a room. Usually turns more than 90 degrees
        • A curved staircase does a sweeping turn in a smaller area that a circular stair and usually does not make a complete circle. Usually turns 90 degrees or less.
        • A Helical stair is similar in size to a spiral stair, but does not use a center pole and typically has an inner and outer radius handrails.
        • A winding staircase completes a turn with angles and does so with angular steps without a center pole.

        Thus, the key differentiator between a spiral staircase and other types of turning stairs is that a spiral staircase wraps symmetrically around a center pole.

        What Advantages Do Spiral Stairs Offer?

        Spiral staircases are ideal to be used for ease of personal access in a small area. With a standard 5’-3” finish square opening, we can do a lot with a spiral staircase to traverse between floors with ease. Additionally, spiral staircases are great conversation pieces as they are aesthetically different from perpendicular or traditional staircases. You do not see spiral staircases all the time in the design of a home, so they tend to stand out when implemented.  The best part about a spiral stair is that it does “a lot” in a “little” space while looking extremely architecturally aesthetic!

        While we are big fans of spiral staircases here at Great Lakes Stair, there are some key points to keep in mind if you are considering implementing a spiral staircase system:

        • Spiral stairs can not be used as the main staircase in a home or business.
        • Spiral stairs are not deemed good as a fire escape and they also limit gurney and fire hose access.
        • It is difficult, if not impossible, to move furniture between floors with a spiral staircase.
        • Spiral stairs cannot be used as bedroom only access.
        • Sometimes spiral staircases can be intimidating to people to traverse, especially seniors and young children and also pets.

        If constructed and used properly, spiral stairs can be a beautiful and safe addition to your home or business where only personal access to an area is needed.

        What are the disadvantages of a Spiral Staircases?

        For the most part, a spiral staircase is an easy, attractive alternative to access a floor level in your home while utilizing minimal space. But, spiral stairs do have a few minimal disadvantages. We feel it is our responsibility as a Senior Stair Manufacturer in the United States to make you aware of any potential issues you may (OR MAY NOT) encounter with the addition of a spiral stair in your home or project;

        • Spiral staircases tend to have higher rises per step (avg.9” per rise). This can be challenging for people with walking or climbing issues.
        • Spiral stairs can be somewhat intimidating to the very young, elderly and pets.
        • Spiral Stairways are somewhat difficult to carry objects (i.e. Laundry Basket) up and down the stair. Furniture is very difficult to carry or maneuver on a spiral stair.
        • Spiral Stair systems cannot be used as primary access to bedroom areas due to fire codes.
        • Spiral stairs, for the most part, cannot be used as a primary access in any home, building or outside structure where people live. Check with your local building department before implementing a spiral stair in your project.
        • Spiral stair systems cannot be used as a primary fire escape stair residentially or commercially.
        • The smaller the spiral stair, the more difficult to “walk straight” up or down. For example, you might have to walk a bit sideways up or down a 4’-0” diameter spiral stair depending on your size as a person.
        • There might be a slight vibration or shimmy while walking on a spiral stair. This is completely normal.
        • Spiral stairs are easier to walk up than to walk down.
        • It may be difficult to “pass” another person on a spiral stair. Typically a spiral stair is a one user at a time stair.

        While none of the above (potential) disadvantages of a spiral stair are monumental, it is only fair to make people aware that they could encounter none , some, or all of the above while determining if a Spiral Staircase System is right for them.

        What Type Of Materials Can Be Used To Build A Spiral Staircase?

        Typically, spiral staircases are constructed using all wood, all metal, or made with a combination of these materials. Additionally, spiral staircases can incorporate glass or decorative iron or both. Check out our spiral stair gallery for a wide variety of examples of spiral staircases we have made at Great Lakes Stair.

        How Much Do Spiral Stairs Cost?

