Last edited 30 Jan 2019

When to install a staircase during the construction process

Installing a staircase too early in a build process exposes it to the risk of damage. Particularly with high-end staircases, from sweeping helical stairs to spiral staircases made with exposed solid hardwood, installing a stair in an ongoing building environment increases the risk of damage due to builders and tradesmen frequently using it.

With anything bespoke or custom made, ordering a staircase comfortably ahead of schedule is the best course of action. Leaving it too late can cause pressure and undue stress which could lead to mistakes in measuring, drawing or production.

The measurements must be complete, accounting for any floor finishes, architraves, radiators window sills etc. These dimensions need to be taken as late as possible to allow for one final draft of drawings before production. The earlier the site measurements are taken, the further they will be from the finished build.

Generally, it is better for a staircase to be one of the last items to be installed – perhaps a few days before the property is occupied. The walls should be plastered and painted and the finished floors laid – certainly downstairs.

Some builders like the staircase fitted halfway through the build, but this is mainly so they do not have to use ladders. They are probably also more familiar with conventional timber staircases which will later be carpeted. Simply protecting the treads will not be sufficient. A visibly protected stair might actually encourage people to use it and cause damage.

Communication and planning is the key to any successful project. Keep in mind that the original date for the stair install might well shift due to other delays with the build, so be prepared to alter it accordingly and keep the staircase company informed.

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