Taping off the Construction Zone

Construction Area Taped off from KitchenWhile they were cutting out the floor and building the new staircase we taped up some black plastic tarps to block off the construction zone openings from the rest of the house. When they had to demolish our old concrete bathroom floor the entire house got covered in concrete dust. This time we didn’t want to take any chances, so we put the black plastic sheets up a few days in advance (last time they were a day early, so I didn’t get to put the sheets up).

Taping up the black plastic worked well and kept most of the dust out. I would recommend it to most people if you need to keep living in the house, and / or if you want to keep the rest of the house clean.

The biggest problem that we had is that the bathroom is on the other side of the black plastic. This made for some rather uncomfortable mornings, and a lot of trips out for lunch so that we could use the bathroom at the mall or the restaurant.

In the evenings we would peal back the tape and plastic a bit so that we could squeeze through for the bathroom. Not ideal, but it worked …

Removing our old Staircase

Back Stairs Cut Off and RemovedSince the new internal stairs are finally almost ready for us to use we have removed our old rear external staircase.

The old rear staircase actually consisted of half of the old (per-house lift) front stairs welded to the original rear stairs. The railing was a single 2 x 4 attached to the house at the top and two posts screwed to the sides of the stairs. They were put on as a temporary staircase two and a half years ago, and I guess have held up pretty well.

With the rear external staircase finally removed I can now look at building a patio and erecting a patio cover. The old staircase sat right in the middle of where those things should fit in.

Internal Staircase Construction Complete

Internal Staircase Complete - needs painting

The stairs are finished and we are able to start painting.

They have turned our really well. The dark Kwila timber stair treads actually manage to flow quite well with the pine floorboards up the top. I was actually quite surprised that they turned out almost the same colour as the Western Red Cedar louvers above the stairwell, and the timber shelf separating the kitchen from the new stairwell (you can see it in the top right of the photo).

We are considering paying someone to paint the stairwell for us. Our builder recommended someone to us and they were out today to have a look at it. We should get the quote from them tomorrow and we will see what the damage could be. As soon as the stairwell is painted then we can make the move downstairs.

We are very eager to finally be living down there, we are only about 2-years behind schedule …

Day 3 and 4 of our Internal Stairway Installation

Landing Built for our Internal StaircaseOn the third day of our stairway construction the landing was put on in the middle of the staircase and the plasterer started on the plastering.

Because the area that we are putting the staircase isn’t very big I was tempted to put in winders instead of a landing. The landing takes up about the same amount of space as 6 treads on a 180 degree turn like what we have (3 tread on a 90 degree turn), so it would have save us a lot of space for our staircase. There are disadvantages to winders in your staircase though, including:

  • Increased cost
  • Much more complicated design
  • One end of the winder is very narrow and it is easy to slip on (not good for kids)

Stair Treads attached Internal Stairway Installation

For us the decision mostly came down to cost. There would not have been too much advantage in using a winder, so we went with the more basic design of a hardwood landing. The space was pretty much perfect for the standard design anyway.

The treads were installed on the fourth day. It’s exciting to see it coming together finally. The plasterer was also here sanding and plastering the walls more.

They still need to put on the trim and handrail, and finish off the polishing of the landing. Unfortunately the plastered didn’t use any drop sheets on the landing, so the builders are not too happy about that, and they need to re-sand and polish the landing. That’ll slow them down a bit more, which they weren’t counting on.