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Renew a staircase
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Renew a staircase

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A good cleaning might be all that’ s needed to rejuvenate a slightly damaged finish or for one that’ s dirty.

The constant traffic up and down wooden stairs in a busy household makes for heavy wear and tear on them which can translate to different forms of abuse like a worn or dull finish, loose spindles or a wobbly baluster. The longer you ignore the warning signs the worse the damage can become so find a downtime when traffic is light to remedy the wrongs and make the repairs. The work can be divided into repairing the stairs and finishing the wood doing it in that order.

The repair work can involve tightening loose stair treads and balusters with finishing nails and securing a newel post or handrail with lag or wood screws. For a cracked stair tread, use a heavy-body epoxy designed for wood to repair the joint and fill the crack. A good cleaning might be all that’s needed to rejuvenate a slightly damaged finish or for one that’s dirty. But on bare wood where the finish has worn away, you’ll need to sand and refinish the surfaces with a good quality polyurethane finish.

To make these repairs a handyman will charge $610 to do the job, which includes labor and material. If you have carpentry know-how you can do it for $115, the cost of materials, and save 81%. You'll need a combination of hand and power carpentry tools, a vacuum with a crevice tool, and refinishing material that include rags, steel wool, sandpaper, brushes, paint thinner, and polyurethane finish.

To find more DIY and contractor project costs and to post comments and questions, visit www.diyornot.com.

Pro Cost — DIY Cost — Pro time — DIY Time — DIY Savings — Percent Saved

$610 — $115 — 14.4 — 17.0 — $495 — 81%

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Q: My boyfriend’s mother died several months back. He wants to either buy his sister out or sell the property, but his sister has refused his verbal requests to buy her out and things have gotten quite strained between them. It is their home and they both live there and now own the home jointly.

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