Understanding your Staircase Renovation

Staircases come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials, but the vast majority of staircases throughout the UK are built with the same traditional method. It is very rare we come across an existing staircase that we cannot renovate. Being a bespoke company allows us to design one of a kind solutions to completely redefine your staircase. This blog explains the different components that make up your staircase, and what typical methods of approach we can take in order to renovate certain parts or ALL of the staircase.


Most staircases are made up of the same essential parts;

Newel posts: One of the key forms of structure on a staircase. Supporting the full staircase itself as well as anchoring the balustrade.

String / Stringer: The key form of structure to the staircase that supports the treads and risers. The string is connected to newel posts where balustrade is required.

Balustrade/ Balusters style: The balustrade style varies throughout staircases, in everyday homes you would typically see timber spindles. We specialise in a variety of styles of glass, timber and wrought iron.

Handrail: A crucial safety feature of any staircase and required by building regulations. Available in a variety of styles including continuous and also a selection of materials.


Tread: The obvious part of a staircase that is stepped on. These can be replaced on certain flights, but more often than not we offer an overtread solution.

Riser: Located between each tread, the riser is the vertical portion of a staircase. Sometimes not used in Open flights, but can be added as part of a renovation to enhance the look of a solid staircase or a design feature with our painted options.

Going: The term given to the size of the tread, from riser to riser.

Rise: The individual rise is the vertical measurement from the top of the tread to the top of the next tread.


Half post: Providing a tidy finish for balustrades, a half post looks as if its a full newel buried inside the wall. It gives a finishing touch and allows a secure fixing for the balustrade.

Baserail: Usually sat on top of the strings  or on landings where balustrade is needed. The baserail usually supports the chosen balustrade style and on landings covers the union between the flooring and stairwell.


Nosing: The nosing cannot be overlooked, it finishes at the same level to the floorboards underneath the baserail and provides that finishing touch above the apron.

Apron: Timber that covers the joists/trimmers or inner workings of floor construction. Usually either plastered and painted, or covered with timber to match the staircase.

The Basics of Staircase Renovation

We have many ways of transforming an existing staircase. Below are some of the basics to consider when wanting to renovate your staircase, all can be used in creative ways to achieve different finishes. The obvious idea is to renovate the existing balustrade, but why stop there when you can make a huge statement with these other methods…


 Solid staircases can be quite expensive, why not use your existing staircase and make it look like solid Oak or Walnut? We can do this to all strings or just certain ones that are seen more.

e.g. The wall string is sometimes buried in the wall or plastered over, it might make sense to only renovate the outside and inside string.

We use our Oak or Walnut veneer as cladding and all raw edges are covered in solid  mouldings to give the final impression of a solid timber staircase.


A full balustrade replacement and cladding of all strings can give the look of a solid oak staircase. The same carpet that was initially laid can be put back down to cover the original flight and all that is left to be seen is your chosen finish of staircase. This is a popular choice for families with small children where slipping could be an issue.


Why not go all the way with First Step Designs and have us renovate the entire staircase, including the treads and risers? We can make a typical softwood flight look like solid Oak or Walnut. This doesn’t disrupt the structural integrity of the staircase, we can clad the risers and use our bespoke over tread system to lay engineered oak as the treads. The difference it can make is phenomenal.


We have a range of feature steps available from contemporary square solutions to classic large curtails like shown above. When renovating with feature steps, we actually fully replace the treads with a brand new design and edit your existing staircase to suit. Even if your existing flight does not have feature steps we can make it work! Not only does it make a beautiful addition to your staircase, but it opens the space around the staircase massively. Allowing users to approach the staircase from different directions. A simple yet effective renovation method.

These are only some of the options available on a staircase renovation, why not give us a call and send us some photos of your existing staircase? One of our qualified designers can help you to create the staircase of your dreams!