Stairs are an often part of the routine of everyday life, so do not take the idea of remodeling them lightly. You descend them in the morning, so you can have breakfast. You can recognize someone just by the way they walk up or down the stairs. Sometimes the home office is upstairs but you’re printing from downstairs. Once you’re in the midst of a stairway remodel, you start to appreciate how much you use your staircase daily. With such an interruption thrown into your everyday routines, it is important to consider whether to make your stair remodel a DIY project or to hire a professional. Even the most avid DIYer can be taken by surprise during a stairway remodel.

The following are a few things to contemplate when deciding whether to DIY or hire a professional for your stairway remodel:


Remodeling a stairway isn’t some odd job that can be taken care of over a weekend or even a long weekend. Depending on the scope of your project, it could take days or weeks to complete, all the while disrupting your family’s day-to-day life. Because your stairs connect one floor to another, tying them up with an involved remodeling plan for days on end is a huge disadvantage to the smooth running of your household. Other priorities can sideline your remodel schedule and stretch your timeline far beyond your intention, should you decide to go it alone.

Hiring a contractor skilled in stairway remodeling projects ensures the job progresses efficiently. The contract between you and your contractor will focus what needs to be done and provide an estimate for when you can expect everything to be finished. Keeping your stairway remodel on schedule will be a part of your contract between you and your hired professional, ensuring that project checkpoints are according to your designated time frame. While you can make a personal remodel schedule without the help of a professional, your contractor will be able to devote time and dedication to your project that you may not be able to. Stay grounded and on track with your project by letting a professional take over.

Skill level

The biggest factor against any involved DIY stairs project is probably your skill level. While you may be able to confidently tackle a repair on a couple of steps or fix a loose spindle, it’s another issue entirely to completely gut the stairs and start over from scratch, all while keeping scale and measurements perfect. You could lose square footage if you rebuild your stairs incorrectly. Your region may also have specific codes governing the dimensions of your stairs. If your work is not up to code, then that could open up complications down the line.

If you think you can handle the job yourself, you may still want to pay for a consultation from one of your local remodeling companies about the codes in your area. Make sure you are talking with a home remodeling contractor licensed in your area and not a handyman.

Hiring a stairway remodeler who is trained and experienced with the demolition and addition of a new staircase will leave you assured you’re getting the most out of your remodel. To make sure that you’re hiring the best professional for your project, don’t hesitate to ask your hired contractor for references or referrals from previous work.


You’ll certainly save money if you do the stairs project yourself, as all you’ll have to pay for is the cost of materials. You can do this through the installation of pre-built staircases. The prices vary, but can jump up greatly if you use a high-quality wood or add decorative features like newel posts, railings, moulding, or balusters. You’ll need basic tools like drills, hammers and levels to complete the job. If you are not sufficiently prepared to handle this large-scope project and rush through it, you could cause further damage or have a finished product that is not compliant with residential stairway codes. If you end up having to hire a contractor to fix what you did, plus do the desired work the right way, you’re looking at a significantly higher bill than if you just hired someone to begin with.


You can pull permits yourself for a DIY stairs remodeling project, but do this first before you begin. Permits can take a few days or weeks to obtain. If an issue arises and there’s a delay in your permitting process, this will lead to delays in your project as well. It’s important to get a permit, because future buyers of your home as well as real estate agents will need to receive proof of inspection from you. You could unwittingly be undercutting the resale value of your home if you try and skip this step. The thought of dealing with all the red tape that goes with it probably makes you cringe, but so should the consequences for not following these procedures. Part of the overall cost of hiring a stairs remodeling contractor ensures that he works with the necessary offices to pull the permits. If you’re unsure of what permits you need for your project, let a professional acquire them for you.

Top Image Credit: Allyson Marks Design