How much does it cost to install an interior staircase?
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Interior Staircase Installation Cost Guide
Updated: August 19, 2022
Staircases are an essential element in any home with multiple floors. They allow homeowners and guests to climb from one floor to another and provide access to attics and basements. Aside from functionality, staircases are also decorative and available in a range of styles and materials. The type, size, and materials have a big impact on the total cost.
The national average cost for interior staircase installation is between $2,000 and $5,000, with most homeowners paying $3,563 for a red oak straight staircase with 10 risers and two handrails, professionally installed. This project’s low cost is $1,043 for an installed set of unfinished open-riser basement stairs with 13 risers and one handrail. The high cost is $8,869 for an installed red oak spiral staircase with 15 risers and 2 double-steel tubular handrails.
Stairs Installation Cost
|National average cost||$3,563|
Stairs Cost by Area
One factor influencing the cost of a staircase is location. The main stairs in a home leading from one floor to the next come at a much higher price than a simple set of unfinished basement stairs. The table below shows several common stair locations and average costs:
|Location||Average Cost (Installed)|
|Attic Ladder||$250 - $1,000|
|Basement Stairs (Unfinished)||$1,000 - $2,000|
|Basement Stairs (Finished)||$1,100 - $3,200|
|Main Stairs||$2,000 - $5,000|
Attic Ladder Installation
The cost of an attic ladder ranges from $250 to $1,000 installed. An attic ladder or attic staircase is usually the cheapest staircase to install because the job is relatively simple compared to full-scale staircases. Plus, attic ladders do not have many decorative features and often have no or minimal railings along each side.
Build Stairs to a Basement
The price to build an unfinished set of basement stairs averages $1,000 to $2,000. A set of finished stairs can cost $1,100 to $3,200, depending on how you finish them. Painting or staining the stairs can be cheaper than carpeting or using high-end materials. When you install basement stairs, you must decide between unfinished or finished stairs. Unfinished basement stairs are cheap and simple, designed purely with functionality in mind and not finished with fancy tread or decorative features. Finished basement stairs have proper treads and may be painted or varnished, providing a finished look.
Main Staircase Installation
The cost to install a main staircase averages $2,000 to $5,000, depending on the size, material, and railings. The main staircase in a home is the most expensive because it requires the most work and is larger and more complete than an attic ladder or basement stairs. Main staircases can be made of many different materials, with wood being the most common. How the staircase is finished, whether you carpet it, and what it is made from ultimately determines your final cost. In addition, the shape and overall size play a role in your total price.
Stair Prices by Type
Staircases also come in a wide range of types and shapes to fit into different home layouts and themes. A modern home may opt for a fancy floating staircase, while a particularly narrow room is well-suited for a space-saving spiral staircase. Most staircases are built using a combination of premade and custom materials. Your installer may use readymade stringers and treads, assembling them and finishing them on-site to become a custom staircase. In some cases, such as curved and circular staircases, the entire staircase must be custom-built to the home to fit properly. For spiral staircases, most are prefabricated and then installed as a unit in the home. This can cause the cost of some staircase styles to be radically different, depending on how they are put together. The table below shows staircase types and their average costs:
|Type||Average Cost (Installed)|
|Straight||$1,900 - $5,000|
|Winder||$2,000 - $5,500|
|L-Shaped||$2,200 - $5,700|
|U-Shaped||$2,500 - $6,000|
|Spiral||$2,500 - $15,500|
|Curved||$9,000 - $100,000|
|Circular||$9,000 - $100,000|
|Floating||$15,000 - $100,000|
The cost to install a straight staircase averages $1,900 to $5,000, depending on the size and material. Straight staircases are the simplest in shape and design. They are the most affordable style and the easiest for workers to install, running in a straight line. They are also easy to attach railings and handrails to, but as a downside, they take up linear space in the home. Because they use just two stringers, they can also be put together the fastest and have the most options for width and material without tremendously impacting the total cost.
The cost of a winder staircase is $2,000 to $5,500 on average, depending on the size and material. Winder staircases change direction without having a separate landing like an L or U-shaped staircase. Instead, they start with a bottom section of straight stairs and then have several treads known as winders. The winders are wedge-shaped, with the ends turning the corner narrowing down to points and the other sides expanding to fill the corner as it turns. They are relatively affordable to install, but trying to move large items up and down these stairs is a challenge. Winders can also be more difficult to navigate than an L-shaped staircase, but they take up less space.
The price of an L-shaped staircase is $2,200 to $5,700 installed, depending on the materials and overall size. L-shaped stairs are formed in the shape of an L. They are similar to a classic straight staircase in many ways, but with a 90-degree turn either halfway up or near the top or bottom and a landing at the turning point. They are a good option for saving space, but their shape and the presence of a landing make them more complicated and costly to build. They take up more room than a winder but are easier to navigate.
