Let’s face it: if you’re visiting Stair Parts Depot in search of the finest quality stair parts online, you’re probably also interested in other home improvement projects. We intend to make this area a valuable resources for ALL YOUR HOME IMPROVEMENT NEEDS!
The staircase is one of the oldest architectural achievements of mankind. But even before humans first created the staircase, they were already being formed by nature. Stairs were created by the natural formation of geography along hills, mountains, canyons, and other forms of sloped terrain. If a path follows continuously over an incline, rugged stairs will form over a long time due to nature’s forces like earth, wind, fire, and water. When these natural stairs were first seen by our ancestors, they were likely replicated onto stone structures, providing easier access to higher levels of ground.
The earliest documented form of stairs dates back to the year 8000 before Christ, by a civilization in East Asia. Ein as-Sultan, located near Ancient Jericho, was a small town inhabited by an unknown people. This town is known as the world’s oldest settlement, and has shown evidence of primitive stairs made of gravel, mud, adobo, and other earth elements.
Around 6000 BC, a town named Catalhoyuk, located in Turkey, showed evidence of staircases built inside homes. Each house was built beneath the ground, and contained wooden stairs leading up to the surface so that people can walk up for ventilation. Around the same time in history, Egypt and Mesopotamia had shown signs of stairs implemented outdoors to create access to raised entrances of huts and caves.
In the year 55 BC, China had made the first granite staircase which led up a sacred mountain in Taishan. Confucius mentioned in one of his stories that he had gone up these stairs for religious purposes. The main function for these stairs was so that religious natives could walk up to reach divine height and establish a spiritual bond between earth and sky.
During medieval times, spiral stairs were used in castles for military reasons, such as using height to outmaneuver the opponent. The soldier defending the castle would usually defeat the intruder trying to overtake the castle because he would have his right hand free to move in space, and attack as necessary. The invader climbing up the spiral stairs would not have the space available to move his right hand freely – his sword constantly hitting the wall, thus giving an advantage to the castle defender.
It wasn’t until the 19th century that a mathematical system for stairs and railings were developed. A Scottish engineer named Peter Nicholson was the first person to calculate precise measurements for the modern staircase. In Nicholson’s book, “Treatise on the Construction of Staircases and Handrails,” he illustrates in detail the proper methods for building staircases and handrails. Using Nicholson’s blueprints, stair builders around the world started to implement the classic iron and wooden staircase in a majority of all developing multi-story structures.
As buildings got taller and more advanced, staircases grew with them. We now have escalators and elevators – but these will never completely replace the staircase. Yes, they hold far more technological capability than the stairs, but they require the utilization of electrical energy, which is not entirely reliable. Elevators and escalators have always relied on electricity and power, and are useless during times of power outages. Stairs are still required in building code to meet fire and safety hazards.
Spring is in full swing and whether you’re looking to sell or just want to spruce up the house you call “home” there are a number of improvements that can add real value to to your investment.
- Spruce up the curb appeal
Whether it’s a new paint job, landscaping or adding front-yard lighting, work on the exterior or outdoors is a great place to start.
- Knock down a wall
What fun! Who hasn’t wished to combine two nondescript rooms into one amazing space? Of course, considerations like electrical wiring or plumbing can come in to play so always best to consult a reputable contractor.
- Replace old windows
While maybe not as visually exciting as the other suggestions, replacing single-paned windows with new dual-paned ones will certainly improve the energy efficiency of your home and cut down on street noise. Plan on roughly $200-$300 per window.
- Set up an outdoor kitchen
This can be expensive – up to $15,000, depending on the complexity of the project – but it can also be as simple as a new grill and eating area.
- Replace the carpet
New carpet can cost from $300 to $500 per room while hardwood is $1500 to $2000 depending on the size of the room, materials etc. This alone can completely change the look of a home.
- New kitchen appliances
Probably the most common upgrade (along with the bathroom) but new appliances in the kitchen can certainly improve a family’s day-to-day living.
- And, of course, upgrade that stair railing
Whether it’s our new DIY Amazing Rail, box newels, iron balusters, stair fittings, stair tread or stair part accessories, you’re already in the right place!
Let’s get started and improve your living conditions while adding value!