        The cost for a spiral staircase, like any other staircase is relative to the overall design and materials used in the construction as well as installation considerations. You can design and build a cost-effective spiral staircase, or a luxury model. At Great Lakes Stair we will work closely with you and discuss your needs and evaluate your space and propose a spiral staircase solution that works for your home and your budget.

        What sizes are available in spiral stairs?

        The average spiral stair diameter is 5’-0”. This is predominantly the most widely used size for spiral stairs. The 5’-0” diameter meets most uniform building codes around the United states and neighboring countries for code adherence / compliance.  This stair fits comfortably in a 5’-6” finish square or round opening.

        Typical Spiral stair diameters can start out utilizing a 4’-0” diameter (we have even completed a 3’-6” diameter spiral stair for a Doll house), but can be made to virtually any diameter up to 12’-0”. After 12’ in diameter, you would be better off putting in a circular stair (see our article on Circular Stairs). The Most common spiral staircase sizes and their respective finished openings they fit in are as follows;

         Stair Diameter desired                  Finish opening needed

        1. 4’-0”…………………………4’-6” x 4’x6” square or 4’6”diameter
        2. 4’-6” ………………………. 5’-0” x 5’-0” square or 5’-0” diameter
        3. 5’-0”…………………………5’-6”x 5’-6” square or 5’-6” diameter
        4. 5’-6”…………………………6’-0” x 6’-0” square or 6’-0” diameter
        5. 6’-0” ………………………..6’-6”x 6’-6” square or 6’-6” diameter
        6. Or any size in between or larger!

        How is a Spiral Staircases delivered to my project or home?  How do I get it inside the home?

        These are great questions and also are great concerns when purchasing a Spiral Staircase system. We have all heard the horror stories of fully assembled spiral stairs arriving at a home or jobsite with no ability to get it inside structure.   For most applications, this process of fully assembling spiral stairs prior to arrival and delivering them completely welded or fabricated in whole, is nothing short of a catastrophic disaster.

        We at The Great Lakes Stair company do things differently than other manufacturers. Most of our spiral stairway applications will be Pre- built in our shop to ensure fit and finish and then disassembled in simple sections, numbered and labeled for ease of final jobsite installation.  The stair will then be carefully packaged on a “skid”, wrapped in protective cardboard and shipped directly from our facility to your home or project.  We can arrange for tailgate delivery anywhere in the US or neighboring Countries.  From here, all you need is one person to carry the lightweight sections through a 2’-6” or larger door into the room or area where the spiral stair will be installed and then reassemble.  2 people are required for stair assembly, one to hold the center pole, the other person to slide the sections over the center pole.  It’s that easy.

        In general, most spiral stairs can be final assembled and installed in less than a working days time.

        Why You Should Choose Great Lakes Stair For Your Spiral Staircase?

        With over 30 years of experience in producing and installing spiral staircases, we know exactly what questions to ask about your project and we will understand your needs as a consumer.   We collaborate with our customers by sharing photos, evaluating your space, understanding your specifications and then, turning your ideas into reality. We do not produce any base or entry level products, all our spiral staircase solutions range from semi-custom to all custom designed and hand fabricated projects. Remember, One size does not fit all when it comes to spiral stairs. The inexpensive commodity spiral stair market and cheap prices will only lead to problems. We routinely replace commodity spiral staircase kits that were poorly constructed and/or installed by unqualified individuals. Lastly, if it resembles a one size fits all “Erector Set” it typically is. Run far and fast as this is not the time to save minimal monies which will equate to a maximum headache.

        Please give us a call at 330-225-2005 or contact us when you are considering  purchasing a spiral staircase ; the specialists at  The Great Lakes Stair Company will ensure you get the right spiral stair for your needs, at the right price for your budget  along with optional expert installation for a spiral staircase that will last a lifetime.

