Real Estate

Hardwood stairs upgrade with builder or not

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 1st, 2021 6:51 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 1, 2010
57 posts
1 upvote
ON

Hardwood stairs upgrade with builder or not

Hello,

We are making final decisions on upgrade with a new build in Ottawa. Right now we made most of our choice except hardwood staircase and smooth ceilings that we are not sure whether to upgrade with the builder.

The stairs looks like the stairs in the link below in the farmhouse B2 elevation,
https://www.cardelhomes.com/ottawa/comm ... th-hampton

it is around 15 steps from main floor to 2nd floor and 13 steps from main floor to basement, builder wants
around $7800 for upgrade the main to 2nd floor stair from carpet to red oak, and around $6500 to upgrade basement stairs to red oak, and additional $500 to stair the rail/post to match the color of the first floor hardwood. These are before tax price, so add 13% for actual cost. I didn't bother to list maple upgrade price, they are even more expensive.

And for smooth ceiling, only options is to do all house (main and 2nd floors) for $4200 (before tax) or not doing it at all.

I read many people recommend going with hardwood stair upgrade with builder, but the price is just seems too high. Plus from our main stairs we can see the basement stairs, so if we just upgrade the main stairs but keep basement stairs as carpet, I am still not sure if it gives a uniform look. So we are really not sure at the moment, already paid too much for other upgrades. In addition, we might need to change 2nd floor to hardwood in the future, so not sure if we should do the stairs upgrade in the same time, how much would it cost to do it afterwards? What is your opinion?
17 replies
Member
Jan 16, 2021
258 posts
105 upvotes
Your smooth ceiling price is dirt cheap imo..at least compare to gta pricing (my friend first floor was $5.7k.). If you want to do smooth ceiling I'd recommend doing it with the builder..even if you can do it after for cheaper.

Stair staining ranges from 2.5k to 4.5k based on what I've seen. Again this is gta.. Some areas of GTA are even more exp.

Personal preference is to have first and second floor hardwood match, hence I'd recommend builder.. But I know plenty of people here would suggest to do after.. So depends on what quality is the hardwood that builder provide and if you are okay with hassle after. Can't really comment on hardwood price without the specs of the wood.
Deal Addict
Jan 21, 2011
1004 posts
458 upvotes
GTA
It’s seems like a lot for an upgrade, but don’t think you will save much by doing it after. Can you negotiate with builder?

To get a rough idea, reach out to some contractors in yours area, you might save a few $$$, but it’s not an easy job to convert from carpet to hardwood after.
Deal Addict
Jun 18, 2020
1448 posts
1513 upvotes
Our builder warned us if we went carpet, upgrading later isn't as simple as carpet removal. When you get carpet, it was unfinished wood under. Not a matter of removing carpet and sanding, we would need to fully redo them or cap them. There's a thread in the home and garden forum where someone outlined their capping project (though it was over finished stairs, not carpeted).

I never looks into details of removing carpet since we just went with stained oak anyway, but maybe ask builder what's under the carpet if you leave it as carpet. Maybe my builder does it different than yours, I don't know what the usual practice is.
Deal Addict
Jan 15, 2017
4554 posts
4194 upvotes
Ottawa
The challenge with estimating how much it will cost to do after closing is unless someone has had it done recently with pandemic pricing, who knows what it will cost. Costs will depend on several factors - the design of the staircases, whether or not you have to remove the railings and re-install them and the materials. Cardel's wider staircases is a feature of their homes so that will affect costs also. I suggest you reach out to a stair install company and see what the going rate is these days.

The advantage of having the builder complete it is that it will be done on closing day. You most likely though would have a better quality staircase if you do it after closing. That's because the staircase will be installed and used by many, many trades while the house is under construction whereas after closing no one will be using it. The builder's contractor will try and cover the stairs to protect it, but be prepared for some accidents and scratches.

After closing the main disadvantage is having to live through the install. This may mean not being able to use your stairs for a couple of days and could mean a couple of nights in a hotel.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Dec 4, 2009
6137 posts
2321 upvotes
I can't believe I'm saying this, but those are reasonable prices OP, for everything. Stairs are fricken expensive to do (I don't know who would refinsh a set of stairs for $2500, as another poster alluded to). On top of that, I think you'll have to completely redo the stairs if you're chnaging from carpet, it won't just be a "refinish".