Installation on a plate
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Check out the DIY Amazing Rail…
As the economy continues to improve and homeowners have more equity in their property, there has been a sizeable increase in home renovation projects, both large and small in 2016. According to analysts, the cost per project is generally decreasing as home improvement companies have seen a huge uptick in business.
While many homeowners are opting for more traditional bathroom and kitchen remodels, others are being more ambitious while adding to the scale of their dwelling such as an extra room or in-law apartment. In fact, the increase in multi-dwelling units has been significant as many homeowners seeks to offset mortgage costs with rent while others see their homes as multi-generational dwellings.
When it comes to upgrading your home – either for your own enjoyment or just to add value to it, it’s easy to get carried away, particularly when it comes to kitchen and bathroom remodels. The following short list highlights modest improvements you can easily make without over-extending your budget.
- Kitchen remodel
We all know the value of kitchen and bathroom remodels – here the idea is keep these rooms from looking terribly dated with modest improvements. For starters, replace black appliances with stainless steel and upgrade from laminate countertops to granite such as St. Cecilia, Napoli, or Baltic Brown. And while you’re at it, consider refinishing or repainting your cabinetry and updating the hardware. You’ll be surprised how fresh and modern this can make any kitchen look.
- Bathroom upgrade
Start by replacing those out-dated 3-by-3 ceramic tiles with a modern look like 12-by-12 porcelain tiles (in a neutral color) or the white “subway-style” ceramic. Instead of replacing the entire sink, consider just updating the the faucet to chrome. Just as important: clean the bathroom from top to bottom so that even that old grout shines!
- Repaint with neutral colors
Certainly a fresh coat of paint will spruce up any room but make sure to use neutral colors so that a prospective buyer’s first thought isn’t “That navy blue living room has to go.” Even if it’s not exactly to their taste, a neutral color will be something they can live with – at least for a time.
For more cost saving upgrades see Trulia’s excellentReal Estate 101 series.
A while back we featured
Fuel sources: Certainly your choice of energy source(s) can have a huge impact on the environment (and your pocketbook). For example, propane powered appliances can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 70 percent ehn compared with electricity. Likewise, propane-powered storage water heaters will emit upwards of 35 percent less greenhouse gas than electric models.
Part 3 will feature Green Upgrades to save you money and help the environment.
If you’re considering renovating or replacing your current staircase, rest assured that a new stairway will bring added value, and, of course, increased beauty to your home.
A recent article in fixr – Interior Staircase Installation Cost – breaks down some general cost factors. Notice their insistence that if this is a DIY project “it is an absolute necessity to have a second person (or even two additional helpers) for such a job as this.”
The article also features Stair Contractors but all are in the New York – New Jersey area.
HomeTips.com has a number of articles on Planning and Building Stairs, including information on the various types of staircases, how they are built, and how to maintain them.
If you’re nearing retirement age you might be interested in Bankrate’s recent survey “Would You Move in Retirement?” of 1,000 adults nationwide revealed which that 60 percent of Americans want to spend their retirement years in another city or state from where they currently reside. It should be noted, however, that the percentage of those desiring to move was much higher the younger the respondents. In fact only 20 percent of those surveyed age 65 and older said they’d consider moving.
Of course, living on a fixed income is a major concern for those in retirement and nearly 75 percent of those surveyed cited finding a lower cost of living as “extremely important” when retiring.
It is estimated that households approaching retirement have only $14,000 set aside in retirement accounts on the average. Elder poverty rates escalate rapidly as seniors reach their mid-70s.
A recent study by the U.S. Department of Energy reports that residential use accounts for more than 20% of the United States’ total energy consumption. By “going green” homeowners are not only helping the planet, they are helping themselves save money in the long run.
Improving your home’s energy efficiency is a great place to start as wasted energy is clearly measurable in those monthly utility bills. Begin with the basics: air leaks through doors and windows, inefficient cooling and heating systems, and outdated appliances can all make an impact in your hoe’s energy usage -and your wallet.
In addition to aforementioned door and window leaks, check the attic and basement that they are properly sealed.
Upgrading major appliances can save energy without sacrificing performance. If possible, buy ENERGY STAR-certified products.