The cost of a U-shaped staircase is $2,500 to $6,000 installed, depending on the material and size. A U-shaped staircase is shaped like the letter U when viewed from above. It has a complete 180-degree turn usually at the halfway point, basically looking like two straight staircases positioned side by side, going in opposite directions. This staircase is common in split-level homes at the front when you enter the door. A U-shaped case is a space-saver and works well in certain layouts of homes, but moving large items of furniture up and down this staircase is challenging.
The cost to install a spiral staircase ranges from $2,500 to $15,500, depending on the style, diameter, and height. Spiral stairs are noted for their elegant spiral-like design, curving around a central post connecting the steps. They are often chosen more for decorative purposes than functionality, and it is tricky to move big items up and down them. However, they are a great choice as secondary staircases and do not take up much floor space in your home. They are almost always prefabricated, and most are made of metal. Some may have treads made of wood to complement the interior. The wider the staircase diameter, the higher the total costs, regardless of other staircase parameters.
The cost of a curved staircase is $9,000 to $100,000, depending on the size and material. The curved staircase is one of the most elegant types. Many homeowners choose this staircase as a statement feature for their hallways and entry spaces. A curved staircase is reasonably easy to navigate compared to a spiral or circular model but is costly to construct. The tighter the curve, the higher your total costs. If the curved staircase has a solid wall below it or it is open underneath can dramatically impact its final costs.
The cost of a circular staircase is $9,000 to $100,000 installed, depending on the size and material. Circular staircases curl around themselves in a circular pattern similar to spiral staircases. Their wider design makes them easier to navigate for multiple people or when carrying items. They may also be known as helix staircases due to their structure. Circular staircases are among the most expensive for both materials and labor, with tighter curves and wider sets of stairs costing more than looser curves.
The cost of a floating staircase is $15,000 to $100,000 installed, depending on the material, shape, and size. The floating staircase is one of the most expensive but also one of the most modern and visually appealing. With a floating staircase, the treads seem to float in the air, supported by strong beams or attached directly to the wall. Usually, these staircases are made with strong and sturdy materials like stone or metal, but they may also be made of wood. Floating staircases can be made in various configurations, including straight, winder, L, and curved styles, impacting your total costs.
Staircase Cost by Tread Material
One of the biggest decisions when considering a staircase is choosing the tread material. There are many different tread materials to choose from for staircases, each with their own costs, advantages, and aesthetic qualities. The table below shows some common tread materials, along with average costs per step:
|Material||Average Cost per Step (Materials Only)|
|Wood||$50 - $150|
|Brick||$60 - $100|
|Stone||$80 - $120|
|Composite||$80 - $150|
|Tile||$80 - $150|
|Metal||$100 - $200|
|Glass||$150 - $250|
|Concrete||$200 - $300|
Wood is one of the most commonly chosen materials for interior staircases. They are also affordable, costing between $50 and $150 per step, depending on the wood type. One of the benefits of opting for wood is that it blends well with most interior aesthetics, and wood is strong and stable enough to withstand regular use without many issues. They are available in a wide range of woods and may also be painted or stained. The table below lists some common staircase woods and average costs.
|Type of Wood||Average Cost per Step (Materials Only)|
|Plywood||$50 - $60|
|Engineered Pine||$50 - $70|
|Distressed Wood||$50 - $75|
|Maple||$60 - $90|
|Ash||$60 - $100|
|Red Oak||$60 - $120|
|White Oak||$70 - $130|
|Walnut||$80 - $130|
|Mahogany||$90 - $140|
|Cherry||$100 - $150|
Brick is another affordable material you might choose for staircase installation. The price per step ranges from $60 to $100. It works well in an industrial-themed home and is used to create striking staircases.
Stone is an increasingly popular choice in many contemporary homes for its sleek, clean qualities and durability. Stone lasts a lifetime without suffering any notable wear and tear, but it is heavy and hard, making installation tricky. There are different stone types used for staircases, including granite and marble.
|Type of Stone||Average Cost per Step (Materials Only)|
|Granite||$80 - $100|
|Marble||$100 - $120|
Granite Steps Cost
Granite costs between $80 and $100 per step. It is the most affordable option when opting for a stone staircase.
Marble Stairs Cost
On average, marble costs between $100 and $120 per step. This material is more expensive than granite but is often favored for its elegant beauty and unique patterns.
Composite stairs costs ranges between $80 to $150 per step. They are a good option for those searching for strong and sturdy steps that do not rot, corrode, or splinter over time. They are highly durable, requiring only minimal maintenance.