Smooth ceilings for both floors isn't outrageous either. If it were me, I'd be going through the builder for everything.
"I'm a bit upset. I've been grab by the back without any alert and lubrification"
Lucky
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 1, 2010
57 posts
1 upvote
ON
Thanks everyone, I did went to a couple of small local stores to get an estimate today on how much to do stair hardwood upgrade afterwards, I get some quote range from $8k to $10k for both stairs, while expensive they are still cheaper than builder upgrade of $15000+tax for all, which would be around $17000 for both stairs.
But surely, I understand the estimate I got wasn't going to be accurate and quality is unknown considering they didn't even see a photo of the stairs (which hasn't been build anyway) and they are not big reputable companies. And to my understanding, the lower quote I got is also just painting the solid wood to get the color from whatever paint they have. Also, I believe doing hardwood stair afterwards would need to take all the rail/post etc. out first and install it back after everything is done, does it affects the sturdiness of the railing/post etc.

For smooth ceiling, I probably won't do it after if not going with builders. I don't really know how much does it affects the overall look of the house.

As regarding the price from builder, many of the my friends using other builders, like uniform/urbandale all have hardwood stairs and smooth ceiling as standard without upgrade, and my old house with other builder is also much cheaper for these upgrades, that why I feel they are expensive.
Member
Mar 18, 2006
211 posts
211 upvotes
rebelxt2010 wrote:
For smooth ceiling, I probably won't do it after if not going with builders. I don't really know how much does it affects the overall look of the house.

As regarding the price from builder, many of the my friends using other builders, like uniform/urbandale all have hardwood stairs and smooth ceiling as standard without upgrade, and my old house with other builder is also much cheaper for these upgrades, that why I feel they are expensive.
From personal experience, I would get smooth ceilings too from the builder. We got it in current home, SO much better "look" asthetically. A friend of ours removed stucco this past summer, and she hated it as the whole home (she did both floors) was dusty all the time and a few months after too (it is fine dust, and daily vaccuming won't cut it alone, you have to change the furnace filter every 2 weeks as well).

And removing stucco is not the same thing as not putting it on in the first place!

Good decision on the stairs. We did this after the fact in our old place, and it was a night mare - like no pickets for 2 weeks while project was finished and dusty like you won't believe. And kids were little at the time, so we were escorting them up/down stairs and keeping them inside closed rooms when upstairs.
Deal Expert
Feb 29, 2008
16014 posts
12751 upvotes
Tarrana & The Ri…
I’ll say think about this carefully. Your floors are one of the most important items in your house.

Who is the builder? Have you seen their installs in the past? Yea it’s easier to go with the builder but what if the install is marginal? You will have to either live with it or go through the pain of replacing it on your dime.

If you do the floors on your own you can get a better job and get more band for your buck. Builder prices are inflated.
Deal Addict
Jan 19, 2008
1431 posts
1085 upvotes
Etobicoke
I have a townhome with 3 sets of stairs
Basement->1st floor was carpeted
1st->second floor hardwood and pickets in white oak
2nd->3rd floor carpeted
Under the carpet was just plywood.

We paid a contractor 10 years after buying new to do the following

Basement-1st floor...replace the carpet and add Harwood cap stairs . Ash stained in a dark walnut colour
1st -> second floor..Sand and re-stain the white oak stairs to match the dark Hardwood . replace the oak pickets with black metal
2nd-> 3rd floor replace the carpet and add Harwood cap stairs . Ash stained in a dark walnut colour

cost us $8500 about 10 months ago...took about 7 work days
Sr. Member
Dec 9, 2013
712 posts
626 upvotes
Toronto
Go with a builder if you want the hardwood floors and stairs to match.

Personally, I'd go with the builder. Less headache, not moved in yet, 0 chance of scuffing new paint you have to worry about and less dust to deal with all over your furniture and items.
Deal Expert
Feb 29, 2008
16014 posts
12751 upvotes
Tarrana & The Ri…
miscbrah1 wrote: Go with a builder if you want the hardwood floors and stairs to match.

Personally, I'd go with the builder. Less headache, not moved in yet, 0 chance of scuffing new paint you have to worry about and less dust to deal with all over your furniture and items.
You'd think so. That's why it mater who you get as a builder. I've seen some terrible jobs done by builders. Either the stairs are completely different color from the floors or the stain job is terrible. You hope they get it fixed before you move in...but what if they don't?
Deal Expert
Feb 29, 2008
16014 posts
12751 upvotes
Tarrana & The Ri…
miscbrah1 wrote: Go with a builder if you want the hardwood floors and stairs to match.

