A good staircase can become a key architectural feature inside your home – setting the tone for the rest of the living space. The sky’s the limit in terms of what can be achieved (and what you’ll pay for it), but broadly-speaking there are three main cost brackets, starting with the kit route, ranging up to off-the-shelf and going bespoke.
If you’re on a very tight budget, these entry-level products are a cost-effective option – but your design choices can be limited. Prices start from as little as £160 for a bare-bones 12-step flight with pine strings, MDF treads and ply risers for you or your tradesperson to fit.
Bear in mind you’ll need to factor in newel posts, spindles, base and handrails, and sundries (fillets, fixings etc) for installation. Taken together, these are likely to push costs over the £350 mark, or considerably higher if you want to add more panache by sourcing these elements elsewhere.
On top of this, you’ll need to paint or varnish the timber and carpet the flight. You may require landing balustrading, too. Some kit providers offer upgrades such as full softwood treads and risers, but at this point you’ll already be approaching the next cost bracket.
While this might sound similar to the kit route, in fact it offers significantly more personalisation. You’ll get the chance to customise a wide range of off-the-shelf designs to better suit your requirements by mixing-and-matching elements from the manufacturer’s pattern book.
This part-tailored approach is popular among self builders and renovators. That’s because it gives you access to a specialist supplier who will usually offer a free measuring service (perhaps initially from your plans, but invariably on site too), technical advice and access to wide selection of good-quality materials.
Your flight will be built to order and most suppliers will have a network of approved installers you can access. Prices can start from under £1,000 for a decent pine staircase, rising to £10,000+ for made-to-measure examples in European oak.
If you want to get the wow factor, a full custom-designed staircase could fit the bill. This route gives you access to the full gamut of materials options – from high-end timbers through to glass, metal, stone and concrete – as well as opening the door to unusual features such as helical shapes.
The key difference, however, is that you’ll be engaging a specialist designer-maker company for a service that looks in depth at all your requirements.
This runs from complementing your home’s aesthetic to practical considerations such as headroom and how the flight interfaces with the main building (which can be challenging on conversions and similar projects). In some cases, they might even work with your architect in the early planning stages to help you get the most out of your flight.
Costs will depend on the scale of the project and quality of materials involved. Prices can start from around £15,000, but it’s not unusual to spend £30,000-£50,000 or even more. Often, the same craftsmen who create your flight in the workshop will install it on site – giving you the security of a comprehensive design and build service.
Unless you’re going with a specialist bespoke firm, installing a staircase falls within the remit of a carpenter, who will usually charge on a day rate (you can currently expect to pay around £160-£200 per day). Most flights arrive flatpacked and ready-to-assemble – but there’s still plenty of skill involved, both at the design stages and on site.
A poorly installed staircase poses a real risk should it fail, so unless you’re experienced with this kind of project, it’s not a job to undertake yourself.
As a guide, a professional team should be able to install a simple straight or quarter-turn flight in as little as a couple of workdays. Fitting the newel posts, spindles, handrail etc will typically require at least another day.
You can expect the process to take longer (and the labour costs to rise accordingly) if you’re taking on a more complex project – especially if structural work is needed or where an existing flight needs to be removed.