Many houses are equipped with a staircase. Aged, it often loses its shine and even the most applied cleaning no longer allows it to return to its original appearance. Should it be changed or can it be renovated? Response with Philippe Argaud, craftsman-carpenter in Isère. Interview by Charlotte Cousin
What problems does a staircase pose when it has already lived a little?
The main concern we face with a staircase is the creak. Generally, this comes from a bad studding of the steps. With an artisanal staircase, you just need to nail them again. It is exactly the same reasoning for a parquet. But there may be another reason for the crack: green wood. When the humidity of the gasoline used is not good, the staircase is audible. And in this case, there is nothing to do. This is why you should contact a professional who will be able to assess whether the wood is at the right degree of humidity.
Is renovating a staircase a big job?
Renovating a staircase, when it's just a question of giving it a facelift, is not a very big project. Just sand it down, then varnish or paint it. It takes a maximum of three days. The disturbance is therefore short. Installing a new staircase is also relatively quick. Count between one and two days. And if it has been well varnished, we can wait 10 to 15 years before having to polish it again. Budget question, it depends on the height. The staircase is paid, in fact, by the number of steps posed. But in general, it is a range of 6000 to 7000 euros.
Is it a good choice to renovate your staircase by dressing?
Yes, that’s pretty good. Especially if you want to put the same essence as that which we used for the parquet for example. Because renovating by dressing consists in resowing an existing staircase. So there is no need to disassemble it.
In choosing a new staircase, what can a carpenter offer?
There are many types: level, with a quarter turn, a double quarter turn or even Japanese. The latter is very trendy at the moment. It makes it possible to reduce the size of the staircase thanks to offset steps whose steps, that is to say the horizontal part of the step, overlap.
How do I know that my staircase is unrecoverable, even dangerous?
You can quickly see when a staircase is at the end of its life. It is then heavily worn by the passage. And it can be very dangerous. It is for this reason that the manufacturing standards must be respected: the size of a tread must correspond to two step heights and the ramp is compulsory. In terms of lifespan, an oak staircase easily lasts 200 years. For other species, fir, ash, exotic wood, it can be a little less. Among the woods used for the stairs, oak remains the most expensive species because when cutting, there are more losses than for the others: around 40% of waste.