Personally, I'd go with the builder. Less headache, not moved in yet, 0 chance of scuffing new paint you have to worry about and less dust to deal with all over your furniture and items.
You'd think so. That's why it mater who you get as a builder. I've seen some terrible jobs done by builders. Either the stairs are completely different color from the floors or the stain job is terrible. You hope they get it fixed before you move in...but what if they don't?
Deal Expert
May 30, 2005
46666 posts
7103 upvotes
Richmond Hill
miscbrah1 wrote: Go with a builder if you want the hardwood floors and stairs to match.

Personally, I'd go with the builder. Less headache, not moved in yet, 0 chance of scuffing new paint you have to worry about and less dust to deal with all over your furniture and items.
This is a misconception. Stairs are stained, hardwood flooring is purchased from a manufacturer. Doesn't matter if builder does it or not, it's not going to be a perfect match.
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 1, 2010
57 posts
1 upvote
ON
Thanks all. The builder is Cardel, well, funny thing is I was not able to find any photos/examples of hardwood stairs with Cardel as all the ones I can find at the moment through sold houses have all used carpet stairs, and every single of their model homes use carpet stairs, I am sure their are people upgrade to hardwood stairs with Cardel just not enough time to check them at the moment. Anyway, I am not so worried about builder doing very bad job, but just don't feel price worth it if the quality is not better than doing after with a contractor. If the basement stairs are hided through first floor, I probably would just upgrade the main stairs toward 2nd floor with builder now, but upgrading both with builder seems expensive. I am considering not upgrading with builder, but doing all the hardwood stairs and hardwood floor on 2nd floor together with a contractor (maybe smooth ceiling for first floor as well) after closing but before we move in. We can find a way to live in our old place a bit longer and to move in a few days to a couple of weeks later after closing. The main worry is still quality and color matching for doing it with a contractor after closing. So still undecided at the moment.
JayLove06 wrote: I’ll say think about this carefully. Your floors are one of the most important items in your house.

Who is the builder? Have you seen their installs in the past? Yea it’s easier to go with the builder but what if the install is marginal? You will have to either live with it or go through the pain of replacing it on your dime.

If you do the floors on your own you can get a better job and get more band for your buck. Builder prices are inflated.
Newbie
Dec 14, 2019
52 posts
22 upvotes
One thing to consider is maybe make sure if you do the stairs right after closing, will it void any kind of warranty in your home.
The design consultant of my pre-construction home suggested to me to wait for a year before I install under cabinet lights because it would void the kitchen cabinet warranty, as well as pot lights because if I touch the electrical, that voids that part of the warranty.
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Dec 4, 2009
6137 posts
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KyraC88574 wrote: One thing to consider is maybe make sure if you do the stairs right after closing, will it void any kind of warranty in your home.
The design consultant of my pre-construction home suggested to me to wait for a year before I install under cabinet lights because it would void the kitchen cabinet warranty, as well as pot lights because if I touch the electrical, that voids that part of the warranty.
If a kitchen cabinet door falls off and under cabinet lighting was installed, the warranty wouldn't be void. If pot lights are installed, and some completely unrelated electrical issue arises the warranty won't be void.

Unless this is explicitly written in your purchase and sale agreement it's a BS scare tactic to get you buy upgrades with the builder.
"I'm a bit upset. I've been grab by the back without any alert and lubrification"
Lucky
Deal Addict
Jan 21, 2011
1004 posts
458 upvotes
GTA
rebelxt2010 wrote: Thanks all. The builder is Cardel, well, funny thing is I was not able to find any photos/examples of hardwood stairs with Cardel as all the ones I can find at the moment through sold houses have all used carpet stairs, and every single of their model homes use carpet stairs, I am sure their are people upgrade to hardwood stairs with Cardel just not enough time to check them at the moment. Anyway, I am not so worried about builder doing very bad job, but just don't feel price worth it if the quality is not better than doing after with a contractor. If the basement stairs are hided through first floor, I probably would just upgrade the main stairs toward 2nd floor with builder now, but upgrading both with builder seems expensive. I am considering not upgrading with builder, but doing all the hardwood stairs and hardwood floor on 2nd floor together with a contractor (maybe smooth ceiling for first floor as well) after closing but before we move in. We can find a way to live in our old place a bit longer and to move in a few days to a couple of weeks later after closing. The main worry is still quality and color matching for doing it with a contractor after closing. So still undecided at the moment.
You can get the stain custom made to match as best as possible, but it would be on you to pick the one that works.

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