        Call Today: 330-225-2005

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          Understanding Circular and Curved Stairs

          Understanding Circular and Curved Stairs

          There is nothing quite as beautiful as an exceptionally well designed, constructed and finished curved stairs or circular staircase installed in your home or business. The sweeping features of circular and curved stairs add a touch of glamour to a home and can provide an extremely open feeling in a room or entryway. For over 30 years, the master craftsmen of The Great Lakes Stair & Millwork Co. have been creating custom circular and curved stairs with “Old World Craftmanship” that will last a lifetime.

          While working with customers over the years in designing and installing circular and curved stairs, we have noticed that many times people get confused in the description between different types of radius stairs:  such as the differences between Spiral Staircases vs. Circular Staircases vs. Helical Staircases vs. Curved Staircases vs. Winding Staircases vs. Round Stairs. For purposes of clarification and establishing a consistent vocabular and understanding, we offer the following definitions:

          • A circular staircase rotates in a round fashion around the circumference of a given area. Usually turns more than 90 degrees. This stair has a center “hole” that a person can look up or down through. Sometimes people hang chandeliers through the center area of these stairs.
          • A curved staircase does a sweeping turn in a smaller area than a circular stair and usually does not make a complete circle. Usually turns 90 degrees or less.
          • A Helical stair is similar in size and turn to a spiral stair but does not use a center pole and typically has an inner and outer radius handrails.
          • A winding staircase completes a turn with angles and does so with angular steps without a center pole.
          • A spiral staircase is typically a tight radius stair that uses a diameter for sizing and wraps around a center pole.
          • A Round staircase typically refers to a stair that is circular or curved

          What Are The Advantages Of Circular and Curved Staircases

          As mentioned above circular and curved staircases are some of the most beautiful, architecturally aesthetic types of staircases that can be installed in a home or business. They are thought of as “turning sculptures” that are also a very functional piece of furniture. Their flowing, sweeping beauty brings a fluency and gracefulness to your home, offering a focal point for conversations as well as a great place for photo opportunities for many family gatherings.

          When it comes to safety, you need not fear a circular or curved staircase. They are very user friendly with a natural cadence (flow & consistency) in the steps which makes ascending and descending the staircase extremely comfortable, even in the event of an emergency. On a true circular or curved staircase, a person never has to look at their feet while traversing the stair, due to the cadence and the consistent symmetrical design of the stairs. This accurate cadence makes circular and curved stairs very easy to follow up and down, unlike a 90 degree straight stairs where you have to pay more attention to where you are placing your feet while making an abrupt turn. Additionally, true curved and circular stairs use less space than other types of straight stairs with platforms. Their ease of use, efficient use of space, and stunning aesthetic value makes circular and curved stairs an ideal choice for many situations.

          Circular and curved staircases meet all applicable building codes for both commercial and residential structures.

          Delivery and installation of circular and curved stairs is very similar to that of typical straight stairs. The stair carriage itself (the portion of the stair that comprised of the Treads, risers and stringers assembled) is loaded into the enclosed Truck or trailer and braced into place.  The remaining parts of the stair are packaged separately – such as the Hand Railings, Spindles, Newels and Landing treads which are removed from the stair and numbered and labeled for ease of re-assembly at the project destination.  Whether we deliver stairs 5 miles away or 5,000 miles away, we package, ship, and brace these stairs the same way for damage free transit to the jobsite or project location.

          Why You Should Choose Great Lakes Stair for your Circular or Curved Staircase

          With over 30 years of experience in producing and installing circular and curved staircases, we know exactly what questions to ask about your project and we will understand your needs as a consumer.   We collaborate with our customers by sharing photos, evaluating your space, understanding your specifications and then, turning your ideas into reality. We do not produce any base or entry level products; all our circular and curved staircase solutions range from semi-custom to all custom designed and hand crafted projects.

          Please give us a call at 330-225-2005 or contact us when you are considering a circular or curved staircase for your home or business. The specialists at The Great Lakes Stair & Millwork Company will ensure you get the correct staircase design for your needs, at the right price for your budget along with optional expert installation for a staircase and hand railing system that will last a lifetime.