Install Tile on Stairs
On average, homeowners pay around $80 to $150 per step for tile staircases. Tile staircases are aesthetically pleasing because the tiles are available in a range of colors, styles, and patterns. They are also durable and easy to clean, although there is always the risk of a tile cracking if a heavy object is dropped onto it and repairs are costly. Many modern tiles simulate the look of hardwoods without the need for oils and varnishes.
Metal is another popular option for staircases, especially in modern or industrial-themed homes. Metal stairs cost between $100 and $200 per step on average. Metal is strong and maintains its shape over time, without the risk of rotting, attracting insects, or splintering. It may also be powder-coated in various colors and finishes to suit the look of your home.
Glass stairs cost between $150 and $250 per step, and you need to add about $100 to $500 to the total staircase cost if you want LED lights installed. Glass is one of the most expensive options for staircases but is one of the most impressive from a visual standpoint. You may find lots of colors, patterns, and textures when opting for glass stairs, and they are even fitted with modern features like LED lights creating a striking aesthetic for any home.
Since concrete is formed in almost any shape, it is a good option for curved or circular staircases and costs between $200 to $300 per step. Concrete stairs are popular with homeowners due to their sleek, contemporary look and incredible durability. However, they take time to prepare and cost a lot of money to make and install, so they are only suitable for large budgets.
Cost of Stair Railing by Material
As well as the steps and treads, you must consider the cost of stair railings. Not every staircase needs railings, but they provide additional safety and support, especially in family homes. There are numerous materials for your railings. The table below shows common railing materials and average costs:
|Type||Average Cost per Linear Foot (Materials Only)|
|Wood||$10 - $40|
|Stainless Steel||$25 - $60|
|Wrought Iron||$50 - $300|
|Cable||$60 - $200|
|Glass||$100 - $500|
Wood Stair Railing
Wood stair railings usually cost $10 to $40 per linear foot. Wood is the most affordable material for stair railings but is less durable than alternatives like steel and cable. It is aesthetically pleasing and matches well with a wooden staircase.
Stainless Steel Staircase Railing
Stainless steel railing costs between $25 and $60 per linear foot. Stainless steel is a popular option for staircase railings due to its strength and durability. It lasts for years with minimal maintenance and is resistant to both rust and corrosion.
Wrought Iron Stair Railing
Wrought iron is one of the more expensive options for stair railings but is visually impressive. It costs between $50 and $300 per linear foot, depending on the style. It is a popular choice for circular or spiral staircases due to its elegant appearance.
Cable Stair Railing
Cable railings are very strong and sturdy but expensive at $60 to $200 per linear foot. Cable is a popular choice for modern, industrial-themed locations, noted for its sleek, clean look and low maintenance.
Glass Stair Railing
Glass railings cost from $100 to $500 per linear foot on average. Glass is one of the most expensive options for stair railings. However, it is usually the safest because it is typically installed in large, thick panels, with little to no gap in between to keep children safe when they climb the stairs.
Handrail Cost by Type
In addition to the railings, you also need to consider the handrail. The handrail is the section of the railings on the top where you place your hand for support or to guide you. Handrails come in two main types.
|Type||Average Cost per Linear Foot (Materials Only)|
|Wall-Mounted Handrail||$25 - $40|
|Integrated Handrail||$30 - $100|
Wall-mounted handrails are the most common and affordable, usually costing between $25 and $40 per linear foot. They are also the simplest to install and are found in two main varieties: mopstick handrails and pig’s ear handrails.
Most wall-mounted handrails are made from wood, but more material options are becoming available. Many owners of modern homes who favor industrial or contemporary styles opt for metal handrails, which offer a sleek, clean aesthetic and are mounted on the walls. There are also glass handrails, which tend to be expensive but stylish. In terms of costs, wood is the cheapest material, followed by metal, and then glass. The exact costs per linear foot depend on the form and structure of each handrail.
|Type||Average Cost per Linear Foot (Materials Only)|
|Mopstick||$25 - $35|
|Pig’s Ear||$30 - $40|
Integrated handrails form part of the staircase, running along the spindles or built into the wall. They cost between $30 and $100 per linear foot. They are made of various materials and come in smooth ungrooved designs or more elaborate grooved alternatives.
Labor Cost to Build a Staircase
The majority of the cost to build a staircase in many instances is in the labor. This is particularly true for large, floating, and curved staircases, as well as staircases with a lot of details like decorative railings and balustrades. Different paints and stains, carpeting a staircase, and using luxury materials that are difficult to work with can increase the labor cost. It is common for labor costs to start at around $1,100 for a set of straight stairs and go as high as $95,000 for the labor involved in installing a complex set of floating or curved stairs. This can translate to $70 to $150 an hour for most installations, with many standard staircases being installed in 8 to 16 hours, although some finishing work can take longer. Curved and floating installations can take much longer - up to 4 or 6 weeks in some cases - due to the structural work involved. In most cases, labor ranges from $1,100 to $3,500 out of the $2,000 to $5,000 total cost.
