By OCInSite Site Admin | April 18, 2012 12:42 PM
By Gina Dostler
Steps we climb most every day but rarely think about. They come in all shapes, sizes, purposes and some are quite famous. Take Piazza di Spagna’s Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti, better known as the Spanish Steps. It is one of the most well known and frequented set of stairs in the world, with Petro Bernini’s famous Barcaccia Fountain at the foot and Trinita Church at the top. Just imagine all the feet that have shadowed those steps. Then there’s the beautiful lines flowing around and around looking down from the Vatican Museum’s spiral staircase that shows beauty and symmetry all flowing up and down the stairs. Even ships can showcase stairs, like the grand staircase on the RMS Titanic where we remember the teary-eye moment Jack and Rose express their love. These stairs are works of art - they are not only functional but beautiful. There’s a powerful essence found in stairs as they connect one floor to the next. And even though you might not be able to fit “stairs of grandeur” into your own home, having your stairs redone or entirely remodeled can be a way to add beauty.
With incredible precision and a lot of artistry, Andrew Hoover builds stairs, a lifelong love that keeps him stepping forward every day creating steps with a smile.
Q: What are some of the things to think about if someone wants to remodel their staircase?
A: In the process of remodeling your staircase you need to think about style and design to fit your home. You can choose from styles such as country, craftsman, contemporary, Tuscany, Gothic, etc. You want to consider some things first. Take in account the style of furniture, art work, and other construction work that already exists in your home and be sure it flows with the style of staircase you trying to achieve.
Q: Can I change my wood railings to iron?
A: Changing from wood balusters to iron is a much easier and more cost effective way to upgrade your staircase. Starting over and removing the whole staircase is time consuming and adds to your cost. While changing from wood railings to iron, we can refinish any other wood on the staircase as well as the iron to give it a completely new look.
Q: What types of stair systems are available?
A: There is basically two types of stair systems available, post to post and over the post. Post to post is more of a craftsman/country style system where the rail stops at every post. Over the post railing system is more contemporary where the railing sits on top of the post, and the rail continues until it terminates into a wall or a starting post.
Q: Can any home get a winder staircase put in?
A: Staircases can be re-framed to many different shapes. Most of the time builders build the staircase in a way to fit the home which only leaves so much room to reshape and re-frame the stairs in a different way. So it all depends on the space available. Also, it is not always necessary to re-frame the staircase; it can just be stripped to the framing and remodeled from there.
Q: What is your biggest challenge in redoing a staircase?
A: The biggest challenge in redoing a staircase is an age-old construction requirement: pulling permits and making sure that everything is built to code. There are a number of code requirements for staircases that are changed every 8-10 years that include hardware specifications and to make sure the railing system handles the proper amount of pounds per square foot. Once past those first steps, I can have fun building and designing the stairs.
Q: What do you love most about building staircases?
A: My favorite part of building staircases is at the end where I can stand and look at what I built and the happy look on my customer’s face and knowing they are very satisfied with the work I did. I really love what I do and not a lot of people can say that about their job. There is a certainly level of artistic ability involved to really get the details of a staircase just right. I find it very rewarding after a week or two of hard work to see a beautiful centerpiece inside someone’s home. Each project I install is very personal to me and it’s like its being crafted in my own home.
Q: Building a staircase is definitely a precision art. What are the first steps in building one?
A: Building staircases is definitely a precise art. First step is to make a list of all the parts and components after carefully going over the design plans or having discussed with the customer the type of stairs to be constructed or remodeled. Then once all the materials are collected the parts are fabricated and after the old staircase is demo’d out, the new staircase finds its way into the home!
Q: Tell me a little about how you got started building staircases?
A: I’ve been doing woodworking since I was 10-12 years old. My father is a hobbyist wood worker and has a shop in his garage and I would go out and help him sand and clean. It was a natural transition to take wood shop in middle school through high school. So while attending college I received an opportunity to work with a local stair company and learned the trade. I’ve been building staircases every since.