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 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

  • Claire Douglas

The Importance of Regular Stair Maintenance & Stair Safety Checks for Your Home

Updated: Jun 11

Stay on top of stair safety by including these regular stair maintenance & safety checks in your home maintenance plan.


Stair handrails

wooden staircase and handrail as part of regular stair safety checks

Stair handrails come in many different forms and are an excellent safety feature, especially for the very young, the very old, and those who are generally a bit clumsy (I include myself in the latter group!). They can prevent slips, trips, and falls which are obviously more serious on the stairs than on flat ground. However, if not properly maintained, they could fail at a crucial moment and become a dangerous hazard so it pays to include the stairs in your home maintenance plan and carry out regular stair safety checks. If you are looking for how to update stairs on a budget then why not check out my DIY stair runner tutorial or my post about creative DIY stair runner ideas? You can also read here how to install a DIY stair handrail if you need to replace one that's old or damaged and while we are on the subject, I've curate a collection of ideas to maximise under-stairs space if you're interested!



regular stair safety checks on a wooden interior staircase

What stair safety checks should I perform on my stair handrail?


Stability

You should check the handrail is stable and securely attached. This can be done by pulling firmly on the handrail, it's worth doing this at multiple places on the stairs taking extra care the higher you go. If there is any movement at all you need to identify the point of failure and rectify it immediately. If there is movement, it's likely to be one or more of the screws in a bracket or fixing, but it could also be damage to the handrail itself so check both.

Shape

Check the handrail is straight (if it's meant to be) and if it's curved by design, then check that it maintains the intended shape for the length of the stairs.


Stair Balustrades - Don't forget the spindles!

If your stairs have spindles (or balusters as they are also known), you should regularly check their soundness. This can be done by applying pressure to each individual element to ensure that it doesn't move independently. If you find a loose railing this should be tightened up / reattached immediately to prevent an accident.


regular stair safety checks on a wooden staircase and black handrail

How to check stair carpet and runners for safety

Loose or uneven stair carpet is an obvious hazard, so regular checks are essential. Checks can be completed each time you hoover the stairs and any movement in the carpet or runner should be investigated immediately as could indicate that the carpet tape, staples, or tacks have failed in that area.


If you need to reattach a stair runner then this piece I wrote on how to fit a DIY stair runner using bargain rugs from B&Q might be useful.



Creaking and squeaking


The occasional creaky step is probably nothing to worry about and the noise is usually more of an annoyance than an indicator of anything too serious. That said, you should always investigate a creak or squeak especially if the stair tread (the bit you step on) begins to move when bearing weight. Older stair treads can start to show signs of wear which if not picked up quickly enough can lead to more serious damage. If you are not confident to investigate or fix a dodgy stair tread, then you should definitely call a professional out as it's always better to err on the side of caution where stair safety is concerned.


Summary

It's prudent to include regular staircase safety checks into your home maintenance plan to avoid serious issues. You can usually identify any issues with the treads when you are traveling up or down the stairs as you'll feel movement underfoot or hear creaking or squeaking. Checking the handrail, railing and balustrades can be easily incorporated into your cleaning routine as hoovering the stairs provide an ideal opportunity to examine them.


Thanks so much for reading. I'd love to keep you up to date with future DIY, decorating, interior styling, and upcycling projects, if you would like to receive my (not more than weekly & no spamming I promise) emails then please subscribe (scroll down to the box at the bottom of the page).


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