Any tradesman can buy a set of premade stringers and install a set of stairs for you if you’re after something basic, but it really takes a skilled tradesman to design and build a set of stairs that’s a bit outside of the realm of normal. I started learning to build stairs and landings in 1973 while I was an apprentice for a 63 year old stair maker tradesman; he taught me how to build all different types of stairs such as external deck stairs. Due to this I design all of our stairs and over the years I’ve moved us over to specialising in old fashioned Queenslander stairs and stairs to suit older folk, which are a great alternative to wheelchair ramps, however we are still very proficient in modern stairs.
Stairs to suit Queenslanders
Almost all genuine Queenslander stairs were hand crafted from hardwood with hardwood stringers and hardwood treads. Unfortunately these days more and more Queenslander stairs are being replaced with steel stringers with a range of different treads, like concrete or aluminium, which really detract from the character of the house. The main reason for this move is nothing more than a lack of training in the building industry, which has left an enormous gap in old fashioned stair replacement and means a lot of the builders coming out of their apprenticeships have a lack of hand skills. At Additions Building Company I teach all of my staff how to build stairs the old way, if we build you a set of stairs to suit your Queenslander everything will be constructed from hardwood, primed in all the cuts with only galvanised fixings, this way they’ll last a lifetime.
Stairs for older folk
If you live in a high set house you’ll notice as you get older your exterior stairs to get to the back door get harder and harder to climb up, this is a big reason for older folk selling up and moving in to a new lowset home somewhere in a suburb they can afford far away from family and friends. Due to this problem I started building specialised stairs for the older folk. There are a lot of regulations around the positioning, height and length of stairs and landings but we’re able to work within these regulations to build you a set of stairs with wide steps and a low rise, the distance between one step and another. This gives you a great even and stable platform with an easy lift of the foot and if possible we’ll even build a landing midway with a resting seat. We put big stable handrails down both sides of these kinds of stairs for total balance and only build in strong hardwoods; everything is primed in all the joints with an oil based primer and fixed with galvanised nails to guarantee that the handrail will be there when you need it most. This type of stair is a lot easier to walk up than a disability ramp, as a ramp getting up to your back step will become incredibly long and take an age to walk up. While these stairs are technically a lot more difficult to design and build a trained stair maker should always be able to accommodate the home owner and help to keep you in your house for longer.