          Call Today: 330-225-2005

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            Stair Ordering Made Simple

            Stair Ordering Made Simple

            As one of the leading custom staircase designers, manufacturers, and installers in the world, The Great Lakes Stair & Millwork Co. has made the experience of ordering stairs efficient and simple. Whether you are a homeowner, custom home builder, architect, designer, commercial Contractor, supplier or lumber yard, The Great Lakes Stair and Millwork co. will partner with you in a streamlined process for a one-of-a-kind staircase solution.

            With over 30 years’ experience in the design, manufacture, and installation of custom staircases, we know what it takes to make a project turn out successful. Our process is extremely easy and starts with simply reaching out to our team and sharing your thoughts and ideas about your perfect staircase. You may send us any drawings, sketches, pictures, and blueprints along with photos of staircases you like for inspiration. For home renovations, include photos of your existing stairs and surrounding area in your home where the staircase remodel will take place. Once we have your thoughts, our master staircase designers will review your information and provide a timely job proposal.

            5 Simple Steps for ordering Custom Stairs.

            1. Contact us to discuss your project…. we enjoy listening to our potential customer’s needs. We will ask questions pertinent to understanding your project….and promise not to waste your valuable time.
            2. If you do not have time to chat, please send us Blueprints, sketches or drawings of the stair and stair area for us to better understand your project. We will e-mail back questions for any clarifications.
            3. Provide us any inspiration photo’s, web-site links or design ideas that will help us better understand what you want the stair system to resemble or look like.
            4. A proposal for your project will be prepared based on our discussions and information shared with each other.
            5. Upon proposal acceptance, we will begin the journey together in the development and fabrication of your “one of a kind” Custom Stair System.

            Staircase Design and Installation

            Upon approval of the stair system proposal, we will provide detailed shop drawings and specifications for the project. This process may include an onsite meeting to evaluate your space and provide field measuring to ensure proper fit, function, and finish.

            We are also one of the only stair builders to make and create a full size field templates of the stair for the customer to see how the custom stair will fit in the given area….prior to stair fabrication.  This service is INVALUABLE insurance to ensure fit and finish.

             When the staircase details and design are finalized, our master craftsmen will build your stairway to your specifications in our manufacturing facility. When the stair system fabrication is completed at our facility, we will coordinate the delivery with you and make the installation process of your custom staircase worry free.

            When it comes to your custom stair system installation, we can handle the entire process….if need be. It is well known that one of the most challenging aspects for a contractor is finding competent staircase installers or trim carpenters who can install and finish the stair system PROPERLY in your home or business. We pride ourselves on being a “one stop shop” as we can do as much or as little of the installation as you would like, including:

            • We can build your stairway to your specifications and tailgate deliver it
            • We can install the stair system at your location
            • We can install and pre-finish the stair system to a high end cabinet grade finish

            Again, We can do as much as possible to eliminate unnecessary 3rd party interaction, so the process is smooth and efficient and only one phone call is involved when questions arise: one day there is no staircase, the next day the staircase is up and walkable!

            Your Staircase Is Important

            The staircase is most often the first impression a guest or visitor will have when entering your home or business. During holidays and family get togethers, a beautiful staircase is where people gather and where all the photographs take place; your stairs and their architectural value set the tone for the rest of the home or building.

            When you work with The Great Lakes Stair and Millwork Co., we share our 30 years’ experience to help guide you to a successful and fulfilling staircase project. We are not shy when it comes to advising customers on what works and what could cause problems during the “stair system” portion of your project. We will not let you waste money on a stair system that fails to meet your expectations. Our focus is entirely devoted to the design and installation of heirloom quality staircases that thrill our customers and will last a lifetime.  We cannot say it enough: avoid trusting inexperienced or part-time carpenters and installers with such an important aspect of your home or business. Choose the experienced team at The Great Lakes Stair and Millwork Co. for your next custom staircase project.

            Call Today: 330-225-2005

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