Monthly Archives: July 2014
One question that many of our remodeling customers ask is whether or not they can reuse any of their existing components. In addressing this question, there are several things to consider: First, what condition are the existing components in? Second, what is the purpose of the renovation? Structural, aesthetic, or both? Third, will these components work with new codes and new products? Finally, what is the cost difference between preparing existing components for reuse and the replacement cost of new components?
While often safety and structural stability of a stair and railing system are considered second to aesthetics, they are the most important aspect of the system. The security of a balustrade is directly related to the integrity of the individual components. Old balusters may look good, but they may have degraded through use, damage, and even disassembly. In addition, antiquated building codes may have allowed greater baluster spacing than is currently considered safe. If the structural components such as balusters, handrails, and newel posts are not sound, they should not be reused. If your baluster spacing currently allows for a sphere greater than 4 inches to pass through at any point, a renovation will be required to reduce spacing. In most cases, this will require additional balusters to decrease the opening. You can replace all of the balusters (plus any additional balusters needed to bring the balustrade up to code), or you can order custom-made balusters to match the existing profile. The question of whether existing components will work with the new components often depends on whether the existing wood balusters will be replaced with a more current style. To determine whether the handrail, tread caps, and newel posts can be retained, there are two factors to consider: spacing and finishes.