We’ve been working hard the last few weeks to get everything finished in order to get our occupancy permit from the township. A few of the key things that are needed to get the permit are the electrical and lighting, smoke detectors, all utilities, the deck and handrail, as well as the interior stairs and handrail. Basically the township is just making sure that everything is safe for us before we can live here. Our goal is to have our occupancy permit within the next week or two.

square newel post

Stair Installation

The stair installation and handrail finishing were a joint effort between Dovetail Carpentry, Vedder Woodworking, and Tony and myself. Steve from Dovetail carpentry (who was our main contractor for the house) built the stairs off-site, then was able to come to our place and install them. He used paint grade stringers and risers, and plywood treads.  This is how they looked after they were installed.

unfinished stairs

This was such a huge relief for me because it meant we could go down in the basement easily, and it was so much safer for the kids to go downstairs.

unfinished basement stairs

The stairs stayed like this for a while before we could get to the finishing part.

painted stairs

Paint Stringers and Risers

First I primed the risers and the stringers with oil based primer and let it dry for a full day. Then I painted all the risers and the stringers using paint tinted to Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace, which is what I will eventually use for all the trim and doors around the house.

stair makeover

Handrail and Treads

We got Rod Vedder (Vedder Woodworking) to do all the finishing for us. Rod also made our kitchen cabinets so we knew that we would also get great quality with the handrail. He supplied all the treads, newel posts and spindles, and finished them at his shop. For the stairs we wanted something square and simple, and the oak Zen collection from Richelieu Hardware was exactly what we wanted. Rod was able to match the colour of the stain for the treads and the handrail to our hardwood flooring, which is Armstrong engineered white oak (Dovetail colour).

Zen oak handrail stained a dark brown

Tony installed all the zen treads by first trimming them down to the right size, then using PL premium heavy duty construction adhesive to glue them in place to the plywood treads, and then screwing the treads in from underneath.

Zen handrail and stair treads

Rod also sprayed all the spindles with tinted lacquer that he could match to the Chantilly Lace colour. Rod not only pre-finished all the stair components, but he also came for a day to install the handrail.

This is the view of the handrail from the hallway looking towards the front hall and living room.

Dark wood handrail with white spindles

And here is the view looking up from the front hall into the kitchen and living room.  We built a raised bungalow with higher ceilings in the basement than upstairs, so we have six steps going up, and nine steps going down.

Dark wood and white stairs

Dark wood handrail with square spindles

One thing we love about these treads is that you can see the end grain on the open side of the stairs. It feels very clean and simple. Rod did such an amazing job of the finishing work, and we couldn’t be happier with how the stairs and handrail turned out.



4 thoughts on “Week 26: Zen Stairs and Handrail With Square Spindles”

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