Stair Replacement Cost
If you already have a set of stairs that need replacing, the cost usually is not much different compared to a new installation. However, you may need to add a fee of between $500 and $1,000 to remove and dispose of the old staircase.
Open vs Closed Staircase
You also need to decide whether to opt for open or closed stairs, also sometimes referred to as open risers and closed risers. Closed risers are the more traditional option, found in many older homes, while open stairs are considered more modern. With a closed staircase, there are no gaps between each step, whereas an open staircase has gaps.
Closed staircases are considered safer and more practical in many ways because they create an enclosed under-stairs area for storage or other uses. Open stairs are regarded as more aesthetically attractive, allowing natural light to pass through the staircase and around the home. Open stairs tend to be much more expensive than closed, and in some cases, they may be regarded as floating staircases. It is common for an open staircase to cost as much as 10 times the cost of a closed staircase. Below are the average costs for both open and closed staircases of the same size and material.
|Type||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Closed||$2,000 - $5,000|
|Open||$10,000 - $50,000|
Carpet vs Wood Stairs
You may also need to choose between carpet-covered stairs and plain wooden stairs. Even though wood is considered the more modern and attractive choice, it has some drawbacks. Wood is slippery, especially when liquids are spilled on it. If anyone falls down wooden stairs, they are at a higher risk of injury because each step has no cushioning. Carpet-covered stairs may be less attractive, but they offer better traction to prevent slipping. They are ideal for children and elderly users, providing cushioning in case of falls.
Carpet-covered stairs still need the wooden staircase beneath the carpeting. Sometimes, the stairs may be left unpainted beneath the carpeting, while other times the carpet can be installed later, on top of the existing staircase. This generally means that the carpeted staircase will cost more than a wooden staircase.
Below are the average costs of both carpeted and uncarpeted stairs for the same size and with otherwise identical materials.
|Staircase||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Wooden||$2,000 - $5,000|
|Carpeted||$2,430 - $5,780|
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Since a lack of storage is a problem in many modern homes, people try to make use of their under-stair space to store toys, clothes, and other items. There are various ways this is done, and if you have a custom staircase constructed, you may request to have storage units built into the design.
Carpeting stairs is a good choice to add color to your staircase or to soften it in case of accidents, providing more grip to those who use it. The average cost for carpeting stairs is $750.
Paint a Stairway
Painting a stairway is another good way to add color and life to a part of the home that is often overlooked. Depending on the materials used in your stairway, you may opt for various paint colors and styles, with average costs of $548.
Moldings and trim may be added to enhance the look of staircases at the top, bottom, or along the wall beside the stairs. The price of trim and moldings varies widely, ranging from $10 to $100 per linear foot.
Stair overlays, also known as covers, offer a quick and simple way to spruce up the look of a staircase without a full paint job or remodel. They make stairs safer with slip-resistant options. Overlays are found in various forms and materials, from carpet mats and non-slip strips to composite and decorative hardwood overlays. With so many options, costs vary from $200 to $1,500 or more.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Distressed appearance. Many people like to whitewash or bleach their wooden staircases to give the wood a distressed appearance. This is a good choice for homes with a rustic or country theme.
- Matching handrail. If there are white walls along your stairway, a matching white handrail makes the space look wider and larger. Replacing your current handrail for a white wall-mounted alternative is a quick and easy way to change the entire look of the stairs.
- Decoration. If you have a landing on the staircase, such as in an L or U-shaped staircase, decorate this space with art or plants. A mirror also makes the space seem larger.
- Code. Before installing a new staircase, make sure your project meets building codes. Standard codes suggest stairs must always be a minimum of three feet wide and have a minimum depth of 10 inches. There should also be at least 6’ 8” of headroom over each stair tread, and the maximum riser height between each step should be 7.75”.
- How much does it cost to install stair treads?
The price for stair treads varies enormously depending on the material used. In general, installation prices range from $50 to $300 per tread.
- Is it better to have carpet or hardwood on stairs?
This depends on your needs and desires because both materials have advantages. Carpet is a good choice for safety purposes and is recommended for family homes because it makes a staircase easier to walk up and reduces the risk of slipping. Wood is generally regarded as more aesthetically pleasing and easier to clean.
- How much does it cost to add carpet to my staircase?
This depends on the staircase size, carpet type, and the staircase’s shape. The average costs are about $750 for carpeting stairs.
- How much is it to remodel stairs from carpet to wood?
Removing a carpet from a wooden staircase costs between $100 and $300, and then a handyman needs to install the wooden steps, which costs between $100 and $200 per step, including materials and labor. Expect to pay between $1,500 and $3,000 in total for a typical 12 or 13-step staircase.